NEW YORK - On the strength of a goal and an assist from each of Benoit Pouiot and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and a 33-21 shot advantage, the Edmonton Oilers rolled to a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
"We played a real good road game," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "It goes a long way in the learning process for our guys. How to be comfortable in a game like that, how to be comfortable in the lead.
"It takes time to build a program, understand a program and get better. Our guys are getting it."
It didn’t take long for the Oilers to get on the board. Jordan Eberle spotted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in front of the net and RNH made no mistake, quickly netting it blocker side past Lundqvist to get Edmonton on the board just over three minutes in. Benoit Pouliot got the second assist.
"We need to find a way to be consistent out there game to game and period to period. I think we've done a better job of that lately," Nugent-Hopkins said after his two-point effort.
Past the midway point of the opening frame, the Oilers nearly made it a two-goal game. Eberle made a great pass from the corner onto Nugent-Hopkins' stick. He redirected it and Lundqvist had to be very sharp to scoop the puck up with his glove.
Two minutes later, Carl Hagelin peeled out from the corner before shooting the puck from the right circle. The puck deflected off Boyd Gordon's skate and in past Viktor Fasth to get the game on even terms at 1-1.
In the period’s final minute, Kevin Hayes took advantage of a turnover and cut in front of the net. Fasth had to make a good stop on the play to keep the game tied.
Shots on goal after 20 minutes were 11-8 for Edmonton.
34 seconds into period two, Jordan Eberle received two minutes for hooking to give the Rangers the game's first power play but the best chance on the man advantage went to the penalty killers. Matt Hendricks got a great opportunity to put the Oilers back in front after sneaking in behind the Rangers defence. Lundqvist was equal to the task, however.
Edmonton’s top line of Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle and Pouliot had a great game with many outstanding chances. They connected for their second goal on the night 8:29 into period two.
Off the end boards, Nugent-Hopkins spotted Pouliot speeding up the wing. He dished it over to the former Ranger who made no mistake, rifling the puck from the right circle for the goal and 2-1 lead.
"He's the best goalie I've played with," said Pouliot of former teammate Henrik Lundqvist, who he beat tonight for his second of the season. "It's tough to score on him practice. He got surprised on that one and it surprised me too."
The line continued to tear it up. Two minutes later, Lundqvist had to make a great stop on Schultz after a great pass from Pouliot while he was being hauled down by Marc Staal. No goal on the play, but Staal headed to the box, giving the Oilers their first man advantage of the night.
The goal was reviewed to ensure that it did not cross the goal line while in the glove of Lundqvist. Replays confirmed that was indeed the case. Oilers did not score on the PP.
Oilers headed back on the power play following a high-sticking penalty to Mats Zuccarello with 48 seconds left in the second.
Shots on goal after two periods were 24-14 for the Oilers.
Oilers power play came up empty but had several great looks and overall was very dangerous to start the period.
Chris Kreider took a shot on net before running into Fasth at full tilt. Kreider received two minutes for goaltender interference with over four minutes to play, putting the Oilers in a good position for victory. .
The Rangers looked to be headed on the power play after Ference cleared the puck out from his own zone but after collaboration it was ruled that the puck hit the top of the glass on its way out.
Nine seconds later, off the faceoff, Teddy Purcell skated down the ice to score on the empty net and seal the deal.