New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) blocks a shot...

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) blocks a shot on goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Credit: AP/George Walker IV

NASHVILLE — The last time the Rangers played the Nashville Predators, on Oct. 19 at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts turned in an ugly performance in a loss that dropped them to 2-2. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin was pulled in the second period.

In their second game against the Predators on Saturday, when the Rangers fell behind by two goals in the first period at Bridgestone Arena, coach Peter Laviolette decided he needed to jolt his team.

During the intermission, he made it clear that things needed to change. Then he shook up his forward lines to give things a different look. And it worked, as the Rangers recovered from their slow start to dominate the final two periods and pull out a 4-3 win.

“We came out slow. We came out weak,’’ forward Vincent Trocheck said. “But we had a little bit of a wake-up call after the first — Lavi came in and kind of gave us the business, and rightfully so. We were not very good to start the game, so it’s a good team over there. If you give them a chance, they’re gonna take it, they’re going to take full advantage of it. So in the second period, third period, I thought we came out a little bit better.’’

Trocheck was one of those who was huge in the final two periods, recording a goal and two assists. He also was in the middle of things on Ryan Lindgren’s game-deciding goal at 5:10 of the third period, battling with Nashville’s Jeremy Lauzon as Lindgren’s shot/pass banked in off Lauzon’s skate to break a 3-3 tie.

The Rangers (17-4-1) have 35 points. Boston (16-4-3), which has played one more game, also has 35. Vegas (16-5-4) has 36 but has played three more games than the Rangers have.

Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba had the other goals for the Rangers. Adam Fox contributed three assists and Jonny Brodzinski had two. Shesterkin, who was under siege in the first period, made 38 saves in lifting his record to 10-4.

“You’re down 2-0 in the game [on first-period goals by Ryan O’Reilly and Roman Josi, on the power play] and that’s always tough to climb out of a hole when you’re on the road,” Laviolette said. “The first didn’t go the way we wanted. The second period, I thought we played a much better period. We played faster, the power play looked sharper. Guys were more on point, competed hard. And then as the game went on, it really became a competitive game. Blocking shots, physical, one-on-one battles. I thought our guys did a really good job just crawling back into that game and gutting one out.’’

Laviolette, who has kept his forward lines together for most of the season, switched things up in the second period, putting his No. 1 center, Mika Zibanejad, between his top two wingers, Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafreniere, and putting Trocheck between Kreider and Brodzinski in a completely new-look line.

“Just watching the first period, I just didn’t — I didn’t like it,’’ Laviolette said. “We‘ve had so much consistency in the lines, and the way we rolled them over, and so to me, there was a change of scenery for everybody. Everybody got a new look.’’

“I think after [the line changes], I think everybody started going, and every line was rolling,’’ Brodzinski said. “I think that was probably the biggest thing, was we were getting contributions from everybody.’’

Trouba scored 31 seconds into the second period. “When you leave the room, you’re talking about winning the second period, and you go up 1-0 before two minutes tick off the clock,’’ Laviolette said. “That puts some life in the bench and some juice in the guys, and now you’re in it.’’

Nashville went up 3-1 on a shorthanded goal by Colton Sissons at 7:28, but Kreider scored his 14th goal at 8:52, two seconds after that power play ended, to pull the Rangers within 3-2. Trocheck redirected a pass from Zibanejad by Kevin Lankinen (23 saves) to tie it at 3-3 at 9:11.

More Rangers

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME