Rangers win 4-2 to end Oilers’ 6-game winning streak
NEW YORK (AP) Henrik Lundqvist knows one game is not a cure-all for the New York Rangers' recent ills.
What it could be, though, is an antibiotic.
''This was just so needed, this win, I think for so many reasons,'' the star goalie said after the Rangers ended Edmonton's six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello each had a goal and an assist, Dylan McIlrath scored his first NHL goal and Jesper Fast added an empty-netter in the final seconds to help the Rangers snap a three-game skid. Keith Yandle finished with two assists, and Lundqvist stopped 18 shots.
''We did a really good job staying focused on what we talked about: being focused and going in here and really paying attention to what needed to be done to win a game,'' Lundqvist said.
Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle scored for Edmonton. Anders Nilsson made 17 saves.
''For the most part it was a good effort,'' Hall said. ''One-goal games usually are decided by little plays, little mistakes, and we made more than they did.''
Back home after allowing a total of 14 goals in road losses to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary last week, New York led 1-0 at the first intermission thanks to Zuccarello's 14th and significantly improved coverage in the defensive zone.
The Rangers limited Edmonton to six shots in the period, and 16 seconds after Oscar Lindberg's hooking penalty expired, Zuccarello converted Yandle's feed from the left circle to open the scoring.
Unlike the losses in Western Canada in which New York yielded 89 shots in three games, the Rangers held Edmonton to 20 shots for the game.
''We're used to being a top defensive team in the league,'' Marc Staal said. ''We were making some plays that are uncharacteristic.''
But the Oilers made the most of their chances in the second period, scoring twice.
Hall tied the game 5:12 into the second with his 15th of the season and sixth in six games. With Lindberg serving a hooking minor, Hall glided down the left wing before whipping a shot through Lundqvist.
The deadlock lasted all of 2:42.
McIlrath gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 7:54. The 23-year-old one-timed Yandle's pass past Nilsson before getting mobbed by teammates.
''It was unbelievable,'' McIlrath said. ''I just tried to bear down and get it clean off my stick. It didn't really register until I saw the reaction on some guys' faces.''
Edmonton drew even for the second time in the period on Eberle's eighth goal at 18:20. The sequence began with Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei turning the puck over in the neutral zone to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Edmonton center found a streaking Eberle, whose quick wrist shot eluded Lundqvist.
New York took its third lead 59 seconds later on Nash's power-play goal. Only 13 seconds after Edmonton was penalized for having too many men on the ice, Nash fired a low shot that Nilsson stopped, but the big left wing drove to the net and jammed in the rebound for his 10th of the season.
''Timely goals and timely saves were a very big part of our early success,'' New York coach Alain Vigneault said. ''There's no doubt that instead of going into our dressing room after two (periods) with a tie, the power-play goal (gave) us a little bit of momentum.''
In the third period, New York took three penalties in succession. First, Staal was called for slashing Anton Lander. Almost immediately after that minor expired, Staal was whistled for high-sticking Leon Draisaitl. And 1:42 after Staal's second penalty of the period, J.T. Miller was assessed a minor for high-sticking Eric Gryba.
But Edmonton was only able to fire three shots on Lundqvist during the three power plays, and finished 1 for 6 on the man advantage. New York went 1 for 5.
''We had our chances but we just didn't capitalize and it was there for us,'' Eberle said.
Fast's empty-netter with 3.2 seconds left sealed it.
NOTES: The game marked Skjei's NHL debut. The 28th overall pick in the 2012 draft was recalled Tuesday afternoon from New York's AHL affiliate in Hartford, where he had 11 points in 27 games. … New York dressed five first-round draft picks – Skjei, Miller (2011), McIlrath (2010), Chris Kreider (2009) and Staal (2005) – for a game for the first time since Nov. 21, 1998. It also was the first time the Rangers dressed their own first-round picks in four consecutive drafts since April 5, 1978. … The Rangers did not have regulars Dan Girardi (swollen knee), Kevin Klein (oblique) and Derek Stepan (broken ribs) in the lineup. … Edmonton was without Andrew Ference (healthy scratch), Oscar Klefbom (broken finger) and Jujhar Khaira (healthy scratch). … The 18,006 in attendance gave Edmonton backup goalie Cam Talbot a nice ovation when he was shown on the video board during a stoppage in play. New York traded Talbot to Edmonton on June 27.
- Anders Nilsson
- Andrew Ference
- Anton Lander
- Brady Skjei
- Cam Talbot
- Chris Kreider
- Dan Girardi
- Derek Stepan
- Dylan McIlrath
- Edmonton Oilers
- Eric Gryba
- Henrik Lundqvist
- J.T. Miller
- Jesper Fast
- Jordan Eberle
- Jujhar Khaira
- Keith Yandle
- Kevin Klein
- Leon Draisaitl
- Marc Staal
- Mats Zuccarello
- New York Rangers
- Oscar Klefbom
- Rick Nash
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Taylor Hall