EDMONTON, AB - Two shorthanded goals helped the New York Rangers mount a big lead and carry it to a 5-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
“They’re a good team and they have a lot to play for but we got a couple of bad bounces, a couple unfortunate goals and I think we just kind of went into a lull from there and never got out of it,” said Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry.
A few minutes after the penalty expired, the Oilers had one of their best scoring opportunities of the opening period. Sam Gagner threw the puck on net from the corner and Cam Talbot let loose a juicy rebound out in front to a waiting Jordan Eberle. The Oilers winger pulled the trigger on the shot but it went high over the crossbar and off the glass.
The Rangers drew first blood with 3:30 remaining in the first period. Anton Stralman fired a point shot on net and it was deflected in by Mats Zuccarello for the goal. Benoit Pouliot recorded the second assist.
4:38 into the second period the Oilers were two seconds away from killing off a penalty when Derick Brassard’s centring pass from the wall deflected off of Oilers defenceman Martin Marincin’s stick and took an odd angle towards the net. The puck snuck in past Scrivens as the Rangers took the 2-0 lead. Raphael Diaz and Zuccarello had the assists on the power play goal.
“We sure weren’t generating anything,” David Perron said. “I don’t think there was a minute in the game that we won. That’s pretty embarrassing to play in games like that and, like I said, we played 15 or 20 games with some pretty good hockey, everything was kind of clicking, guys were getting chemistry and we kind of changed the way we play. I don’t know why because it had been working and I don’t know. It would be easy to stand here and be really frustrated and snap but it’s obviously not the right thing to do.”
Nash would put the Rangers up 3-0 at 9:07 of the middle frame as he threw the puck on net from a steep angle. Derek Stepan recorded the lone assist.
“We were still preaching to the guys, let’s just get one on the board and see where this goes,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said of being down 3-0. Maybe something is going to bounce for us. Then our power play, that fourth (goal) was just an absolute disregard for danger. Just absolute disregard for it and it’s unacceptable and there’s two ways to go about it. I can leave all of our skilled guys on the bench, that play on the power play, and put out our other guys or they can get it together and understand danger. That fourth one is just unacceptable and it can’t happen.”
The fourth goal Eakins was talking about would come when Nash followed up his first goal up with a much better-angled shot, a shorthanded snipe at 13:26 of the second. Stepan had the helper.
Stepan set up Zuccarello in the slot for the second shorthanded goal of the game at 3:49 of the third to push the lead to 5-0.
The Oilers lead the league in shorthanded goals allowed this season with 13.
“We’ve just got to recognize danger and we’re not doing a good job of that right now,” Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz said. “We’re taking high quality chances and they’re taking them down and scoring on us every time. I don’t know why we do it, we’re all guilty of it and we’ve got to get better at that.”
With the loss, the Oilers have been shutout nine times this season.
“A lot of people are saying that we’re a team that can score goals but if you look at the goals for in the league, we’re not even in the top 15 I think,” Perron said. “We can’t cheat the play to make our plays and sometimes we’re guilty of that and that shows right away against teams that can play the right way.”