The New York Rangers have gone from an awful start to the hottest team in the NFL, using the man advantage to help them to a season-high sixth straight win on Saturday.
New York scored two second-period power-play goals en route to a 4-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers as the Rangers won their fifth straight at Madison Square Garden.
"We went out there tonight knowing that they are a penalty kill that is struggling," Kevin Shattenkirk said after he extended his point streak to seven games. "We just tried to expose them the best way that we could. We worked for each other to get in the spots that were open and made some good plays."
Rick Nash scored twice, Mats Zuccarello picked up two assists and Pavel Buchnevich had a goal for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves and Ryan McDonagh registered an assist in the fourth consecutive game.
Jesse Puljujarvi and Connor McDavid each scored as the Oilers fell to the Rangers for the fourth consecutive time.
Nash scored the eventual game winner when defenceman Brady Skjei found Nash darting toward the back post at 18:53 of the second period. McDonagh also assisted on the play.
'He made a great pass'
"We kind of talked about that play before the game and we knew there's going to be a chance it would be open," Nash said of his power-play goal. "Brady and I talked about it and he made a great pass. You just try to build a wall with your skates and your sticks and you hope it hits something. When you get a goalie like Cam [Talbot], we know him pretty well. He challenges hard. He leaves that backdoor play open."
New York jumped in front when Nash and Kevin Hayes completed an odd-man-rush at 12:19 of the first period. Nash extended his point streak to six games against the Oilers. Zuccarello also assisted on the play.
"I just look to see what stick the defenceman has, when it's a lefty on lefty, you just wait for him to move his stick," Hayes said of the two-on-one opportunity. "You just got to wait out the goalie, then make your decision from there."
Puljujarvi, playing in his first game of the season since being recalled Friday from the AHL, tied the game at 1 at 16:26 of the first period. Skjei and Buchnevich each had difficulty clearing the puck from the defensive zone and eventually Ryan Nugent-Hopkins controlled the loose puck. He delivered a soft backhanded pass to Puljujarvi before the wrist shot. Darnell Nurse also assisted on the play.
McDavid added a power-play goal in the middle frame, extending his point streak to three games. The 2017 Art Ross Trophy winner scored the game-winning goal and picked up the assist on the overtime winner in the Oilers' previous two games against the Islanders and Devils.
"They were able to get two quick ones on the power play," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "They do such a good job in the neutral zone of clogging things up that it's hard to come back against them."
Buchnevich scored for the third time in as many games when Shattenkirk delivered a cross-ice pass to set up the one-timer at 15:10 of the second period. Buchnevich leads the NHL in goals since Oct. 26 with seven.
Early turning point
Michael Grabner added an empty-netter with 1.4 seconds remaining.
Talbot made 30 saves for Edmonton.
After a disappointing 3-7-2 start, the Rangers can look to a third-period rally on Oct. 31 against the expansion Golden Knights as an early turning point in the season. New York trailed 4-2 at the end of the second period against the Golden Knights and scored four unanswered goals to kick off its winning streak.
"The things we want to do have stayed the same," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "There's no doubt that we're executing better. With that execution, it doesn't lead to costly mistakes and we've been able to build off that the last few games and play, for the most part, pretty good hockey."
There was a scary moment at 3:24 of the second period when Zach Kassian and Jimmy Vesey got tangled up. As both fell to the ground, Kassian's skate clipped Vesey in the mouth. Vesey returned with full cage to start third period.