recorded a goal and an assist, while Nikolai Khabibulin
stopped 19 shots as the Oilers blanked the Rangers 2-0 Saturday night at Rexall Place.
Khabibulin improves his record to 2-0-2 with the win, as well as establishing league-best numbers with a 0.72 goals-against average and .969 save percentage.
The game's best chance came nearly six minutes in when the normally sure-handed Ryan Whitney
coughed up the puck to a streaking Ruslan Fedotenko in the slot. Nikolai Khabibulin
, who was out of his crease handling the puck behind his cage, scampered back and made a sliding stop to preserve the scoreless tie.
As the period's 10-minute mark passed, the Oilers had gained a 5-2 shot advantage and were able to responded with a scoring chance of their own. Anton Lander
sprung Ben Eager
with a well-placed neutral zone pass, allowing No. 55 to skate in one-on-one with Rangers 'tender Henrik Lundqvist; the quick, on-the-ice shot was denied, however.
At 10:31, the Oilers were granted the game's first power-play when Marian Gaborik was assessed a tripping minor, hauling lumbering rearguard Andy Sutton
to the ice behind the home side's net.
A quick, behind-the-back pass by Ryan Smyth
set up the snake-bit Magnus Paajarvi
with what appeared to be a tap in but, with a moment's hesitation, No. 91 corralled the disc, allowing Lundqvist to slide over and rob the winger with an amazing sliding denial.
The Oilers opened up an 11-4 shot lead through 20 minutes, but were unable to cash on King Henrik.
1:47 into the period, Sutton picked up a holding minor, putting the Rangers on the power-play in search of a goal. Sutton also dropped the mitts with New York's Brandon Prust on the play, but the short-lived scrap lacked 'punch.' The ensuing man-advantage passed without incident and the 0-0 game continued.
On the Oilers' 15th shot at 10:09, the home side broke the ice. Taylor Hall
burst down the wing on a partial 3-on-1 chance. He dropped the puck back into the slot where Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
scooped it, making a quick shot blocker-side on Lundqvist for the 1-0 goal.
The 4-93-14 connection continued to produce, peppering the Rangers netminder with several high-quality chances moments later, but were unable to extend the lead. In the process, mind you, the Oilers' commanding shot lead had opened to a 19-9 advantage.
With 4:12 to play, the Oilers were charged with too many men, sending the Rangers to their second power-play opportunity. That man-advantage was pushed to a 58-second 5-on-3 when Corey Potter
was issued a hooking minor.
The Rangers could only register a single shot, while the two-minute advantage's best chance came from the Oilers, shorthanded; out of the box, Taylor Hall
was sprung on a breakaway, but his backhand attempt denied.
A slashing minor to New York's Kris Newbury at 19:59 of the second put the Oilers on their second power-play to open the period. The Oilers' red-hot, 15th ranked PP was unable to snatch an insurance marker.
Just as quickly, another call to the Rangers presented the Oilers with a chance to extend the lead when Mike Rupp was charged with hooking. Edmonton's power-play, operating at a 16-percent clip, made good this around around. Nugent-Hopkins delivered the puck to Corey Potter
at the point, who stepped into a bullet that eluded the Rangers netminder up top, glove-side.
With a 2-0 lead now in possession, the Oilers went back to the PK when Andy Sutton
was called for hooking at 4:18. Nikolai Khabibulin
came up big, stoning Marian Gabork on a breakaway to preserve his club's lead.
Pitching 22 saves on the Oilers' 24 shots, Lundqvist vacated the Rangers goal and headed to the locker room near the nine-minute mark. Martin Biron, No. 43, assumed duty between the pipes in his place.
An interference minor to Hall with only 2:39 on the clock put the Rangers back on the power-play looking to dent the Oilers' 2-0 advantage. Biron was also pulled with 2:05 remaining, establishing a lengthy two-man visiting advantage.
As the Oilers looked to score in the vacated net, New York's Brandon Dubinsky took a hooking minor to cut the Rangers' advantage. In doing so, the remaining seconds elapsed as the Oilers secured a 2-0 shutout win.
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