The New York Rangers silenced the Oilers and made Edmonton fans voice their displeasure in a dominant 3-0 victory. A statement win on the road.
The 1-5-1 Edmonton Oilers have stumbled out of the gate this season, and the New York Rangers capitalized on it. Even without Connor McDavid in the lineup, the Blueshirts took control in a 3-0 win at Rogers Place.
The Oilers’ struggles were so apparent that, at times, you could hear the Rangers calling for the puck right through your TV. It was that quiet in Edmonton. The frustration among Oilers fans was palpable as they resorted to booing their team off the ice at the end of the game.
On the flip side, the Rangers showcased an all-around performance that’s a recipe for victory. They set the tempo, played aggressively in all zones, and Jonathan Quick stood tall in a 29-save shutout, his first as a Blueshirt and 59th overall, the most by a US-born goaltender.
Second-period scoring spree:
The first period was scoreless despite the Rangers outshooting Edmonton 10-5.
In the second period, New York took over. It all started with a poor decision by Warren Foegele, who gave Alexis Lafreniere a high-sticking souvenir. It sent him to the sin bin and handed the Blueshirts a power play opportunity, and they made it count.
Adam Fox, the 2021 Norris Trophy winner, stepped up big time. He fired off a rocket of a one-timer from the circle, thanks to a sweet feed from Vincent Trocheck. It was a thing of beauty.
Moments before that, Fox had his initial shot denied by Stuart Skinner, but he wasn’t giving up that easily. He grabbed his rebound and kept the play alive.
The puck eventually returned to the point, where Mika Zibanejad dished it to a hard-pressed Artemi Panarin. No worries, Panarin made a fantastic pass to Trocheck, who sent a laser-like cross-ice delivery to a wide-open Fox. He roofed that puck home for a 1-0 Rangers lead.
The goal also tied Fox among NHL defensemen with six power-play points. Oh, and remember Panarin’s assist? That extended his point streak to seven consecutive games, and he’s racked up 10 points during that stretch.
A few minutes later, defenseman Braden Schneider also got in on the action. He notched his first goal with a nifty shot from the slot. Jimmy Vesey set him up beautifully after a Fox feed, and it was a piece of cake to make it 2-0.
And Schneider wasn’t finished. He then decided to play the role of assist-man, setting up Panarin, who fed Lafreniere. Lafreniere unleashed a rocket of a clapper and scored for the third straight game to make it 3-0.
The Panarin-Chytil-Lafreniere line was buzzing, accounting for 13 of New York’s 32 shots. Schneider, with his family from his hometown of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in the stands, had a two-point night.
The Blueshirts continued to dominate the frame as Zibanejad and Blake Wheeler rang pots, and Fox and Lafreniere had breakaways.
Still, they were denied by Skinner, who made 29 saves, keeping Edmonton in the game. In the third, Wheeler thought he had his first point as a Ranger when he found Will Cuylle for a tally, but it was called back due to Cuylle kicking the puck in.
Jonathan makes “Quick work” of Oilers with shutout:
The night’s surprise was seeing the 37-year-old backup goalie get the start, especially when Igor Shesterkin had only played about four and a half periods in the last ten days. It turned out to be an intelligent decision.
Quick faced 29 shots and stopped them all with a +3.39 goals saved above expected. The Rangers’ defense had a few shaky moments in this game, but Quick was there to bail them out.
Early in the first period, Edmonton had five shots, three of which were high-danger chances. There was even a heart-pounding moment when Kaapo Kakko’s turnover led to an Oilers odd-man rush, but Quick stood tall and saved the day. The Oilers kept pressing, but some hard-nosed defense by Erik Gustafsson shut down their threats.
As the game progressed, the Blueshirts struggled defensively for Peter Laviolette’s lofty standards. A couple of turnovers gave Evan Bouchard some golden opportunities, but Quick shut those down, too. He made crucial stops against Connor Brown and Zach Hyman right in the slot.
Now, speaking of defense, the Rangers did an outstanding job of keeping Oilers superstar Leon Draisaitl off the scoresheet. He managed just three shots all night. With Connor McDavid injured, all the attention went to his sidekick.
And a shoutout to Nick Bonino, who had six critical blocks and dominated the faceoff circle with a 63.2% win rate (12 of 19).
Credit to coach Laviolette for a smart move. He implemented a box +1 defensive neutral zone trap when Draisaitl was on the ice, and it paid off. There were always two men on him. He adjusted to the McDavid-less situation perfectly. It was stuff Edmonton has been trying to implement through their first seven games. They’ve failed, having yielded 30 goals thus far.
On the other hand, Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft tried a 1-1-3 forecheck, which didn’t work against a New York team that loves to regroup. The Rangers seized the free red line, got busy in the offensive zone, scored three goals, and Quick took care of the rest. The 5-2 Blueshirts improved to 3-0 on their five-game western bender. They’ll look to continue the trend on Saturday night in Vancouver against the Canucks.