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Oilers at Rangers preview

Edmonton aims for best start in 34 years; Zibanejad looks to stay hot for New York

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

OILERS (4-0-0) at RANGERS (2-0-0)

1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG, NHL.TV 

 

The Game

The Edmonton Oilers will try to improve to 5-0-0 for the first time since 1985-86 when they play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

The Oilers have won their first four games in a season for the first time since 2008-09, coming from behind in each game. 

Edmonton is the third team in NHL history to win the first four games of a season after trailing in each (1988-89 Los Angeles Kings, 2005-06 Nashville Predators). No team has done it in five straight games to start a season. 

The Rangers haven't played since defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1 at Canadian Tire Centre on Oct. 5. They haven't won three in a row to start a season since 2015-16.

 

Players to watch

Oilers forward James Neal has scored seven goals through four games, matching his total in 63 games with the Calgary Flames last season.

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (four goals, four assists) is the second player in team history to have eight points in the first two games of a season, joining Rod Gilbert, who had eight assists in the first two games of the 1976-77 season.

 

They said it

"There's lots of people that kind of wait around for bad stuff to happen to our team. Fans, media, whatever, people just kind of wait for bad stuff to happen. We've proved a couple people wrong early, but we have lots and lots of work left to do." -- Oilers center Connor McDavid

"It's definitely a better feeling to be 2-0 and have this long week and practice and being positive around the rink. It's never a bad thing." -- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on having played two games in the past nine days

 

Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian

Tomas Jurco -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- James Neal

Jujhar Khaira -- Riley Sheahan -- Josh Archibald

Alex Chiasson -- Gaetan Haas -- Markus Granlund

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Joel Persson

Kris Russell -- Matt Benning

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: Brandon Manning, Joakim Nygard

Injured: Adam Larsson (fractured right fibula)


 
Rangers projected lineup 

Artemi Panarin -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Chris Kreider -- Ryan Strome -- Kaapo Kakko

Brendan Lemieux -- Brett Howden -- Jesper Fast

Greg McKegg -- Lias Andersson -- Brendan Smith

Libor Hajek -- Jacob Trouba

Brady Skjei -- Adam Fox

Marc Staal -- Tony DeAngelo

Henrik Lundqvist

Alexandar Georgiev

Scratched: Micheal Haley

Injured: None

 

Status report

Draisaitl didn't practice Friday, but coach Dave Tippett said it was a maintenance day. … Archibald was activated off injured reserve and will be in the lineup. ... The Oilers placed forward Colby Cave on waivers Saturday with the purpose of assigning him to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League. ... McKegg will make his Rangers debut. 

 

Stat pack

McDavid and Draisaitl each has a four-game point streak to start the season. McDavid has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and Draisaitl has eight points (two goals, six assists). 

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