Who needs defense?
The New York Rangers were absolutely abused in their own end tonight, and were defeated 7-5 by the Edmonton Oilers tonight at Rexall Place. Defense was clearly optional tonight, and the Rangers left both Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Raanta out to dry on numerous occasions.
Coming off of a disappointing game in Vancouver a few nights ago, the Rangers looked to come out with a strong start in Edmonton. Unfortunately, an early penalty to Chris Kreider hindered that attempt, and sent the Rangers to their first penalty kill of the evening. A little over a minute into the kill, the Rangers got caught puck watching and Lauri Korpikoski took full advantage. Marc Staal lost his man coming back into the zone, which left Korpikoski wide open in front and allowed him to jam away at the rebound.
Following the early goal, the Rangers went back to work and eventually knotted this game up at 1-1 just six minutes later. Mats Zuccarello, who has been on quite a cold streak as of late, was credited with the goal and capped off a beautiful passing play. Dylan McIlrath started it all with a beautiful keep at the blue line, and shoveled a quick shot towards the net.
The puck wound up deflecting right to Zuccarello off of Kreider's stick, and Zuccarello ripped the puck past Anders Nilsson. The momentum after the tying goal would be short-lived, however, as the Oilers came right back down the ice and took a 2-1 lead just three minutes later. Korpikoski registered his second goal of the period, and once again, the Rangers left him all alone at the top of the crease.
Both Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were caught behind the net once again, and the Oilers found themselves on top once again. That would last into the first intermission, with the Rangers looking to respond after going down by two goals. Sure enough, the Rangers got two goals from Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard, which tied the game heading into the third period.
The second period was huge in terms of momentum for the Rangers, and thanks to a little poor goaltending, they were right back in the game. At least, they thought. Just two minutes in the final frame, the Oilers scored twice coming from Taylor Hall and Darnell Nurse, which put them back up by two. As if there weren't enough goals already, Brassard wound up scoring his second of the game a few moments later, with Nash following up with the tying goal at the 18:26 mark.
The Rangers gave us a false sense of hope after the tying goal, and just 12 seconds later, Taylor Hall put the Oilers back on top. They came right down after the ensuing faceoff, beat the Rangers to the puck, and Hall tapped the puck home on a beautiful feed from Leon Draisaitl. Lauri Korpikoski eventually capped off both the game and his hat trick bid to ice the game with 40 seconds remaining.
As time ran out, the Rangers went on to lose their second straight game of the road trip, and changes need to be made immediately. Those changes will need to be made rather quickly too, with the Rangers heading into Calgary tomorrow night for a meeting with the Flames.