The New York Rangers host the Edmonton Oilers tonight.
Puck drop of the Rangers’ 6,000th regular season game comes from Madison Square Garden at 7:00pm.
The New York Rangers are now 31-23-3 with 65 points and maintain second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to hold the third place slot, shared with the Philadelphia Flyers, and with a game in hand over both teams, the Blue Jackets are three points behind the Rangers. Tonight Cam Talbot returns to the crease for the first time since his January 21st game against the Islanders which was a 5-3 loss. Talbot has a 10-4 record with two shut outs, a 1.78 goals against average, and a .935 save percentage. Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello continue to battle over the points lead on the team. Each has 15 goals for 41 points, though Zuccarello has played one fewer game. Zuccarello is on a four game points streak with six points in that span. Richards is skating at a -3 where Zuccarello is a +2 thus far. Derick Brassard is also on a four game, six point streak, for a total of 10 goals for 32 points; only three assists behind Derek Stepan‘s 35 points. Ryan Callahan‘s three points in his last game, including two goals, give him 11 goals for 24 points and four points in his last two games. Ryan McDonagh has a career high eight goals already this season and is two points away from his career high points total and he continues to lead the defense with eight goals for 30 points.
The Edmonton Oilers have a 19-33-6 record with 44 points and are sixth, last place, in the Pacific Division. Newly acquired goal tender, Ben Scrivens, has rapidly become the “go to” goal tender for the organization. He is 2-3 thus far with 2.21 goals against average and a .944 save percentage. The Rangers have faced Scrivens, in Madison Square Garden, this season as a member of the Los Angeles King’s franchise. Matt Hendricks was acquired from Nashville Predators, who signed Hendricks after he left the Washington Capitals during free agency last summer, in his nine games with the club he has netted two goals and added 24 hits and 10 blocks. Taylor Hall leads the Oilers with 19 goals for 54 points in only 51 games. Jordan Eberle also has 19 goals but only 45 points. David Perron has a team high 22 goals for 41 points and has five points in the last four games. Hall, Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins lead the team’s power play conversion points with 12, 15, 16 power play points respectively. Justin Schultz has 8 goals for 24 points this season, with three of those goals coming in the last five games. Nail Yakupov continues to be a source of inconsistency for the Oilers with 10 goals for 21 points in 53 games and only four points in the last 10 games. Andrew Ference is a player the Rangers are familiar with from his days with the Boston Bruins, he has two goals for 11 points but has led the team as their captain.
This is the first of two meetings between these teams this season. While the Oilers are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, the Rangers are 7-3. The Oilers are a speedy team but are similar to the Dallas Stars in that away from their top line, they aren’t overly productive. The Rangers have to stay out of the penalty box if they want to win this game and they need to get the Oilers in the box. It will be a full 60 minutes of play tonight to keep the Oilers at bay.