March 01, 2015

Despite another strong performance in goal, Henrik Lundqvist was anything but happy with the New York Rangers' latest performance.

Even when the Rangers aren't at their best, though, they still manage to win almost every time, thanks to perhaps unmatched depth that's been giving them a chance in every game.

They'll look to keep rolling Monday night when they host a Nashville Predators team that's been shut out in back-to-back outings.

New York (15-3-2) had its nine-game winning streak snapped at Tampa on Thursday, but got right back on track with a 5-4 overtime victory over Florida on Saturday. Rick Nash completed a hat trick in the extra period, Mats Zuccarello continued his tear with a goal and two assists and Lundqvist made 39 saves.

The star goalie, though, didn't like what he saw during the Sunshine State swing.

"I'm still annoyed," he told the team's official website. "We have to learn our lesson here, especially after last game. We've been talking about all the ways we find to win a game, then we found a way to lose a game (Thursday) and almost did it again (Saturday). We need to learn from this and smarten up."

The Rangers were outshot 43-31 by the Panthers after the Lightning held a 28-21 advantage in shots. They were short-handed six times Saturday, giving up two goals.

Still, New York has thrived despite some stretches of similar play this season because of its deep roster.

Nash has only five goals, but Zuccarello's ascendance has rendered that moot. Zuccarello has recorded three goals and six assists in the last five games, and six and nine in the past 10.

The biggest advantage New York has is in net, with Lundqvist leading the league with a 1.85 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. Backup Antti Raanta is 4-0-0 with a 1.25 GAA and .955 save percentage.

"We didn't play real well," coach Alain Vigneault said Saturday. "They say never critique a win, but our goaltender kept us in ... we didn't play real well tonight and our goaltender gave us an unreal performance, and there's no doubt Rick Nash played one of his best games this year."

The last two games seem to indicate Nashville's problems could run considerably deeper than the Rangers'. The Predators (11-5-3) have dropped the first two games of their five-game road trip by 4-0 scores, the most recent coming Saturday against Minnesota.

Nashville allowed two power-play goals in four chances as the Wild took advantage of a chippy contest that included two fights, numerous altercations and a 10-minute misconduct against Nashville's Mike Ribeiro.

''Discipline's playing into it,'' coach Peter Laviolette said. ''We're not very disciplined right now.''

The Predators have been short-handed 29 times in the past eight games. They had killed their past 13 penalties before ex-Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter's goal in the first period.

''We keep talking about it,'' captain Shea Weber said. ''A lot of your best players kill penalties and when they kill penalties the whole game they can't do offensive things. I don't know how long we can sit here and talk about it until we actually start doing something.''

The Rangers won 4-1 at Madison Square Garden in the teams' most recent meeting March 2. Nash scored an empty netter to give him a goal in three straight matchups and four of five.

The Predators have lost four of their last five on the road.

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