Despite having one of the league's top scorers, New York (26-26-7) has been held to two goals or fewer nine times -- including four shutout losses -- during a 4-9-1 stretch. The Rangers are 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Philadelphia and Boston, which are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot.
They had showed signs of offensive life with eight goals in the past two games, but now face the injury to Gaborik, who is fourth in the NHL with 35 goals and sixth with 69 points.
The right wing's injury occurred during a breakaway drill Tuesday. Gaborik tried to jump over Henrik Lundqvist's leg, but the goaltender's skate caught him on the leg.
After lying on the ice for a few moments, Gaborik skated off with assistance and didn't put weight on the leg. He later received stitches and is listed as day-to-day.
Gaborik, scheduled to play for Slovakia in the upcoming Vancouver Games, had six goals and two assists in the past five games and opened the scoring in Saturday night's 3-1 victory in New Jersey.
Ryan Callahan added a goal and an assist for the second straight game and Lundqvist stopped 41 shots to help New York take the middle contest of a three-game homestand.
Without Gaborik, the Rangers will look to take advantage of a Nashville team that's dropped a season-high five in a row on the road.
In Tuesday night's opener of a four-game Eastern trip, the Predators allowed the New York Islanders to score the tying power-play goal with 11.4 seconds left en route to a 4-3 shootout defeat.
"We just took too many penalties and it cost us the game," Nashville captain Jason Arnott said. "It's tough that way, but I thought the guys played a solid road game. It was ours to win, but we let it slip away."
Nashville has scored 11 goals in the past three games with Joel Ward tallying one in each contest. However, the Predators (31-22-5) have also given up 10 in that span and have been outscored 30-25 during a 2-6-2 stretch.
Nashville would seem to have a good opportunity to end its road skid at Madison Square Garden, where it has four wins and a tie in five visits since the start of the 2000-01 season. New York has not defeated Nashville at MSG since Jan. 31, 2000.
The Predators, though, haven't played in Manhattan since a 3-0 win Oct. 18, 2006. The Rangers won 4-2 in Nashville last March 12, when Callahan and defenseman Marc Staal each had a goal and an assist.
The Predators haven't dropped six in a row on the road since an 0-6-1 skid Dec. 8, 2008-Jan. 11, 2009.