NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Petr Prucha and Steve Rucchin each scored two goals, and the New York Rangers beat Nashville 5-1 Thursday night to snap the Predators’ four-game winning streak.

The teams came into the game tied with the NHL’s best records in shootouts at 4-1, but the Rangers never had to worry about that in winning for the eighth time in 10 games.

Jaromir Jagr moved ahead of Jason Spezza of Ottawa for the NHL points lead when he scored his 22nd goal at 12:31 of the first period. He then added two assists as the Rangers had much more energy than Nashville even though both were playing for a second straight night.

New York, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 1997, is on top of the NHL standings with 44 points.

Yanic Perreault helped Nashville avoid the shutout by rookie Henrik Lundqvist when he scored his seventh at 4:15 of the third. But Lundqvist stopped 30 shots for New York, which rebounded from a 2-1 overtime loss at Chicago on Wednesday.

Prucha gave New York a 2-0 lead when he came out of the penalty box within the final minute of the first, grabbed the puck and scored on a breakaway with a backhander over Tomas Vokoun’s glove.

That was it for Vokoun, who had been tied for the league lead with 15 victories. He sprained his knee, and didn’t return. He will be re-evaluated Friday.

The Rangers didn’t give Chris Mason, who was in goal for Wednesday night’s 5-2 victory at Washington, a chance to get comfortable. They scored three goals on their first six shots of the second, starting with Rucchin who scored off an assist from Jagr for his NHL-leading 45th point.

Prucha scored his 12th of the season four minutes later, and Rucchin made it 5-0 with his goal midway through the period.

In a game featuring two of the NHL’s top three penalty killers, the Rangers got the better of the Predators, who went 0-for-8 on the power play and snapped a franchise record of 11 straight games with a man-advantage goal.

The Predators simply passed the puck too much. They went 0-for-5 on the power play in the first period and couldn’t score even with a 5-on-3 advantage.

Notes: This was only the second time this season the Predators allowed five goals. … Prucha has six goals in a four-game streak. … Nashville forward David Legwand had to be helped from the ice late in the second period with an injury to his left leg. He didn’t return. … Vokoun made his 300th start with the Predators before leaving. … Martin Straka, who helped set up Jagr’s goal, leads the Rangers with 24 assists.

AP-ES-12-08-05 2243EST


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