New York Rangers Gameday Preview: Edmonton Oilers – 1/3/22

The New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers will play each other for the second and ultimate time tonight within the 2021-22 season. The Oilers defeated the Blueshirts in additional time, 6-5, on Nov. 5. The previous was taking part in like an elite staff in the course of the recreation in November whereas the latter was within the midst of a troublesome street journey in western Canada. The Oilers have been struggling just lately, whereas the Rangers are taking part in ok to stay among the many high three groups within the Metropolitan Division. Listed here are some storylines for each groups forward of tonight’s recreation at Madison Sq. Backyard.

2 Storylines: Edmonton Oilers (18-12-2)

Oilers Shedding Floor in Pacific Division

The Oilers went 15-5-0 throughout October and November earlier than going 3-7-1 in December. The Vancouver Canucks, who’re surging since Bruce Boudreau was named the top coach on Dec. 5, are just a few factors behind the Oilers within the Pacific Division. The Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Geese have taken over first and second place, respectively, within the Pacific.

The Oilers struggled to generate offense throughout 5 consecutive residence video games – all losses between Dec. 5-14. The staff scored one purpose in 4 of its 5 video games, and two within the different. The group misplaced to 2 groups in additional time – the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 31 and the New York Islanders on Jan. 1, respectively.

Associated: 3 Causes for Alarm From Oilers’ 3-2 Loss to Islanders

There may be rising unrest from the fanbase with head coach Dave Tippett because the Oilers discover themselves in a tailspin after a promising begin in the course of the first two months of the season. The staff now not seems an elite contender for the Stanley Cup after their struggles final month. With two stars in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the staff was anticipated to take the subsequent step towards contending for a championship.

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Photograph by Andy Devlin/NHLI through Getty Pictures)

Tippett has not led the staff to a sequence win within the playoffs in the course of the first two seasons since he was employed in Might 2019. The staff completed second within the Pacific Division in the course of the 2019-20 season however was upset in the course of the postseason within the Qualifying Spherical by the Chicago Blackhawks. In the course of the shortened 2020-21 12 months, the Oilers completed second within the North Division, however had been swept within the first spherical of the playoffs by the Winnipeg Jets. The fanbase is keen for playoff success because the staff solely has solely received one playoff sequence within the final 15 years since dropping to the Carolina Hurricanes within the Stanley Cup Remaining in the course of the 2005-06 season.

McDavid, Draisaitl Having MVP seasons

McDavid and Draisaitl are each having excellent seasons for the Edmonton Oilers. The previous has 19 targets and 34 assists whereas the latter has 25 targets and 27 assists. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has essentially the most assists (23) after the duo whereas Zach Hyman is third on the staff in targets with 11.

Nugent-Hopkins is third on the staff with 26 factors behind McDavid (53) and Draisaitl (52). The final time the Oilers and Blueshirts performed each other in November, McDavid scored in what’s a purpose of the 12 months candidate as he maneuvered by means of a number of gamers on the Rangers. The highest level leaders for the Oilers are carrying the staff and the opposite gamers might want to step up to be able to take stress off of the franchise’s main duo.

2 Storylines: New York Rangers (21-8-4)

Panarin in COVID Protocol, Zibanejad Has Hat Trick Versus Lightning

Previous to yesterday’s recreation towards the Tampa Bay Lightning, Artemi Panarin was positioned in COVID well being and security protocols. Tim Gettinger obtained a begin within the lineup rather than the Blueshirts level chief. The road combos appeared totally different, with Kaapo Kakko on the highest line and first power-play unit with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. The second line consisted of Ryan Strome, Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow.

UPDATE: Artemi Panarin and assistant coach Mike Kelly have been added to NHL’s Covid protocol listing and will probably be out right now. Morgan Barron has been recalled from the taxi squad.

Regardless of the absence of Panarin, Zibanejad crammed the void considerably as he had a hat trick within the 4-0 victory for the Rangers towards the Lightning. The 28-year-old ahead has a number of factors in 4 of his final 5 video games and has 9 factors in that span together with six targets and three assists. Zibanejad has proven in earlier seasons he’s able to carrying the Blueshirts offense.

Shesterkin Will get Shutout, Kreider Racking Up Assists

After having unimpressive save percentages (SV%) in his first two begins again from harm – a .875 SV% versus the Florida Panthers on Dec. 29 and a .893 SV% versus the Lightning on Dec. 31 – Igor Shesterkin performed phenomenal towards the Bolts yesterday. The third-year goaltender stopped all 38 photographs he confronted towards a Lightning staff that has been taking part in like they’re able to one other prolonged playoff run this 12 months. He had a number of key saves within the closing minutes of the primary interval that left the Lighting shocked. The Rangers goaltender has had a number of video games this season through which he has carried his staff to victory based mostly on his efficiency.

Chris Kreider Rangers
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Chris Kreider, who has been spectacular along with his purpose scoring potential this season, has been accumulating assists just lately. In his final 5 video games, he has two with three assists every and has seven whole over that span. He continues to be on his approach to a profession 12 months offensively in his tenth season.

Gamers to Watch

Oilers – Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl

The Oilers’ most useful gamers will command consideration from the Rangers after the prior matchup between the groups. Each gamers every had a purpose and two assists within the 6-5 additional time victory over the Blueshirts. With Nugent-Hopkins day-to-day attributable to an harm, the staff could also be with out one of many different stars on its roster. The staff will proceed to depend on the 2 stars to shoulder the offense, which they’ve confirmed to be greater than able to this 12 months.

Rangers – Barclay Goodrow, Mika Zibanejad

Goodrow has appeared rejuvenated for the Rangers within the two video games he performed towards the staff he was with earlier than he signed with the Blueshirts final offseason. He’s positively getting his probabilities offensively on the highest six, and he has two targets and one help in his final two video games. Whereas he’s not one of many gamers the staff relies upon upon recurrently for offense, his contributions can be welcome to be able to take stress off of the gamers the staff depends on for scoring alternatives. Zibanejad is within the midst of a scorching streak and can proceed to get probabilities offensively. Whereas he struggled to attain targets earlier within the season, he is without doubt one of the Rangers high gamers over the past 5 video games and has the potential for a multi-goal recreation when he’s taking part in nicely.

The Rangers have a difficult schedule over the subsequent two weeks with a number of video games on the street after the matchup with the Oilers. Edmonton is seeking to escape of its month lengthy droop whereas the Rangers wish to preserve their regular manufacturing in 2021-22. If the primary recreation between the groups was any indication on what to anticipate this night, it will likely be an entertaining recreation for the followers to look at.