Rangers: 3 keys to beating the Oilers

New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are once again back in action tonight where they will continue their west coast road trip against the Edmonton Oilers. The Rangers are undefeated so far throughout this trip, with back-to-back wins against the Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames.

The Oilers are a surprisingly disappointing team so far this season. They were projected to be a playoff contender, but have a record of 1-4-1 through six games- the second-worst record league-wide. The Rangers on the other hand are a strong 4-2-0, lead the Metropolitan Division, and are seventh in the NHL. As always, the Blueshirts have a good chance of stealing another victory. But there are still a few things that need to happen in order for the Blueshirts to come out on top.

1. The Rangers’ special teams continues to produce

The Rangers’ power play has been elite this season. Through six games played, the Rangers powerplay is currently at 30% and ranks sixth in the NHL. Chris Kreider is the king of the Blueshirts’ powerplay with three PPG on the year so far. Three other players have scored on the man advantage as well, including superstar defenseman Adam Fox. The Oilers possess elite offensive talent, so capitalizing on the powerplay will help New York’s chances of outscoring Edmonton.

On the other hand, the Rangers’ penalty kill has been mediocre so far. With a PK of exactly 80%, the Blueshirts rank 15th in the NHL. The Oiler’s PP ranks ninth league-wide, so the Blueshirts will certainly need to step up their game when finding themselves a man down.

2. Keep the momentum alive and don’t let the road games hinder the Rangers’ energy

The Rangers are heading into Edmonton with back-to-back victories, their first win streak of the 2023-24 season. The Blueshirts are looking to extend that streak to three tonight, but it will be no easy task. After beginning the year with back-to-back road games, and then now embarking on a massive five-game road trip is a difficult start. The Rangers do play well away from MSG, but the Blueshirts can’t let their travel fatigue get to them.

The Rangers will need to build upon the momentum from their last two games. Their victory against Seattle was quite dominant, but the same can not be said for Calgary. The final score may imply an elite Rangers performance, but the game was quite sloppy.

“That wasn’t the best game from us,” center Filip Chytil said. “We’re happy that we got the two points, but I think we set the bar a little higher than how we played tonight.”

Filip Chytil via Vince Mercogliano

In order for New York to extend their win streak to three, they’ll need to evaluate what helped them succeed and look to build upon it. Figure out what was holding them back, and eliminate it from their game.

3. The Rangers need to capitalize on the Oilers missing their number-one star

It was recently reported by TSN that Connor McDavid, the best player in the world, will be out for one to two weeks due to an upper-body injury. As unfortunate as it is to see a player miss time because of an injury, it’s undeniable that the Rangers’ chances of winning have increased drastically because of it.

McDavid has 18 points in 12 career games against the Blueshirts. Those numbers would have surely gone up had he planned to suit up tonight, but it seems the Blueshirts may have dodged a bullet. The Oilers still possess elite offensive talent such as Leon Draisaitl, but the Rangers should hopefully be able to outscore the McDavid-less Oilers.