NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Alexis Lafreniere scored with 9:07 remaining in the third period to lift the New York Rangers over the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Thursday night.
Filip Chytil and Barclay Goodrow also scored and Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for New York, winners of three straight. Shesterkin has stopped 99 of 102 shots in those three games.
”Gritty, gritty effort tonight,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. ”Tonight, for me, was the toughest game we played so far this season. Everybody battled for ice, both teams. I thought Nashville was real good, and I thought we competed hard.”
Philip Tomasino had the lone goal and Juuse Saros made 27 saves for Nashville, 1-3 on the season.
”I thought it was a hard-fought game by both teams,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. ”I thought they generated some chances, we generated a lot of chances. They found a way to get the game-winner.”
On the tiebreaking goal, Adam Fox carried the puck into the Nashville zone along the right wall. He sent a pass to Sammy Blais in the slot, and he found Lafreniere on the left side with a nifty pass around Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier. Lafreniere beat Saros for his second goal of the season.
”I knew he saw me, but just to make sure I called for (the puck),” Lafreniere said. ”Nice play, and I went to the net with my stick on the ice and good things happen. When you play with good players, you’ve just got to get open when they have the puck and they will find you.”
Lafreniere added that he called for the puck from Blais, his fellow Quebec-born teammate, in French.
Blais had two assists.
Chytil scored the game’s first goal at 2:12 of the opening period. From the right faceoff dot, Chytil sent a backhand by Saros on the far side for the Rangers first shot on goal of the game. The goal ended Chytil’s 12-game goalless drought that dates to last season.
Tomasino scored his first NHL goal to make it 1-1 at 7:01 of the second when he collected the rebound of his own shot, and from below the goal line, banked the puck off Shesterkin and into the net.
Shesterkin’s best save of the game came at 7:07 of the first when he slid from the right post to the left post before stopping Mikael Granlund’s shot from the lower part of the left circle with his blocker.
”It was a good game for us,” Shesterkin said. ”I want to say thanks to everybody because we made a lot of blocked shots.”
Goodrow sealed the victory for New York with an empty-net goal with 5.8 seconds remaining in the third.
Tomasino, selected 24th overall by Nashville in the 2019 draft, made his NHL debut in Nashville’s season opener Oct. 14 against the Seattle Kraken. After being a healthy scratch in the Predators last two games, he reentered the lineup Thursday and recorded his first goal in the second period. Tomasino nearly scored his second just minutes later when he rang a shot off of the crossbar on a late second-period Nashville power play.
”It’s tough, but it was a great feeling for sure for me,” Tomasino said. ”I would have loved to get a win as well.”
Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki played his 400th career game. Borowiecki played his first 375 games with the Ottawa Senators before signing with the Predators as a free agent in October of 2020.
After starting with four straight home games, the Predators head to Winnipeg on Saturday for their first road game of the season to play the Jets.
The Rangers visit the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, which will complete their current four-game road trip.
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