Blueshirts Blitz: Laviolette’s Lineup Gambit Sparks Epic Rangers Win

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 02: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers takes a shot on goalie Juuse Saros #74 of the Nashville Predators during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on November 02, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 02: Ryan Lindgren #55 of the New York Rangers takes a shot on goalie Juuse Saros #74 of the Nashville Predators during the third period at Bridgestone Arena on November 02, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Dec 2, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) plays the puck away from New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck (16) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) plays the puck away from New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck (16) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Comeback Kids:

The lineup shake-up worked like a charm – the Chris Kreider-Trocheck-Brodzinski trio scored on their first shift together. Trocheck’s faceoff win set up Trouba for a slick finish, narrowing the deficit to 2-1 just 31 seconds into the second period. However, there was a hiccup on the power play, leading to a shorthanded goal by Colton Sissons, putting the Preds up 3-1.

No worries, though. Kreider batted a rebound out of the air 1:24 later, notching his 14th goal of the season. Trocheck then redirected a pass from Zibanejad on the power play to even the score at 3-3. In the third, Ryan Lindgren added some luck with his first goal of the season. After a faceoff win from Guess Who? Trocheck,  Fox, who had three assists, passed the puck across to his partner. Lindgren sent the puck to the net where Trocheck was battling with Jermy Lauzon and got credit for the tally when the puck hit off the Predators player’s skate to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

From there, Shesterkin made sure it stood up. He faced a furious push from Nashville in the third, stopping all 13 shots and securing his 10th win of the season with 38 saves and a +1.90 goals saved above expected.

He also got some help from his defense. With four minutes left, when Shesterkin got caught out of his net, a scramble and some heroic plays by Trouba and Brodzinski denied Nashville a game-tying tally. Wild and scary, indeed.

Looking ahead to the game against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday at MSG, the question is whether Laviolette sticks with the successful lines from periods 2 and 3 or reverts to the original ones. Considering the back-to-back games with travel and no time to practice, he may go back for that much-needed familiarity. What’s your take on it?