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Rangers Put Five-Game Winning Streak on Line Against Oilers

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Rangers (8-7-2, 18 pts) vs Oilers (6-8-1, 13 pts)
1 pm, Madison Square Garden
MSG Network; ESPN 98.7 FM

The Game

The Rangers take their five-game winning streak into a matinee matchup with Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 4-2 victory over Boston Wednesday night at The Garden, a game that saw Jimmy Vesey net two goals in 29 seconds. Pavel Buchnevich and Rick Nash added goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves, as the Rangers have now picked up points in nine of their last 11 games.

Center Boo Nieves is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last three games with an illness. He'll slot back onto the fourth line between Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast, the spot Paul Carey held in Nieves' absence.

Coach Alain Vigneault confirmed no changes on defense, and Lundqvist is expected to start.

Like the Rangers, the Oilers have been playing better after a lackluster start to the season. Edmonton enters today's game with wins in three of its last four games, including back-to-back overtime victories against the Islanders and Devils to open their current four-game road trip.

Unsurprisingly, McDavid is leading the way with 18 points in 15 games, six ahead of Leon Draisaitl for the team lead. 

After being one of the more offensive teams in the NHL last season, Edmonton has struggled to score this season with just 35 goals in 15 games, which is an NHL-worst 2.33 goals per game.

Former Ranger Cam Talbot is 6-7-1 with a 2.90 GAA and a .912 SV% in 14 starts this season. Like his team, he has wins in three of his previous four games.

Players to Watch

There have been many bright spots during this winning streak, but possibly none brighter than Buchnevich's production. The second-year forward has been red-hot as of late with points in six of his last eight games, including four multi-point performances during that stretch.

McDavid, the reigning MVP, has points in seven of his last eight games, with 10 points during that span. Thus far, the 20-year-old has points in all but three of the 15 games he's appeared in this season.

Say what?

"I think we as players really appreciate the effort and the sacrifices they make. Especially as Americans, I think we take that and we really hold that dear and close to our hearts. When you have the opportunity to meet some of these gentlemen and women, they're really just outstanding people and standup citizens." - Kevin Shattenkirk after presenting LTC Richard Comitz with a Rangers jersey following Friday's practice.

Rangers Projected Lineup

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash - Kevin Hayes - Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey - David Desharnais - J.T. Miller
Michael Grabner - Boo Nieves - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Nick Holden
Brady Skjei - Kevin Shattenkirk
Marc Staal - Steven Kampfer

Henrik Lundqvist

Inside the Numbers

The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 10 of 14 games against the Oilers since the start of the 2005-06 season (8-4-2 record over the span). New York has earned at least one point in 11 of 14 home games against Edmonton since the start of the 1996-97 season (8-3-1-2 record).

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