Rangers rally to beat Oilers, 5-3
NEW YORK — Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller and Michael Grabner have formed a very productive line this season and came through with another big night for the high-scoring New York Rangers.
Rick Nash scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:21 remaining to lead the Rangers to a 5-3 victory over the Western Conference-leading Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. Hayes had a goal and two assists, and Grabner and Miller each had a goal and an assist.
“We just bring a different element to the line, every one (of us),” Grabner said. “I think it’s been going pretty good and hopefully we can keep it up.”
Jesper Fast also scored for New York, which rallied from three one-goal deficits and won for the sixth time in seven games. Nick Holden had two assists and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21 shots.
The Rangers lead the NHL in scoring at 4.09 goals per game. The addition of Grabner, signed in the offseason, has played a big part as his line totaled seven points in this game and has combined for 14 goals and 15 assists on the season.
“Ever since that line was put together they’ve probably been our most productive line,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “A lot of it has to do with decision-making of the two other guys, but Grabs’ speed probably scares the opposition a little bit.
“They played a real strong game. I played them a good portion of the game against their top two lines and I thought they did a real good job for us all night long.”
On the go-ahead goal, Holden fired a shot from the point that was blocked by Edmonton’s Milan Lucic. Nash corralled the loose puck in front of the net and fired it past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot for his 399th goal. It gave the Rangers their first lead of the game.
Miller added an empty-netter 17 seconds later.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Patrick Maroon and Adam Larsson scored for the Oilers, who lost their third straight (0-2-1) after starting the season 7-1-0. Talbot made 26 saves in his first game against the Rangers since being traded to Edmonton on June 27, 2015
“Little things happened here and there, little breakdowns,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “They’re definitely a team that capitalizes on mistakes and we knew that coming in. We tried to limit those as much as we could. When there’s a breakdown, they take advantage of it.”
Larsson put the Oilers ahead 3-2 at 8:49 of the third with a slap shot from the point for his first goal of the season.
Fast tied it 42 seconds later as Brandon Pirri fired a shot from the point and Fast, streaking across in front, tipped it past Talbot for his first of the season.
The Oilers took a 2-1 lead just past midway through the second as Jesse Puljijarvi skated up the right side and toward the net, waited while New York defenseman Dan Girardi went sliding by on his back, and backhanded the puck to Maroon, who fired it past Lundqvist.
Grabner tied it with 4:14 left in the middle period with his sixth of the season. Hayes brought the puck up the right into the corner, dropped it to Miller, who sent it in front of the goal and Grabner fought off Larsson and sent a wrister past Talbot.
“In the first couple of periods we were kind of feeding their transition game, turning pucks over, and making mistakes,” Grabner said. “I think everyone on the ice and in the stands could see that, so it was nice to tie it up there.”
Nugent-Hopkins got the Oilers on the scoreboard first with his first of the season as Jordan Eberle’s centering pass from the left corner deflected off Connor McDavid’s skate to Nugent-Hopkins, who fired it in from the right side of the net at 6:36.
McDavid’s assist gave the Oilers’ 19-year-old captain at least a point against every NHL team he’s faced other than Carolina. He has yet to play Boston, Chicago, Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.
Hayes tied it about two minutes later as Grabner got the rebound of Brady Skjei’s point shot and sent a nifty pass across the front of the goal to Hayes, who fired it into the wide-open net.
NOTES: Edmonton’s Todd McLellan coached his 632nd game, moving past Terry Crisp for sole possession of 50th place on the NHL career list. Scotty Bowman tops the list with 2,141 games. ... Oilers LW Benoit Pouliot, who was on the Rangers’ 2013-14 Stanley Cup final team, played in his 495th career game. ... The teams conclude their season series Nov. 13 at Edmonton. ... Ryan McDonagh snapped an eight-game points streak, which was the longest by a Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch had a 14-game streak from Oct. 30-Dec. 1, 1996. It was also the longest assists streak since Leetch’s nine-game run Jan. 3-31, 1996.