Oilers try to start new streak against Rangers
After seeing their four-game win streak snapped, the Edmonton Oilers will try to rebound against the visiting New York Rangers on Monday.
The Oilers' late-season push towards a Western Conference wild-card berth hit a snag on Saturday, when the team dropped a 3-2 result to Toronto. The defeat was just Edmonton's second regulation loss (6-2-1) in its last nine games.
Edmonton remains seven points behind Minnesota for the final Western playoff spot, plus Arizona, Colorado and Chicago are all ahead of the Oilers in the standings. There isn't much time left for the Oilers to gain ground, making Monday's game against the inconsistent New York Rangers a must-win situation.
New York (68 points) actually has more points than the Oilers (67), though the Rangers are 11 points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Since the playoffs aren't yet mathematically out of reach, however, the Rangers aren't ready to concede.
"We've got 14 games to go, and you can feel it in that locker room, winning feels way better than losing. Obviously, our situation is what it is, but we want to win hockey games," Rangers head coach David Quinn said.
Coming off a 4-2 victory over the Devils on Saturday, the Rangers are looking to win consecutive games for the first time since they notched three wins in a row from Jan. 15-19. Since that three-game streak, New York has only a 7-8-5 record.
Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves on Saturday, giving the goalie a .933 saye percentage over his last three games. Since Lundqvist has started New York's last two games, however, the Rangers could start backup Alexandar Georgiev against Edmonton, as part of the team's plan to give Georgiev a longer look going into next season.
The Rangers will be without rookie defenseman Libor Hajek on Monday, and potentially for the rest of the season. Hajek scored his first NHL goal on Saturday, but then suffered a separated shoulder later in the game.
Marc Staal could return to the New York lineup against the Oilers, after a lingering bout of the flu kept the veteran out of the Devils game.
Milan Lucic (undisclosed injury) and Mikko Koskinen (illness) were both scratched from the Oilers' game against Toronto, and could be questionable for Monday. Backup goalie Anthony Stolarz delivered a strong outing in Koskinen's absence, stopping 37 of 40 Maple Leafs shots.
Leon Draisaitl has 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) over his last 20 games, and is on a 13-game points streak. Connor McDavid has scored just twice in his last 13 games, though he also has 18 assists over that span to power an eight-game point streak of his own.
Despite the offensive heroics of their two stars, the Oilers' offense isn't firing on all cylinders. Edmonton has just four goals in its last 35 power-play chances, including an 0-for-4 showing with the extra attacker on Saturday.
"At this time of the year, you've got to be dialed in. Usually you don't get this many power plays, you maybe get one or two, but we had some opportunities today," Oscar Klefbom said.
The Oilers recorded a 2-1 win over the Rangers in their first meeting of the season on Oct. 13 in New York.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 10, 2019