After another victory in Vancouver, the Rangers are in Edmonton for the first leg of a back-to-back (9:00 P.M. MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsOilers
6thNHL Standing Rank12th
9th GF/PG1st

Rangers vs Oilers

The Blueshirts will face an offensive unit as they take on the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton has the top ranked offense in goals for per game and a large part of that is due to the best power play in the NHL. No one has questioned Edmonton’s offense for the past few years and it is no secret that a big reason for their success comes from their two superstars: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Draisaitl is second in the league with 80 points in just 53 games played. The German forward also has a whopping 39 points on the power-play already this season.

And if limiting Draisaitl’s opportunities wasn’t enough of a challenge, McDavid currently leads the league with 99 points in 55 games. 99 points is not a typo. The Canadian centerman leads the league with 57 assists and he also leads the league with 42 goals on the season. McDavid is currently on pace to finish with a point total between 145-150. As expected, McDavid leads the league in power play points with 48.

“I’d like it if he had 99 after the game tonight, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” said Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant.

Two players who aren’t getting enough love for the seasons they are having are Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman. Nugent-Hopkins has 66 points while Hyman has 64 points. The 29-year-old Nugent-Hopkins is just three points shy of his regular season career high of 69, while Hyman has ten more points then his previous career high which was set last season.

In short, the Oilers are very dangerous on offense and they can score goals. The key for the Rangers will be to make them earn it and stay out of the box. Don’t let them use their speed in transition, and don’t give a team like this gifts because they won’t hesitate. The Rangers defensive core will have their hands full on Friday night.

Edmonton’s Achilles heel is their goaltending and their defense. Both Ryan Murray and Oscar Klefbom are out long-term and haven’t been available to the Oilers. Jack Campbell signed from Toronto as a free agent to be the Oilers number one goaltender – but he has struggled and has lost time to Stuart Skinner. Skinner represented the Oilers in the all-star game in January as he has posted respectable numbers. The 24-year-old has a .913 save percentage on the season compared to Campbell’s .888.

The Blueshirts will need a team effort if they want to slow down the Edmonton offense and leave Edmonton with a victory. The two teams met in Madison Square Garden on November 26 which saw one of the worse defeats the Rangers have this season. New York had a three-goal lead entering the third period, but they ended up squandering that lead and losing in regulation on a goal by Draisaitl with under three-minutes to go. But up until that goal, McDavid and Draisaitl didn’t record a single point. The Rangers know with a good effort they can stop Edmonton’s offense, but they also learned that the game is never truly over until the horn sounds.

But if the Oilers offense does score a few goals, the Blueshirts should feel confident that they can match them in a high scoring game. Since acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko from the Blues, the Rangers have scored six-goals in all three games including six goals by Panarin in the previous two. Panarin leads the Rangers with 62 points on the season.

One lineup change we could see in the game is moving Barclay Goodrow up in the lineup as the game progresses. Jimmy Vesey has flourished with Panarin and Vincent Trocheck in recent games, but Gallant knows that he may need Goodrow’s defensive ability – especially if they are trying to protect a lead later in the game.

Igor Shesterkin is expected to start in goal for the Rangers. Shesterkin didn’t have his best game in Vancouver despite getting a win. It’s only getting tougher for the Russian netminder when he takes on the top-ranked offense. Jaroslav Halak is expected to start Saturday night in Calgary.

Projected Lineup










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