McDavid, Draisaitl help unbeaten Oilers defeat Rangers
Connor McDavid scored the tiebreaking goal and Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist, all in the third period, and the Edmonton Oilers beat the New York Rangers 4-1 Saturday for their season-opening fifth straight win.
Oscar Klefbom had a goal and an assist, McDavid also had an assist, and Mike Smith stopped 20 shots to help Edmonton complete a sweep of the New York area teams. The Oilers beat the Islanders 4-1 on Tuesday night, and then edged New Jersey 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night.
Edmonton, 5-0-0 for the first time in 34 years, became the first team in NHL history to win its first five games after trailing in each.
Rookie Kaapo Kakko had his first NHL goal for the Rangers, who had won their first two games but were playing for the first time in a week. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 23 saves.
With the score 1-1, Lundqvist made several nice saves early in the third to keep the score tied, and Edmonton’s Matt Benning hit a goalpost at 5:15. New York’s Artemi Panarin was stopped by Smith on a wide-open try from the left side 70 seconds later.
Edmonton then took the lead when McDavid was credited with a power-play goal at 9:44. His pass for Neal in front deflected off Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba’s leg and past Lundqvist. It was McDavid’s fourth of the season.
Draisaitl made it 3-1, knocking in a loose puck in front of Lundqvist with 6:42 left. Lundqvist appeared to believe he had smothered the puck, but officials didn’t blow a whistle, and Draisaitl kept whacking at the puck.
The Rangers pulled Lundqvist for an extra skater, but Draisaitl got an empty-netter, his fourth goal of the season, with 15 seconds left to seal the win.
Trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes, the Oilers picked up their intensity in the second period. Draisaitl hit a goalpost 27 seconds into the period, and Edmonton had a goal waved off because Zack Kassian skated into Lundqvist in the crease.
Lundqvist made a sprawling save diving to his left to deny Alex Chiasson’s tip try on a 2-on-1 about 4 1/2 minutes into the period to preserve the Rangers’ lead.
However, Klefbom tied it at 6:45 as he got the puck off faceoff, skated to his right and fired a shot from the center of the blue line through traffic that beat Lundqvist for his first of the season.
Smith stopped slap shots by Panarin and Trouba about 90 seconds apart around the midpoint of the second, and one by Brady Skjei with just under 5 minutes left to keep the score tied.
Lundqvist was caught out of position up out of his crease when the puck deflected to Neal in front, but the goalie made a diving save with his glove.
The Rangers had a 5-on-3 advantage for about 40 seconds in the first period, but Smith denied Buchnevich from the middle nearly 7 minutes in. He then stopped Brendan Lemieux’s tip 1:36 later, and the Rangers’ Brendan Smith hit the crossbar just past the midpoint of the period.
Kakko, the second overall pick in June’s NHL draft, gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 1:32 left in the first. On a give-and-go with Ryan Strome on an odd-man rush, Kakko got the puck back and went forehand to backhand and lifted the puck over a sprawled Smith for his first.
Greg McKegg, signed to a one-year deal in the offseason, made his Rangers debut. McKegg was a healthy scratch the first two games but slotted into the open spot on the fourth line following the trade of Vladislav Namestnikov to Ottawa this week. ... The teams conclude the season series at Edmonton on Dec. 31. The Oilers have won three straight meetings after losing the previous five. ... Neal was held off the scoresheet after he had seven goals in the previous three games.
Oilers: At Chicago on Monday to complete a four-game trip.
Rangers: At New Jersey on Thursday night.
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