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NEW YORK RANGERS (20-17-4) at
EDMONTON OILERS (17-21-4)
Start Time: 8:08 p.m. MST
Television: CBC (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Oilers/Rangers Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics After a four-game road trip, the Edmonton Oilers return home to open the second half of the season against the New York Rangers.
It’s been over six years since the Rangers last paid a visit to Edmonton. On January 2, 2002 the Oilers defeated New York by a score of 4-1. The last time these two teams met at all was almost two years ago on January 12, 2006. The Rangers prevailed 5-4 in overtime. Prior to the game, Mark Messier’s jersey was retired by New York.
Edmonton ended a six-game winless streak with an overtime victory Wednesday in St. Louis but fell 5-2 to Nashville the next night to finish their four-game road trip 1-2-1. Tonight’s game commences a five-game homestand in which the team needs to put together a string of wins if they want to get back in a playoff spot. LAST GAME: Predators 5, Oilers 2
The Rangers are currently in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but with only six points separating third from 13th there are no guarantees. Right now, they are tied with Boston for sixth spot.
New York has been playing better of late after a tough start to December but are still experiencing some hiccups. After a stretch during the month that saw them go 2-6-2, they won three straight before losing back-to-back games in Calgary and Vancouver on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. The Rangers look to salvage their three-game Western Canadian road swing this evening. Just The Facts...
Pre-Game Video... Comments from Moreau, Hemsky, Stortini & MacTavish. 700K Souray touches on various subjects including his shoulder injury. 700K Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game vs. NY Rangers: Zack Stortini
Pre-Game vs. NY Rangers: Ales Hemsky
Pre-Game vs. NY Rangers: Sheldon Souray
Pre-Game vs. NY Rangers: Ethan Moreau
Pre-Game vs. NY Rangers: Craig MacTavish
Listen to all (in order: Stortini, Hemsky, Souray, Moreau and MacTavish)
Souray & Hemsky back; Garon starting - Sheldon Souray is back tonight but the shoulder injury is something he's going to have to manage throughout the season. Also, Ales Hemsky is returning, Mathieu Garon is starting and Matt Greene is getting closer. ...more More News The Other Side Tonight's Game Preview from newyorkrangers.com - The Rangers conclude their three-game swing through Western Canada tonight, when they face the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. The Blueshirts will look to pick up two points against a struggling Oilers team that has had trouble winning at home. ...more Rangers prospects go for WJC medals - Four Rangers prospects will go after hardware in the gold- and bronze-medal games at the World Junior Championship on Saturday. First-rounders Alexei Cherepanov (left) of Russia and Bobby Sanguinetti of Team USA will face off for bronze. ...more From the Fans
Click here to read tonight's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. Odds and Ends
Getting to know your captain - Edmonton Oilers captain Ethan Moreau returned to action last week after a lengthy absence due to injury. Prior to him returning, we asked several of his long time teammates some questions to see how well they knew their captain. ...more A Day with Dustin - We take a look at what a typical gameday is like with Oilers winger Dustin Penner in this Molson Canadian Oilers Pay Per View feature. Follow the link to view the feature. ...more
From the Wire
A trip through western Canada and the absence of Brendan Shanahan have the New York Rangers stumbling again.
They hope to get their top goal scorer back Saturday when they visit the struggling Edmonton Oilers for the first time in just over six years.
The Rangers (20-17-4) opened this three-game trip with a 4-3 loss to Calgary on Wednesday before falling 3-0 to Vancouver the following night, dropping to 0-5-1 against Western Conference teams this season. The two defeats have come after New York finished December on a three-game winning streak to bounce back from a 2-6-2 stretch.
Shanahan missed his first game of the season Thursday with a stiff neck after scoring a goal in each of the previous three contests to give him a team-leading 15. It's uncertain if the 38-year-old left wing, who also leads the Rangers with seven power-play goals, will return Saturday.
"We need him healthy for the long haul," Rangers coach Tom Renney told the team's official Web site.
If Shanahan can't play, Petr Prucha could fill his spot again after returning from a two-game absence due to a bruised wrist Thursday. Prucha has just four goals in 2007-08 after scoring 52 in his first two NHL seasons.
He scored a goal and assisted on another in the last meeting with the Oilers, a 5-4 overtime win for New York at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 12, 2006.
The Rangers have won two of the last three matchups with Edmonton - all at home - and haven't visited Rexall Place since a 4-1 loss on Jan. 2, 2002. New York is 1-2-0 with two ties in its last five trips to Edmonton.
The Rangers are expected to have Henrik Lundqvist back in net after he was rested Thursday in favor of Stephen Valiquette. Lundqvist, though, has struggled of late, allowing four goals on 22 shots against the Flames to give him a 2-3-1 record and a 3.75 goals-against average in his last six games.
During that stretch, Lundqvist is 0-2-1 with a 4.91 GAA in three road games against West teams. He won his only career start against the Oilers, making 26 stops on Jan. 12, 2006.
Edmonton (17-21-4), which has the second-fewest points in the conference, is opening a five-game homestand. The Oilers are looking to rebound from a 5-2 loss at Nashville on Thursday, one night after halting a season-high six-game skid with a 3-2 overtime win at St. Louis.
"We just lacked any composure whatsoever," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said.
The Oilers have dropped five of their last six at home (1-4-1), including three in a row while only managing one goal in each game.
Edmonton's scoring issues could stem from Shawn Horcoff's recent lack of production. The team leader with 16 goals and 35 points, Horcoff has only one assist in the last eight games after registering seven goals and seven assists in the previous 10.
He has an assist in each of the last three games against the Rangers.