Rangers and Oilers could be primed for high-scoring affair
The New York Rangers are firing on all cylinders offensively with no player hotter than Artemi Panarin.
In the team’s 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, it marked their third straight game registering six goals. For Panarin, he has 6 goals and 8 points in his last two games and is riding a six-game points streak (6 goals, 6 assists).
“He says he’s a passer but I think he can score too,” Mika Zibanejad said with a smile. “That’s a good thing.”
On Friday night, the Rangers will take on the high-flying Edmonton Oilers who boast Connor McDavid and his 99 points in 55 games this season. They also lead the entire NHL in Goals For with 205, so the official scorers better sharpen their pencils for a busy evening.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (32-14-8) vs. Edmonton Oilers (30-19-6)
Date/Time: February 17, 2023 at 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Rogers Place
Radio: ESPN 98.7
Red-Hot Rangers take on Oilers
The Rangers have won six game in a row but are also riding an eight-game points streak (7-0-1) coming into action in Alberta. Meanwhile, the Oilers had an eleven-game points streak (9-0-2) snapped last Sunday and looking to get back on track after also suffering a shootout loss on Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings.
“Points are huge this time of year,” Gerard Gallant said. “when you look at the standings everyday in our division there are real good teams. You just have to keep battling and we’ve got a couple of teams in front of us and trying to catch them.”
The Rangers enter today with 72 points, 3 behind the second-place New Jersey Devils, who lost to the St. Louis Blues yesterday. If the Rangers can eventually jump the Devils, it will ensure home-ice advantage in round one of the playoffs.
In order to do so, New York will need to tighten things up defensively as they’ve allowed 3 goals or more in four of their last five contests. However, in their last eight games they’ve outscored opponents by a +17 margin (39-22) to overshadow that concern.
With the team playing their first of a back-to-back set concluding in Calgary on Saturday, the goalies will split the weekend. Expected to go tonight is Igor Shesterkin, who has struggled due to a lack of playing time since the All-Star Break.
Despite winning three straight since the All-Star game, Shesterkin’s GAA is 3.33 with a subpar .880 save percentage.
“We had the All-Star break and a lot of time off,” Gallant noted. “Goalies like to stay in a rhythm. You know he wouldn’t be happy with his game but the whole team isn’t as sharp as we usually are.”
This should be an exciting matchup and one that the Blueshirts would probably like a little payback. When the these two teams squared off back on November 26, the Oilers scored four goals in the third period on Shesterkin to overcome a 3-0 deficit for a win.
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