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Rangers at Oilers preview

Nugent-Hopkins back in lineup for Edmonton; New York seeks sweep of western Canada trip

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

RANGERS (29-30-6) AT OILERS (27-33-4)

10:30 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN1, MSG, NHL.TV


The Game

Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup when they host the New York Rangers at Rogers Place on Saturday. 

Nugent-Hopkins missed 18 games with cracked ribs after a check from Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb on Jan. 13. Nugent-Hopkins has 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in 46 games for the Oilers this season.

Edmonton, which has lost two straight after going 4-1-0 in its previous five games, is 18 points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. 

The Rangers, winners of two straight after a six-game losing streak, are looking for a sweep of a three-game road trip through western Canada; New York won 6-5 at the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and won 3-1 at the Calgary Flames on Friday.

The Rangers are five points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. 


Players to watch

Rangers backup goaltender Alexander Georgiev will make his third NHL start; he's 0-2-0 with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. 

Oilers center Connor McDavid has six points (two goals, four assists) in a three-game point streak, and 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in his past 16 games.


They said it

"In some of the games we've been outshot, but I think most of those shots are coming from the outside. That's not the worst thing." -- Rangers center Ryan Spooner after a 3-1 win at the Calgary Flames on Friday 

"I guy like that, that's been in the league for this long and is such a good two-way guy, he's definitely going to come in here and be an important piece and be a guy that is going to play a lot." -- Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira on center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Jimmy Vesey -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Mats Zuccarello

Ryan Spooner -- Kevin Hayes -- Jesper Fast

Paul Carey -- Peter Holland -- Cody McLeod

Brady Skjei -- Neal Pionk

Marc Staal -- Rob O'Gara

John Gilmour -- Tony DeAngelo

Alexandar Georgiev

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: David Desharnais

Injured: Ondrej Pavelec (knee), Kevin Shattenkirk (knee), Steven Kampfer (hand)


Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Michael Cammalleri - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Pontus Aberg

Jesse Puljujarvi -- Ryan Strome -- Anton Slepyshev

Iiro Pakarinen -- Jujhar Khaira -- Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse -- Kris Russell

Andrej Sekera -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Al Montoya

Scratched: Yohann Auvitu, Drake Caggiula

Injured: Adam Larsson (personal)


Status report

Lundqvist will sit in the second game of a back-to-back after becoming the first goaltender in Rangers history to win consecutive games with 50 saves in each. … Larsson is away at his father's funeral in Sweden. 


Stat pack

Hayes has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in his past 11 games … Spooner has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his first three games with the Rangers after being traded from the Boston Bruins last Sunday.

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