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Rangers Vs. Oilers: Oh Skjei Can You See

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Notes from the Rangers win over the Oilers.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

- This is a game where you really do need to blend the advanced stats with the eye test. In possession the Rangers were out-shot 37-26 which on the surface isn't very good at all. But the Oilers only saw a 16-12 edge in scoring chances and 7-6 in high-danger scoring chances. Most of those numbers got tilted a little with the Rangers sitting back in the third to protect the lead (which I hate).

- I really don't think Henrik Lundqvist had to work all that hard in this win, and the Rangers as whole only allowed 20 shots on net. That includes having Brady Skjei and Dylan McIlrath playing nearly 15 and 19 minutes respectively. Against a team like the Oilers -- who do have some offensive punch, no -- coming off six straight wins? That's an impressive figure.

- May as well start with Skjei, right? Plays in his first NHL game and instantly makes an impact. Did he look out of place at all? All in he was a -11 in corsi (worst on the team) although he was only a -4 in scoring chances. Saw 50% zone starts and actually played some of his best hockey on the penalty kill (where he saw 2:15). He did some fantastic work against the better players on Edmonton for most of the night, had a horrific turnover that led to a huge goal against and bounced right back without missing a beat. If Rick Nash scores on that brilliant breakout pass to spring him for a breakaway he would have had his first NHL point, too. You're telling me this kid can't make the Rangers better right now? That was his FIRST NHL game. First. Only up from here.

- Hat tip to Alain Vigneault, by the way, for giving Skjei a chance to turn things around after the turnover. And he responded.

- Then there's McIlrath who is making me look like an idiot for thinking the Rangers should have traded him while he had value this summer. I defended him for all those years, then stopped at the last minute and now he's punishing me for it. McIlrath, remember, lost an entire year to a knee injury (remember Kyle Jean, anyone?) and also keep in mind big defensemen take a little longer to develop anyway. He scored his first NHL goal on a rocket of a shot (seriously, Dylan that puck had a family) and played nearly 19 minutes. He shouldn't sit the rest of the year.

- McIlrath, it should be noted, was a -10 in corsi and a -5 in scoring chances. Because of the way the game shook out -- I really didn't see a slew of defensive breakdowns -- I'm not totally concerned with the negative corsi for both of them. For what it's worth Mats Zuccarello was a  -8 and Dan Boyle was a -7 and I thought both of them played well.

- Zuccarello's slump seems done, no? Three goals in as many games.

- Rick Nash scored an enormous goal to respond to the Skjei turnover/goal against with a gritty crease crashing tally. Then people make jokes about how Nash never does that anymore and how he's useless ... Allllllllllllrighty then. He also had an assist and now has six points in his last five games. But nothing he ever does will be good enough, so, yeah.

- Speaking of never will be good enough: Keith Yandle had two assists and now has 16 on the year. He's on pace for a 40-assist season which would be the first time a Rangers defenseman has done that since Brian Leetch. And, well, people still hate him because he doesn't score even though he's never scored at a huge clip in his career. I though Yandle was great. Again. He's been the Rangers best defenseman this year. Yes, even over Ryan McDonagh and it's not even close.

- Jesper Fast is the only Ranger not afraid of their mortal enemy: the empty net.

- The Dan Girardi effect is real. McDonagh was a +4 in shot differential and a +1 in scoring chances. His defensive partner, Marc Staal, was a +2 in shot differential and even in scoring chances. It was one of Staal's better games in a long time and McDonagh flourished a little with the defensive partner upgrade. I also loved the McIlrath - Yandle pairing and didn't mind Skjei - Boyle, either.

Not the prettiest game but a win the Rangers badly needed. Thoughts?