The New York Rangers defeated the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 3-1 at Rogers Place. For a box score, click here.
Ten days ago I wrote that the Rangers stole two points against the Oilers. I feel similarly tonight.
I’m sure a lot of people will blame it on the back-to-back. Or the sudden shorthanded situation the team found themselves in with Chris Kreider being ruled out earlier in the day with an upper body injury and Pavel Buchnevich being a late scratch after warm-ups due to back spasms again. (Lindberg and Clendening replaced the two of them but Clendening never played a shift leaving the team with 17 skaters the entire game. The whole situation is weird so hopefully we’ll know more in the coming days.) But we saw this 10 days ago. I do think the Oilers looked better at MSG than they did tonight but Edmonton still outplayed the Rangers the final forty minutes. And yet the Rangers got the two points.
After the lineup changes, the other big news was Michael Grabner, who scored goals 9 and 10 on the year. He had 9 in 80 last season. He now has 10 in 16, is tied for the second in the league in goals and is first in the league in even strength goals. At some point he will stop scoring but the Rangers are going to enjoy this while he is. They will also take advantage of it as I thought Vigneault was crazy to put him with Stepan and Nash. This is why I don’t coach the team.
The other goals were both broken plays. The game winner for the Rangers came on a delayed penalty where Kevin Hayes shot from the point hit Girardi’s skate in front and deflected past Talbot to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. The Oilers would get within one late in the first on a bad change that basically had no one covered.
Other than that, it was the Antti Raanta show as the Rangers backup made 26 saves in the final 40 minutes and 38 saves overall. The amazing part is the Oilers had another 38 shots that were either blocked or missed the net. If the young stars on that team could hit the net, very good chance we have a different outcome.
But somehow the Rangers keep winning. Tonight it was defense, with all six playing sound games. I’ve noticed more and more national writers paying attention to the team with many saying they are better than expected. But first in the Metro and second overall in the entire league in mid-November is one thing. Let’s just hope the Rangers keep this up for when it counts.
The Rangers complete their trek through western Canada on Tuesday night with a rematch against Vancouver.
(Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)