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Rangers' home slide continues with loss to Preds
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - In the midst of their longest homestand in franchise history, the New York Rangers likely can't wait to hit the road again.
Behind a goal and two assists from Paul Gaustad and a 28-save effort from Carter Hutton, the Nashville Predators dealt the Rangers their fourth straight loss at Madison Square Garden via a 4-1 decision.
Rich Clune and Matt Hendricks each scored once and assisted on another to help the Predators halt a season-high five-game skid, with David Legwand contributing a pair of helpers to the victory.
The Rangers fell to 0-2-1 on their nine-game residency and now have their longest home losing streak since a four-game slide from Feb. 20-Mar. 3, 2011.
"It's just a really tough stretch for us right now where it's hard to get points," said New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. "You just have to work through it, stick together and like I said, be positive. It's definitely a test for all of us."
Rick Nash accounted for the lone New York goal, while Lundqvist stopped 22- of-25 shots on the evening.
The Predators put just six shots on Lundqvist in the opening period, but two of them found the back of the net as the visitors took a comfortable lead into the first intermission.
Lundqvist stopped Legwand on a partial breakaway around six minutes in, but the Nashville center was able to keep the puck in the Rangers zone and help send it to Nick Spaling for a successful wrister in close that put the Preds ahead.
"I thought that was huge for us, establishing our play right away," Hutton remarked.
Hendricks set up Nashville's second score, skating up the right side and chipping a pass to Clune for a backhand attempt that snuck in with 2:08 remaining in the period.
"We got that first goal and didn't look back," said Clune.
Lundqvist came up with 12 saves in the second period to prevent the Predators from pulling away, and the Rangers finally got on the board with 6:38 to go in the session.
While catching Nashville on a line change, Nash took in a feed from Brad Richards and got Hutton out of position with a deke before putting home his sixth goal of the season.
The Predators came out strong in the third, however, and restored a two-goal advantage when Hendricks knocked in a puck loose in front with 2:38 elapsed in the frame.
New York failed on a power-play chance later in the period and couldn't generate much when pulling Lundqvist with 1:36 left. Thirty seconds later, Gaustad scored into the vacated net from near center ice to put the finishing touches on the victory.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan exited the contest in the first period with a sprained knee and did not return ... Nash's goal was his 600th career NHL point ... Clune had gone 31 games since his last goal, which came against Phoenix on Mar. 28 of last season ... The Predators are 14-3-2 when scoring more than one goal in a game this season and 12-1-2 when netting the game's initial goal ... Rangers defenseman Marc Staal missed a second straight game due to concussion-like symptoms, while teammate Derek Dorsett returned from a 3-game absence caused by a wrist injury ... The road team has now prevailed in eight of the last nine matchups in the series.
12/10 23:55:02 ET