NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 6th (All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (19-33-6) at New York Rangers (31-23-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The red-hot New York Rangers will try to extend their longest winning streak of the season to five games when they host the Edmonton Oilers in Thursday's battle at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers have earned four straight victories and the current winning streak gives New York wins in seven of nine and 10 of its past 13 games. The Blueshirts have won three of the four tilts during their recent hot streak by three or more goals and are outscoring the opposition by an 18-6 margin during that span.
New York hasn't won five in a row since the 2011-12 season when it went 5-0 from Dec. 30-Jan. 10 of that campaign.
Despite their recent hot play, the second-place Rangers still find themselves 17 points behind Pittsburgh for the Metropolitan Division lead. New York is three points in front of Columbus for the division's second spot and also three clear of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Ryan Callahan played a standout role for the Rangers in their most recent win, as the team captain shook off recent trade rumors to score a pair of first- period goals that set the tone in Tuesday's 5-1 home rout of the Colorado Avalanche.
Callahan, mentioned as a possible candidate to be moved prior to the upcoming trade deadline due to his unrestricted free agent status at season's end, also added an assist on Brad Richards' late tally to help the Rangers record their longest win streak of the season.
Richards and Derick Brassard each posted a goal and assist and Anton Stralman also lit the lamp for New York. Henrik Lundqvist did his part as well between the pipes, turning back 27-of-28 shots in the triumph.
"We had a real strong start," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault remarked. "Obviously we were meeting a team that was tired and we were fresh. It was their third game in four nights, but we came out the way I thought we needed to come out and that was a determining factor tonight."
The Rangers, who are 14-13-3 at MSG this season, will try to complete a three- game homestand tonight with a perfect record. New York will play its final tilt before the Olympic break Friday night in Pittsburgh.
The Oilers, who currently are in last place in the West, have won four of their last five games and recently posted a 3-2 regulation decision in Buffalo.
After losing 4-0 in Boston on Saturday to begin its four-game road trip, a swing that will carry the club into the Olympic break, the Oilers bounced back with Monday's win over the Sabres. Matt Hendricks scored the winner in the third period to help Edmonton edge Buffalo at First Niagara Center.
Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz also scored for the Oilers, while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 42 shots in the win.
"He played great because we put him behind the eight ball a lot with all the penalties we took and shots we gave up," said Schultz of Bryzgalov. "He really came up big several times tonight."
The Oilers went 0-for-5 on the power play, but killed off five of Buffalo's six chances with the extra man.
Ben Scrivens is expected to be back between the pipes for the Oilers on Thursday. Scrivens is 2-3-0 with a 2.21 goals against average and .944 save percentage in five games with Edmonton since coming over last month in a trade with Los Angeles. The 27-year-old netminder set an NHL record for saves in a regular-season shutout with 59 stops in a 3-0 win over San Jose on Jan. 29, but he yielded four goals on 41 shots in Saturday's setback in Boston.
Edmonton improved to 9-19-4 as the visiting team this season. The Oilers will close their pre-Olympic schedule with Friday's game in New Jersey.
The Oilers have won three of the last five meetings in the series with the Rangers overall, but New York has taken two of three and six of the last eight encounters in the Big Apple. The last time Edmonton visited MSG was on Nov. 14, 2010, when the Rangers picked up a victory with an 8-2 rout.
02/06 10:58:50 ET