New York Rangers' Nick Holden (22) and Edmonton Oilers' Milan Lucic (27) battle for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Michael Grabner is coming up big for the New York Rangers.
Grabner scored twice, Antti Raanta stopped 38 shots, and the Rangers beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 Sunday night.
After signing with the Rangers during the offseason, Grabner now has 10 goals in 16 games to eclipse the nine he scored in 80 games with Toronto last year.
''I'm just trying to go out there and play my role,'' he said. ''It's just been going good from the start, from the first game on. I think that's a big part of hockey, when you get confidence, it seems to be going out there and not thinking and good things happen.''
Dan Girardi also scored to help the Rangers win for the seventh time in eight games – including two victories against the Oilers.
''I thought we came out real well, moved the puck, got some quality opportunities and scored a couple of goals,'' New York coach Alain Vigneault said. ''After that, there was no doubt they had a real strong push and I thought for the most part our goaltender made some big saves and our guys battled through back-to-back games.''
Andrej Sekera scored for Edmonton and Cam Talbot finished with 24 saves. The Oilers have lost three straight to fall to 2-5-1 since starting the season 7-1-0.
''That confidence and swagger we had in the first eight games seems to get away from us a little bit,'' Oilers forward Milan Lucic said. ''We haven't had it in the last eight games.
''Things aren't always going to go smoothly. We have to stick together as a team and go back to having fun playing the right way.''
Grabner got New York on the scoreboard just 1:20 in, getting to a big rebound and scoring his ninth of the season. It was the fifth time in seven games the Oilers allowed a goal in the first two minutes.
Girardi made it 2-0 with 6:42 left in the first as the Rangers had an extra attacker on for a delayed penalty and the defenseman redirected Kevin Hayes' pass past Talbot from in front of the net.
Edmonton pulled within one with 1:15 left in the opening period when Connor McDavid spotted a pinching Sekera swooping past the Rangers net and he deflected a shot past Raanta.
Grabner scored again with five minutes left in the second when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave up the puck at the New York blue line. Talbot made the initial stop, but Grabner was able to swat in the rebound.
Edmonton had good pressure in the third period, but Raanta shut the door.
''We had a lot of players missing in action,'' Oilers coach Todd McLellan said.
NOTES: It was the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams. The Rangers won 5-3 in the previous meeting at home on Nov. … Raanta got the start in net for the Rangers after Henrik Lundqvist played the night before in a 4-1 win at Calgary. Raanta made his fifth start and improved to 4-0-0. He won his first four starts last year before going 0-4-2 in his next eight appearances before finishing 11-6-2. … The Rangers were without F Chris Kreider, who suffered an upper-body injury against the Flames. F Pavel Buchnevich also missed the game. … New York already has 10 players with at least 10 points. … F Zack Kassian returned to Edmonton's lineup after missing the last three games with an injury. … Oilers F Benoit Pouliot played his 500th NHL game.
Rangers: At Vancouver on Tuesday night in the third game of a four-game trip.
Oilers: At Anaheim on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game trip.