The Rangers play their third game of the season, and first in a week, today against the Edmonton Oilers at MSG.
On what the Rangers have been working on this week, David Quinn said “just cleaning up some of the areas that we need to get better at from a D-zone perspective, breakout perspective, things like that. We want to make sure we are staying on top of the play with five-man gaps and just not getting distracted, being focused on doing your job and too often we play the what-if guy, instead of doing what we are supposed to do and what is in front of us, at times, we don’t do it because ‘what if this happens’ and you can’t play hockey that way, you have to play the play in front of you.” (NYR)
Greg McKegg steps into the Rangers lineup in place of the traded Vlad Namestnikov and Henrik Lundqvist will be in net.
The Oilers are 4-0-0 to start the season and have come from behind in each of their four wins.
- Connor McDavid has 3 goals and 7 assists
- Leon Draisaitl has 2 goals and 6 assists
- James Neal has 7 goals, including four that came earlier this week against the Islanders
On the Oilers, Quinn said “they have two of the better players in the league, well coached, good structure, their PP is on fire. They are a dangerous team. They haven’t always had the success the last few years but they’ve always been dangerous and this year is no different. They have some more depth with Neal, it’s going to be a challenge for sure.” (NYR)
Adam Rotter: Well the Rangers are actually playing again, which is nice, and when we last saw them Mika Zibanejad was capping off his second straight four-point game and bringing the Rangers to 2-0. This game though is more of an aberration on their schedule since after today they don’t play again until Thursday. Starting Thursday, with a back to back against the Devils and caps, the Rangers season will actually get going for real, but for now we just have today against the Oilers.
Edmonton has quick strike ability and more depth with James Neal so the Rangers defense will need to be structured and better than they have been in their first two games. A lot of the burden will be on Jacob Trouba and Brady Skjei as Trouba and Hajek likely face McDavid’s line and Skjei and Adam Fox likely starting against James Neal and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I wouldn’t be shocked if Marc Staal gets some time against either of those lines, possibly with Trouba, but that is likely something David Quinn and his staff will determine based on how the game is going. Up front the focus, as always, is on Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin but more is expected of the Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko line. With Edmonton’s defense questionable already, and then losing Adam Larsson, this might be a good spot for that line to break out.