January 3, 2022; New York, New York, United States; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreni? ? re (13) celebrates his goal against the Edmonton Oilers in the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers met in the only NHL game on the calendar. Aiming for their third consecutive victory, the team played with urgency from the opening draw to the final buzzer.
When all was said and done, the Blueshirts collected their 48th point of the season. It ties them to the Capitals, but thanks to their 22 wins, New York is at the top of the entire league.
“Twenty guys showed up and did a good job,” said Gerard Gallant afterward. “The last two games (at home) have been great. They believe in our group, they hear the noise and it’s a lot of fun.
Recap: Rangers 4 vs. Oilers 1
In the first half, New York stood out by being quick with the pucks. The Rangers dominated the game for most of the opening stanza and were awarded a goal.
Ryan Lindgren, who was playing in his first COVID protocol return game, threw the puck into the corner. Mikko Koskinen started to come out of his net to play it but was edged out by Ryan Strome. The centralizer was slammed by Alexis Lafrenière for a 1-0 at 14:35.
It was the 8th of the season for Lafrenière and the second in three games. Through TSN Statistics Center:
Alexis Lafrenière is the 7th NYRangers winger to score at least 20 career goals before their 21st birthday. Others: Don Murdoch (35), Mike Allison (33), Tomas Sandstrom (29), Alex Kovalev (29), Troy Mallette (24), Kaapo Kakko (24)
Edmonton had a late push, but Alexandar Georgiev made several solid saves. After the first 20, the Blueshirts outscored the Oilers 11-6 and also blocked nine.
“I thought we played well and knocked out their chances,” Zac Jones said of the period and his role. “I was a bit struck by the stars last year. Now it’s a business and I’m here to play hockey and help the team in any way I can.
Lafrenière adds Rangers ahead
The second period started well for the Rangers with another excellent play from Lafrenière to extend the Rangers lead. Intercepting a puck in the neutral zone, the sophomore entered the zone with speed and then found Barclay Goodrow in the lunge. Goodrow broke it by Koskinen for his third goal and fourth point in three games.
“I just play with [Strome and Goodrow], they always find a way to put the puck in the right areas for me, said Lafrenière. “I’m just trying to shoot as much as I can and keep playing.”
The Oilers had a little more zip in the center frame. They were ultimately rewarded when Ryan McLeod redirected a stream from Tyler Benson to halve the lead with 6 minutes left.
Gérard Gallant then attacked his people for having spent too much time in their own zone. New York escaped the period with a lead, but the Oilers came on and outscored them 14-12.
Rangers seal deal
The Rangers followed Gallant’s instructions and did their best to keep the Oilers at bay. Of course, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were going to try their luck. However, when they did, Georgiev was big on goal and stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third period. This included a huge stop on McDavid with a flashing glove.
“I think a lot of credit should go to the defense, they paved the way for me to see the puck,” Georgiev said. “The big difference from last year is sacrificing so much to do the little things to win games.”
Although they only got five shots on goal in the last quarter, the Rangers scored twice.
First it was Chris Kreider 20th of the year on the power play at just 3:52 in. A deflection of an Adam Fox point shot passed Koskinen for a 3-1 lead.
The nail in the Oilers’ coffin came with a Fox chip all the way to Goodrow in the neutral zone. He fed Strome, who was chasing Lafrenière, but the pass took off a defender’s skate for a 4-1 lead and eventual final score.
“The last few nights have been a really good top-to-bottom effort,” Strome said. “The rink is buzzing. It’s a good feeling.
- Alexandar Georgiev stopped 33 of 34 shots
- Ryan Strome has been named the game’s first start with 1G, 2A
- Chris Kreider’s PPG gave him his 7th 20-goal season of his career
- Alexis Lafrenière finished with his 4th multi-point game of his career and a differential of +3
- Barclay Goodrow now has 3G and 2A in his last three games
- Zac Jones was solid again in 3:00 PM TOI, with 1 shot, 1 block and 2 hits
Tomorrow (Tuesday January 4): Travel day. No practice.
Next game: Thursday, Jan.6 at the Vegas Golden Knights (10 p.m. ET – TV: MSG 2, MSG +)
* Schedule subject to change
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