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RECAP: Oilers 7, Rangers 5

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB– Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl’s four-point nights, along with Lauri Korpikoski’s hat trick, helped the Oilers outlast the New York Rangers in a 7-5 offensive battle.

“It was kind of an ode to the way they played back in the day,” said Hall. “You never expect a 7-5 game when you’re playing New York, but we have a lot of offensive weapons on our team. Guys like Drait and Teddy make me look really good, so it was just fun playing with them.”

Glen Sather’s Oilers teams of the 1980s dominated offensively and it was fitting that on this night, in which his name was lifted into the rafters to join the existing banners at Rexall Place, offence was plentiful.

In a pre-game ceremony, the Oilers honoured their former coach and general manager. In the first period, the Oilers got out to a fast start against Sather’s current club.

Korpikoski put Edmonton up 1-0 at 6:35 of the first on the power play. The Oilers forward kept attacking the puck, eventually sliding it underneath Henrik Lundqvist. Korpikoski’s fourth goal of the season was assisted by Iiro Pakarinen and Mark Letestu.

“It was a fun night, for sure,” said Korpikoski. “It kind of reminded (people) of one of those 80s games. It was high scoring. The pucks just seemed to kind of follow me tonight. Everything was going in. I’m happy for getting the goals.”

Mats Zuccarello drew the Rangers even when his shot went through the legs of Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson at 12:16 of the first. Chris Kreider and Dylan McIlrath recorded the assists.

Edmonton then potted two more goals to close out the first period with a 3-1 lead.

Korpikoski netted his second of the night at 15:47 of the opening frame. Matt Hendricks’ wraparound attempt was pushed out in front and Korpikoski roofed a shot past Lundqvist. Justin Schultz had the second assist.

That score marked Korpikoski’s first multi-goal game since February 1, 2015 against the Montreal Canadiens when he played for Arizona.

Then, Leon Draisaitl passed the puck across the ice to Taylor Hall, who set up Teddy Purcell in the slot for his sixth of the season. The goal, at 16:57, gave Edmonton their first multi-goal lead of the night.

Both Hall and Draisaitl extended their point streaks to four games with their assists.

Kreider walked right up the middle 53 seconds into the middle frame and scored to make it a 3-2 game. Zuccarello and Lundqvist recorded the assists.

At 8:44 of the second, the Rangers got the equalizer. Derick Brassard zipped a long-range shot on net and it flew past Nilsson to make it 3-3.

The Oilers jumped back in front just 18 seconds into the third period. Lundqvist flipped a rebound right to Taylor Hall alone in the slot and he potted a backhand for his fourth goal in as many games. Purcell recorded an assist on the goal after he originally shot the puck on the goaltender.

Darnell Nurse made it 5-3 at 2:40 of the final regulation frame, when Hall sauced a pass to the defenceman alone in front and he went five-hole on Lundqvist. That goal chased Lundqvist, as he was pulled in favour of Antti Raanta. Draisaitl recorded a second assist on the goal.

The Rangers, once again, made it a one-goal game when Brassard swiped in a loose puck that hit off the post behind Nilsson.

“At the end of the night, we’re better defensively than that,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I liked the fact we were resilient and we scored. We chased a real good goaltender. There were a lot of good things there, but from the crease to the D to the forwards and through the coaching staff, we are better defensively than that tonight. We’ll have to fix some things.”

A late power play allowed the Rangers to tie the game. Rick Nash buried the equalizer at 18:14 of the third.

The Oilers came right back down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush and Hall ’s shot trickled past Raanta. Draisaitl set him up, as the two of them made it four points each on the night. Purcell’s assist gave him three points for the game.

Korpikoski put the exclamation point on the win with his hat trick sealing empty-net goal.

“The first thing on your mind is just get the win here,” said Korpikoski. “It was kind of one of those games where you didn’t know what was going to happen the next shift. Goals, goals, goal after goal. I just shot it as hard as I could to the middle of the ice, just to get it off my tape. It ended up going in. I think I was pretty lucky there to be honest.”

The 7-5 victory gave Edmonton their fifth straight win, sixth straight at home.
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