Vesey, Zuccarello score in shootout, Rangers beat Preds 2-1 - WSMV News 4

Vesey, Zuccarello score in shootout, Rangers beat Preds 2-1

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By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Rookie Jimmy Vesey and Mats Zuccarello each scored in the shootout, and the New York Rangers beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 Saturday night as the NHL's best road team added yet another win to its record.

Vesey came out first to heavy boos from Nashville fans upset he chose to go to free agency rather than sign with the franchise that drafted him in 2012, and he beat Juuse Saros. Then Zuccarello scored to end the game.

Rick Nash scored in regulation, and the Rangers improved to 11-5-0 away from New York in finishing off a two-game road swing with a second straight victory. Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves, including stopping Ryan Johansen to start the shootout. Craig Smith's shot went wide for Nashville in the second frame.

Mike Fisher scored for Nashville, which has lost two straight and four of the last five.

Saturday night marked Vesey's debut in Nashville, the left wing the Predators drafted No. 66 overall only to see him spurn the franchise and go to free agency after the Hobey Baker winner wrapped up his college career at Harvard. The Predators traded his rights to Buffalo, then Vesey chose the Rangers. Fans made it clear how unhappy they were at his decision by booing and chanting at him almost every time he came on the ice.

They booed heavily once again as he came out to shoot first for the Rangers in the shootout. Once he beat Saros, a smattering of Rangers fans cheered loudly.

Lundqvist kept the Rangers in the game in the third as Nashville outshot them 14-6 in the period. His biggest came with a pad save on James Neal with 2:32 left as Neal beat a sprawling Dan Girardi on a breakaway chance.

In overtime, Nashville got lucky when the puck went across the crease just outside the goal line with 3:10 left. Lundqvist got help from Zuccarello blocking a shot from Johansen in the slot with 90 seconds left.

Nash put a wrister top shelf from a tough angle from the left for a 1-0 lead on New York's seventh shot at 7:47. He beat defenseman Petter Granberg, who played with P.K. Subban scratched with an upper-body injury.

Nashville finally tied it up nearly midway through the second when Fisher took advantage of a screen in front by Colin Wilson to score from the high slot. The goal was Fisher's 100th with the Predators.

NOTES: This was just the third time these teams have gone beyond regulation in 23 games all-time. ... Nash extended his points streak against the Predators to six straight with six goals in that span. ... Nick Holden, who had an assist on Nash's goal, now has seven points (five goals, two assists) in eight career games against the Predators. ... Fisher now has three goals in his past four games. ... Bridgestone Arena, home to the Predators, celebrated its 20th anniversary this weekend with the Predators 16th sellout this season.

UP NEXT

Rangers: Host the Devils on Sunday night.

Predators: At Philadelphia on Monday night.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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