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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ New York Rangers

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Undefeated Oilers meet undefeated Rangers at MSG for an early tilt. Strap in.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at New York Islanders
James Neal has 7 goals in 4 games. Perfectly normal stuff, really.
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (4-0-0) vs

New York Rangers (2-0-0)

12 October 2019

Madison Square Garden

11 AM MST

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Blueshirt Banter

FOUR SCORE

In four games, the Oilers have a perfect 4-0-0 record. That’s...completely expected and where everyone must have thought the Oilers would be after four games played. The Oilers needed a little extra time on Thursday night when they faced the New Jersey Devils, but goals by Leon Draisaitl and James Neal (surprise!) helped the Oilers keep pace with New Jersey through the first two periods. A late third period PPG by Connor McDavid (with the goalie pulled) knotted the game at 3-all, some extra help from Leon in the shootout would seal the deal.

The Oilers are 4-0-0. Back in New York, they’ve got a chance to make it 5-0-0 with a win today. They’ll face off against Kaapo Kakko and the rest of the New York Rangers in an early one, can they keep the good times rolling?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

They can’t all be masterpieces, so we’ll take the win and move on

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Dave Tippett after his club’s 4-3 shootout victory in New Jersey

Prior to the game, the Devils had struggled mightily in this young season. They had scored just six goals in three games. Two, if you count the fact that they were shutout in Philadelphia the night before. The Oilers had a timely late goal in the third period while on the power play (and with a pulled netminder), and Leon Draisaitl took care of business in the sixth round of the shootout.

The Rangers are saying

The guys played great today...I saw most of the shots. The one that went in, I got a little tangled up. But otherwise, the guys boxed out pretty well and let me see the shots

Source

That’s Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev after defeating the Ottawa Senators last Saturday.

The Rangers have not played in a week. Seriously, it’s been a week. The last game they played was a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on October 5th. Will the Rangers come out totally fresh, or will there be some rust?

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Seriously, it’s been a week since the Rangers played a game. It’s not like they played their last game in Prague or something. It’s just...been a week. The Oilers may have some opportunity to catch a team who’s not up to pace after having no games played in a week.
  • STILL HOT: James Neal hasn’t cooled off yet. Another goal in Thursday’s game versus New Jersey gives James Neal 7 so far on the season. Seven goals is the exact number of goals that James Neal scored over the entire 2018-19 season in Calgary. From what I’m reading, the Flames are super happy with Milan Lucic, and that’s great too. I’d rather have 26 PIMs, no points and one shot in four games going for me too.
  • LINES, ETC: Leon Draisaitl was held out of practice yesterday for a maintenance day. If Jack Michaels’ line projector holds up, I’d be a little surprised to not see Joakim Nygard in the lineup. Alex Chiasson and Josh Archibald could return after being out with illnesses. Don’t expect any changes from the top two lines of 29-97-44 and 92-93-18.
  • SPECIAL TEAMS ARE KILLING IT RIGHT NOW: The Oilers are a cool and clean 6/15 on the power play in this young season, good for a 40% success rate. The PK is hanging tough as well, the Oilers have killed all but one of their 13 shorthanded situations so far this year (92.3%). When you’re hot, you’re hot.
  • NET GAINS - If you’re Dave Tippett, do you go with your goalie who’s won the last two games? Or, do you go with your goalie who won the first two games? Both Oiler goalies have a pair of wins, though Mikko Koskinen’s (2-0-0, .914 SV% / 2.41 GAA) numbers fare better than Mike Smith. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith (2-0-0, .892 SV% / 3.50 GAA) get back in sometime soon. The Rangers could also go either way seeing as how they haven’t played in a week. I’ve got Henrik Lundqvist (1-0-0, .915 SV% / 4.00 GAA) going for the Rangers.
  • SICK BAY: Adam Larsson (fibula) is out for the Oilers. For the Rangers, Yegor Rykov (undisclosed) will miss today’s game.