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Fights, blood, nastiness between Rangers, Predators

Nashville Predators v New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 23: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers holds up Austin Watson #51 of the Nashville Predators during the first period at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The New York Rangers are leaving Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators feeling wounded in more ways than one.

For one thing, the two teams continue to move in opposite directions in the standings, with the Predators staying hot and the Rangers’ playoff hopes dwindling in a 5-2 decision for Nashville.

The bumps and bruises weren’t just figurative, though.

Things got nasty at times between the two teams, and in some cases, it seemed a little one-sided. Marc Staal didn’t return to the game after a hard, questionable hit by Alexei Emelin, a defenseman with a reputation for blurring the line between being physical and delivering illegal checks:

Considering Staal’s injury history, there are some very reasonable concerns about another possible concussion.

That wasn’t the only physical moment, either, as Jimmy Vesey was bloodied and did not return to the game after a heavy collision with Filip Forsberg:

(The tone of such a tweet is a reminder that Predators fans haven’t forgotten about Vesey leaving town.)

The check left Vesey bloodied:

That was enough for Brady Skjei to drop the mitts in a fight with Ryan Johansen, but the fight might have gone Johansen’s way.

So, the Rangers lost two notable players to injury, badly lost, and their opponents had a “dance party” after the game. Not good.

Moments like these only rub salt into your wounds:

The Predators are a team that can win in a number of ways, and apparently that can sometimes means getting a little nasty. The Rangers found that out in a painful way.


James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.