Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 1/17/12
Rangers_goalie_lundqvist_295a

Like we've seen so many times this season, the Rangers delivered exactly what the doctor ordered following a rough loss on Sunday when they defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-0, this evening at Madison Square Garden. From top-to-bottom, the Blueshirts' entire lineup contributed to tonight's win with great forechecking, solid defensive play, and in Lundqvist's case, spectacular goaltending. What we saw tonight are the New York Rangers that were so successful prior to last week's rough patch of games. This was the ideal way to kick off a tough week on the schedule without a doubt. 

The Rangers did get off to a relatively slow start in the early going, but they found their legs eventually and started applying a lot of pressure on the Predators and goaltender Anders Lindback. They were finally able to get one to the back of the net at 6:15 when Dan Girardi's low shot deflected off a Nashville defenseman and past Lindback to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. With offense being so hard to come by for the Rangers as of late, I'm sure the message from the coaches tonight was to throw anything and everything at the net and see what happens. Girardi did exactly that on this play and it paid off. 

I thought that the Predators did show some minor life after that, so it was up to Henrik Lundqvist to preserve the lead heading into the intermission. As always, Hank came through for the boys with some clutch saves that, if they weren't made, could've possibly changed the outcome of this game. 

New York would strike again at 10:42 of the second period, as John Mitchell's quick wrister when peeling off the boards caught Lindback by surprise and gave the Rangers a 2-0 advantage. Once again, throw the puck at the net and hope for the best. That approach earned Mitchell his fourth goal of the season.

You have to give this guy credit because there were very little expectations for him when he was recalled, but John's been nothing but a pleasant surprise for the club since then. He's been impressive to say the least. 

Lundqvist's best series of saves came right after Mitchell's goal, as the Predators poured on the pressure to try to bring themselves back into the game. He first stopped David Legwand on the breakaway and then denied the follow-up attempt from Patric Hornquist. If those saves aren't made the entire complexion of this game is changed drastically, so I think Henke certainly deserves a lot of recognition for his play in the middle frame. 

From there the Rangers played a very strong defensive game, and were rewarded in the final minute when Ryan Callahan was given an empty-net goal to seal off the 3-0 victory. I say "given" because he didn't actually put the puck in the opposing net, but was taken down in the process of doing so, which is an automatic goal according to the rulebook. 

Like I said, I think the Rangers' unsung hero in this game was Henrik Lundqvist. Yes, he received offensive support, and yes, the defense played very well in front of him, but he made key saves at key times to preserve the team's lead. The Predators were not about to back down at any point in this one, but Hank did a fantastic job of keeping them off the scoreboard. I guess by now, though, that's what's expected of him, so many take it for granted. 

Defenseman Dan Girardi was also a (all) star in this game, and deservedly received the Broadway Hat for the first time this season. He continues to log in the big minutes each game and never shows any signs of fatigue or mentality change. He goes out and pours his heart into the game each and every night. In my opinion, he's been the team's second most valuable player this season behind Lundqvist. His All-Star nomination is well deserved. 

I also liked the play of the two Brandons - Dubinsky and Prust - tonight. Dubinsky, especially, since it was his first game back from a shoulder injury. He was throwing the body around out there without any hesitation, as was Prust. Prust, along with partner Brian Boyle, also did a tremendous job on the penalty-kill tonight. 

Overall, to take down a team that has won eight of their past nine games is as good of a confidence-booster as the team could've asked for following the debacle in Montreal this past weekend. They redeemed themselves well and are now prepared to go up against two major Eastern Conference opponents in the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins. There's no doubt in my mind they can win both if they present an effort like tonight's.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Former NFL LB Armstrong, wife reportedly killed by 16-year-old son

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

Is it time to start taking West Ham seriously?

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker