Recap: Rangers Overcome Oils, 5-4 (SO)

Despite being down by three after the first, the Rangers winning streak is now at seven.

After handily dispatching the Canucks to extend their win streak to six, the Rangers continued their Canadian tour with a matchup against the Oilers.

The one thing you absolutely don’t want to do against the Oilers is get into penalty trouble. The Rangers wasted no time doing so. Vincent Trocheck was called for goalie interference, and Edmonton’s league-best powerplay wasted little time in capitalizing. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set up Zach Hyman for a deflection in the crease, and though Igor Shesterkin made the initial save, the puck bounced back to Nugent-Hopkins and he backhanded it home. Connor McDavid was credited with the secondary assist, giving him his hundredth point of the season.

Later in the first, the Oilers blitzed the Rangers for two goals in 19 seconds. Tyson Barrie accounted for the first, finishing a sequence in which Edmonton pinned the Rangers’ fourth line in their own zone. Hey, can you do me a favor? When Jake Leschyshyn is on ice, keep your eyes on him for his entire shift. Then, if you haven’t given up on hockey as a concept, can you explain to me what he’s doing? I don’t know what he’s doing. Like, ever.

Anyway, Derek Ryan scored the second of the rapid-fire goals, against the Kid Line no less. The Rangers completely lost him defending the cycle and he had plenty of room to shoot.

The Rangers managed to stop the bleeding with a powerplay goal of their own. It was an absolute thing of beauty, a tic-tac-toe between Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider. All three forwards are riding point streaks, and the powerplay has looked much more dynamic recently. Somehow that was only Kreider’s fifth powerplay goal of the season.

Alas, the Oilers bookended the period with another PP goal, this time by Leon Draisaitl, who leads the league with 20 powerplay goals. The Rangers were down 4-1 after the first, and it felt like the game could get out of hand.

Early in the second, Alexis Lafrenière was called for a (weak) holding penalty, putting that dangerous Edmonton unit back to work. The Rangers flipped the script with a shorthanded goal by Chris Kreider. After McDavid flubbed a shot (I guess he his human), Adam Fox sprung a breaking Kreider with a stretch pass off the boards. Kreider’s ensuing pass deflected back to him, and he took advantage of the lucky bounce for his second goal of the game. Jimmy Vesey and Filip Chytil each had prime chances in the, but Campbell made two huge saves, including a header.

The deficit cut to two coming into the third, the Rangers rolled out and got to work. Kaapo Kakko found Lafrenière from behind the net, and Laf snapped home his ninth goal of the year. In the final ten, Mattias Janmark and Derek Ryan took penalties within 40 seconds of one another, giving the Rangers a 5-on-3. And, you know, the Rangers powerplay can be pretty dangerous too…

Zibanejad’s timely goal increased his goal streak to six and tied the game at four. With time remaining on the 5-on-4, Zib set up Chytil for a quick shot, but PP1’s newest skater rang the puck off the post. It was a thoroughly dominant third period for the Rangers, who allowed only two shots on goal.

And so, we headed to overtime. Both teams took some chances instead of just playing for possession, which was fun, but neither broke through. Nugent-Hopkins and Kakko each scored in the first round, while the next four innings were scoreless. Finally, the Rangers sixth shooter broke through:

Heck of a comeback for the Rangers. They struggled in the first, stopped the bleeding in the second, and took control in the third. Their star players keep producing, and even though he’s still adjusting, Tarasenko gives the lineup much more depth (though I’d still like it if someone could explain why Leschyshyn is here). Lafrenière’s scored some clutch goals lately, including the shootout winner. Lots of positives to take here.

The winners of seven in a row, the Blueshirts will be right back at it tomorrow against the Calgary Flames.