"I thought it was a pretty good game, an even game," said Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "Obviously, I think the difference was the two power plays in the second period. Overall, I thought we still stuck with it and had our chances but in the end, it came down to the two power-play goals."
The Rangers drew first blood at 12:19 of the first. On a rush, Kevin Hayes fed Rick Nash backdoor for the forward's fifth goal of the season. Mats Zuccarello also recorded an assist.
The Oilers tied the game courtesy of their most recent addition to the lineup. Edmonton recalled Jesse Puljujarvi from the American Hockey League on Friday, and the youngster fired home his first of the season at 16:26 of the opening frame.
Puljujarvi had a nice, complete shift leading up to the goal, in which he pressured the puck, then broke up a Rangers possession before eventually sniping the equalizer. Nugent-Hopkins and Darnell Nurse each recorded helpers.
Puljujarvi played arguably one of his best games in an Oilers uniform since being selected fourth overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. The big Finn was quick and generated some opportunities, finishing the game with five shots and two hits in 15-plus minutes of ice time.
"I felt good to come here," said Puljujarvi. "I tried to work hard and help the team, but we didn't win. That's not good."
At 10:06 of the second, Connor McDavid scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season, on the power play goal to put Edmonton up 2-1. Milan Lucic and Oscar Klefbom each got an assist as Edmonton scored their first power-play goal since November 3. They were a combined 0-for-6 in their previous three games.
The Rangers responded with a power-play goal of their own at 15:10 of the middle frame. Pavel Buchnevich buried a one-timer from the slot to make it a 2-2 game. The goal wiped clean a successful run for the Oilers penalty kill, which had killed eight consecutive penalties on this road trip leading up that score.
"In those first two games on the road, our penalty kill went perfect and tonight it cost us the game," said Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. "That's pretty much the difference in the game tonight, as opposed to the last two."
Nash scored his second of the game on his fourth shot at 18:53 of the second to give the home team a 3-2 lead. On the power play, Nash crashed to the net and buried a feed from Brady Skjei.
Those back-to-back power-play goals for the Rangers were all they'd need to give the Oilers their first loss of the road trip.
The Rangers got an empty-net insurance goal from Michael Grabner with less than two seconds to play, putting the finishing touches on the two-goal win.
The Oilers play the Capitals on the second half of a back-to-back Sunday evening in Washington D.C.