Last season, it took Michael Grabner 80 games to score nine goals.
This year, his first with the New York Rangers, it took him just 16 contests to surpass it.
Grabner became the first Ranger this season to hit double-digit goals, earning a pair in the Rangers‘ 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.
Playing a weekend back-to-back set for the third time this season, as well as hitting the halfway points on a four game road trip, the Rangers again picked up a weekend sweep, also taking both meetings with Edmonton this season. With the Rangers playing elsewhere in the province of Alberta the night before, an efficient 4-1 win over Calgary, the night before, Grabner allowed the traveled Rangers to get comfortable, scoring just 80 seconds into the game via assists from Kevin Klein and Rick Nash.
For the rest of the opening period, the Rangers (12-4-0) killed off a Kevin Hayes slashing penalty before Hayes made up for it, assisting on Dan Girardi’s third goal of the season, with points leader JT Miller also providing a helping hand. The goal was scored during a delayed penalty call. Edmonton (9-6-1) managed to keep things interesting with Andrej Sekera’s first goal of the season.
The Oilers put constant pressure on the net for the rest of the game, outshooting the
Rangers 26-15 over the final two periods (as well as 39-27 overall), but reserve goalie Antti Raanta, who was allowed to play the whole game this time around, made 38 saves, upstaging the man he replaced behind Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Talbot. The latter gave up one last goal to his former team, as Grabner converted an Oiler turnover into a breakaway opportunity. Pursuing Oilers shoved Grabner into the net, but the puck went in before the net was shoved off its hinges. Talbot made 24 saves, but it wasn’t enough to take down his former team.
With his assist, Miller, leading the team with 15 points, has tallied at least one point in five of his seven November games thus far. Girardi’s third goal of the year was also the game winner, much like the other two he scored thus far this season. That trio also leads the team. With his 10th goal, Grabner is now in a 4-way tie for second in the league in goals, one behind Winnipeg rookie Patrik Laine.
The Rangers also achieved victory in their first ever visit to Rogers Arena, Edmonton’s new state-of-the-art home.
Now halfway through their first major road trip of the year, the Rangers will conclude their Western Canada trio against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night (10:00, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.