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Under the Scope: Oilers at Rangers

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

With the Oilers looking to rebound after three consecutive losses on the marathon road trip, the opportunity to salvage a respectable record with a win Sunday would have been an excellent way to cap off the longest trip of the season.

Unfortunately for the Oilers, they now return home to Edmonton following an 8-2 loss to the Rangers, a 1-3-1 trip record (4-9-3 overall), and a 15th place standing in the NHL's Western Conference.

Marian Gaborik led the way for Rangers with a four-point afternoon, including a hat-trick that added some salt to the wound of the Oilers late in the third period. While goal-scoring was on display for the home side on this day, the Oilers depart from New York City with a bitter taste for another reason. Midway through the third period when the game was already out of reach, Sean Avery sucker-punched Ladislav Smid after he requested a fight. Smid's teammates came to his defence, engaging in Avery and others as a brawl erupted that resulted in multiple misconducts and a total of 52 minutes in penalties.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

After the Oilers set an early middle-frame tone with two goals in 28 seconds, the endeavour to hold the lead was short-lived. The Rangers responded with two quick goals of their own, only 25 seconds apart and a mere four minutes after the Oilers had established the 2-1 advantage. With the Rangers now in control of the scoreboard and momentum, New York tallied an additional pair of second period markers before skating into the intermission with a commanding 5-2 lead. Edmonton was unable to respond after the quick-strike Rangers attack that came shortly after their own.

52 As a result of today's third period brawl, a total of 52 penalty minutes were assessed to the Oilers and Rangers.
25 The Oilers have now allowed a total of 25 goals against in the past four games (all losses).
66 Aside from the third period fisticuffs, it was an incredibly physical game today. In total, 66 hits were dished out between the teams. Gilbert Brule led the way for the Oilers with five, while Rangers defenceman Marc Staal led his team with seven.
45 The Oilers were once again on the losing side of the faceoff battle today; only 45% of the draws were won by Edmonton, with Gilbert Brule and Colin Fraser marking team-best 50% efficiency rates.

Marian Gaborik
G A P +/- Shots
3 1 4 +5 4

Alex Frolov
G A P +/- Shots
2 2 4 +5 5

Erik Christensen
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 +5 0

Martin Biron
21 19 2 60:00 .905

Nikolai Khabibulin
31 23 8 60:00 .742

Marc Staal - D

26:18 - 0P, +1 rating

Ryan Whitney - D

24:26 - 1A, -1 rating

Today's Play of the Game also happened to be the most important for the Rangers. After the Oilers established a 2-1 lead, Marian Gaborik took a lengthly Erik Christensen pass as he snuck behind the Oilers' defence. All alone on the breakaway, Gaborik made a number of slick moves before depositing the puck behind a helpless Nikolai Khabibulin. Gaborik's breakaway goal was the first of four unanswered markers in the middle frame, as the Rangers grabbed hold of this mid-afternoon affair.

It would be an understatement to suggest Marian Gaborik enjoys playing the Oilers. Coming into today, the highly-skilled Slovakian had recorded an impressive 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 45 career games against Edmonton. Gaborik added to this numbers today, with a hat-trick performance and an additional assist to lead the Rangers to victory; his first goals of the 2010-11 season after missing the previous 12 games due to a shoulder injury.

Energy forward Ryan Jones continues to be one of the Oilers' most underrated performers. With some line shuffling taking place, Jones has been given additional responsibilities and increased ice-time as he takes on a more refined role. Jones had another strong outing today, as he recorded his fourth goal of the season, three shots on goal, two hits, and a blocked-shot. Overall, a successful individual afternoon for the fiesty forward

Third period fireworks were easy to come by. While Derek Boogaard and Steve MacIntyre fought twice early in the final frame, it wasn't he highlight of the penalty-filled period. At 11:18 of the third, a brawl erupted during a TV timeout that saw a total of 52 minutes in penalties assessed. It all began when Sean Avery sucker-punched Ladislav Smid. Shortly thereafter, the Oilers came to the defence of their teammate as the game quickly turned ugly.  Watch: Brawl on Broadway

The road trip began about as well as you could have hoped, but the final four games did not go according to plan. With today's 8-2 loss, Edmonton relinquished a total of 25 goals in the final four games; 7-1, 6-2, 4-3, and 8-2 losses respectively.

"I definitely made a little bit of a mistake and went a little wonky there, but we're a family and sometimes you just have to make a stand for yourself."

- Theo Peckham on his involvement in the third period brawl

Wednesday, November 17 vs. Chicago
  7:30 p.m. MT (Sportsnet Oilers / 630 CHED)

After beginning the road trip with such promise, the Oilers fell in four consecutive games to finish with a 1-3-1 trip record. Fortunately for the Oilers, the opportunity get back on the winning track comes against a Blackhawks team that they have already defeated twice this season. This time, the game goes back at home at Rexall Place as the Oilers begin a brief two-game homestand.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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