Red-Hot Blueshirts Look to Fend off McDavid & Oilers

The Rangers host the Edmonton Oilers this afternoon coming off a solid 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins.

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Two quick first period goals by Jimmy Vesey propelled the Blueshirts to their fifth consecutive victory. The Beantown-born Vesey was at his “puck-sniffing” best in tracking down pucks through traffic to get his third and fourth goals on the season. In this recent run, the offense has come from varied sources. Not every team in the league has a Kucherov or an Ovechkin and the teams that enjoy success without that go-to-goal-scorer need contributions from a multitude of players. So, when it comes to goal scoring, as far as the Rangers are concerned, one-for-all and all-for-one has worked in the past and will be important moving forward for Ranger success to continue.

Connor McDavid and his Oilers mates visit Broadway for their first and only appearance of the regular season. Coming off back-to-back overtime wins driven by spectacular goals from McDavid and his partner in offensive crime, Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton is looking to continue to right their listing ship after a disappointing 6-8-1 beginning to their season.

Picked by many to come out of the Western Conference and vie for the Stanley Cup, Edmonton seems to be a tad slower than expected, vulnerable on the blueline and very top-heavy when it comes to their offense. McDavid, the 20-year-old Oiler captain is the league’s reigning MVP, scoring champion and Lester Pearson winner (an MVP voted by the players). When allowed open ice he is the most dangerous, albeit exciting player in today’s NHL.

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3 KEYS TO RANGERS-OILERS

1. Lundqvist

Down the stretch against the Bruins. Henrik was stalwart in defending his team’s one-goal lead. At this stage of his career he needs solid play in front of him to be ultimately successful but like all quality goaltenders, he has to make that all-important save. Like he did against Boston.

2. Neutral Zone

While firing on all cylinders the Oilers are a fast north-south team. The neutral zone will be an important area of the ice to control. Clogging up the middle of the ice will create the needed speed bumps when defending this area. With the puck, eliminating turnovers will go a long way to dominating the play in the neutral zone.

3. McDavid

In talking with a number of players yesterday after practice it became very clear that eliminating time and space will be the key to defending the electrifying game of Connor McDavid. The Rangers need to force him to play a small-ice game to minimalize the effects of this dynamic opponent.

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