The Rangers continue their four-game road trip in Edmonton where they will look to do the impossible and slow down the best hockey duo on the planet (9:30 P.M. ET, MSG+).

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6thNHL Standing Rank3rd

Previous Game

               In Vancouver, the Rangers were defeated 3-2 in overtime after conceding a 2-0 lead in the third period. It was a rough final period and overtime session for K’Andre Miller who was on the ice for all three goals against. His partner Jacob Trouba was on the ice for the first two goals and did little to help the second-year player.

               The even-strength offense remained an issue as the Blueshirts didn’t record a single goal. The special teams came through for them with a dominant performance including two power-play goals on five attempts and a perfect six for six on the penalty kill. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they had a glorious opportunity with a five-on-three in the dying minutes of a tied hockey game but Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko was fantastic and made an incredible scorpion save. One could get mad at the inability to score but this was just one of those moments you just have to applaud the goaltender and appreciate the save.

               Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves on 36 shots as the Rangers recorded a point. Not to sound like a broken record, but Shesterkin was easily the best player on the Blueshirts on Tuesday night.


               Now the Rangers will begin the toughest three-game stretch they have had thus far into the season. They play the third-place Edmonton Oilers, followed by fifth-place Calgary Flames, and concluding with the first-place Florida Panthers. To make matters worse, the Edmonton and Calgary games are back-to-back in western Canada and have to fly back to New York for a game against the best team in the league. It will be a trying three games in four days that could tell us a lot about the Blueshirts. These three teams have a combined record of 23-2-4.

               Vitali Kravtsov has been loaned back to the KHL. Kravtsov requested a trade after not making the team at the beginning of the season and would be eligible to return in February. General Manager Chris Drury and Kravtsov’s camp agreed that a loan back to Russia was in the best interest of both parties. Kravtsov released a statement that sounds like he could be open to playing for the Rangers upon his return. Kravtsov scored two goals including the game-winning goal in overtime in his return to Russia.

               “I want to thank the Rangers for working with me, and appreciate the open and honest conversations we have had during this process. While this has been a challenging time for me personally, I believe having the opportunity to return to Traktor and work on my game is the best thing for me right now. My main focus is getting better every day to continue towards my goal of playing hockey for the New York Rangers.”

               Alexis Lafreniere appears set to start the game on the fourth line. Lafreniere was practicing with Greg McKegg, Kevin Rooney, and Ryan Reaves in practice on Thursday. Reaves is still listed as day-to-day and could be deemed eligible to return as early as Friday night. The key sign to that would be a roster move the Rangers would have to make in order for Reaves to play. McKegg being sent down would be the likely transaction.

Edmonton Oilers

               While it was a rough outing for Miller and Trouba in Vancouver, they have been an outstanding pairing to start the season and they will need their best game. Simply put, the Oilers have the best offense in the league as they average over four goals per game and their power play is operating at over 45%. These are numbers that are simply out of this world and a large part of that is having arguably the two best forwards on the planet: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid and Draisaitl lead the league in points with 19 and 20 respectively.

               If that wasn’t hard enough to come against, they have an additional three players that are above or on a point-per-game pace including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, and the newly acquired Zach Hyman. Hyman was given a seven-year contract by Edmonton with a 5.5 million cap hit in free agency. It goes without saying that McDavid and Draisaitl make everyone around them that much better and more confident.

               The other notable move the Oilers had this offseason was acquiring veteran defender Duncan Keith from the Chicago Blackhawks. The 38-year-old had been with the Blackhawks since 2005 before finally being traded to Edmonton to clear some cap space. Keith has two points to start the season as he currently holds down a role on the second defensive pairing.

               And if all of that offense wasn’t enough, they have also been able to keep the puck out of the net. They doubled down on their goaltending and so far, they have been rewarded. They went into the season once again with Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith. Smith went down with an injury and is currently on the injured reserved list and has been replaced by Stuart Skinner. Koskinen has stepped up and he holds a record of 6-1-0 with a 2.18 goals against average and a blistering .934 save percentage. Oilers management probably couldn’t have dreamed they would get these numbers out of Koskinen.

What to Watch

               The what to watch for moment is can the Rangers limit the scoring chances of the top-six forward core the Oilers possess. One way to limit them is staying out of the penalty box. Although the penalty kill has been on fire recently, the power play of the Oilers is out of this world. The Blueshirts must remain disciplined throughout the game and they cannot be taking silly penalties.

  One thing the Rangers have done extremely well this season is keeping the puck out of the net and they will need that to be their strength once again. A large part of that has been the play of Shesterkin and he will play the second half of the back-to-back whichs means Alex Georgiev will be in the net on Friday. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to keep that duo off the scoresheet so it will be damage limitation. Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren may be asked to do more defending and will likely be out there as much as possible against McDavid and Draisaitl. Miller and Trouba will need a major bounce-back game and do everything they can to keep the puck out of the net.

The offense of the Blueshirts must come alive tonight if they are going to win this game on both even strength and special teams. If you can keep McDavid and Draisaitl in the defensive zone, you’ll significantly limit their chances to score and increase the chances of winning.

Projected Lineup:










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