For the Blueshirts, this post-deadline winning streak must feel like a liberation.
After a month of wondering who would be traded and when, the Rangers can now be clear-minded for the rest of the season.
And what a difference that makes!
In their two post-deadline victories, the Blueshirts have played free and easy. And have generally looked more relaxed.
Of course, it is just a two-game winning-streak. And it’s likely too late to save their season.
But if there’s one thing that’s certain in hockey; it’s that anything can happen.
And the Rangers are hoping for some late-season magic as they take on the Oilers in a battle of two of the NHL’s most disappointing teams this season.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
Blueshirts Team President Glen Sather served as the Oilers Head Coach, General Manager and Team President for various parts of the 1980s. He even suited up as a player for Edmonton when the club was part of the WHA.
David Desharnais played part of last season for the Oilers.
Cam Talbot was the Rangers backup netminder from 2013-2015.
Mats Zuccarello: The scrappy winger is four goals away from 100 in his NHL career.
Mika Zibanejad: The Rangers’ top-line center is four goals away from 100 in his NHL career.
Kevin Hayes: The Blueshirts’ do-it-all-center is four assists shy of 100 in his NHL career.
Alain Vigneault: The well respected Head Coach’s next game is his 1,200th game behind the bench.
Henrik Lundqvist: The future Hall-of-Fame goaltender is closing in on another career milestone; he’s three appearances away from 800.
Pavel Buchnevich: The Russian-winger is closing in on the century mark for games played; he’s two away.
PLAYER TO WATCH
OILERS: CONNOR MCDAVID. The Oilers’ captain is having his typically stellar campaign with 29 goals and 77 points. With 11 points in his last seven games, McDavid is doing everything he can to end the season on a high-note, even though the Oilers are assured to miss the playoffs.
RANGERS: ALEXANDAR GEORGIEV. The rookie Russian-netminder has yet to pick up a win in two NHL starts. But that’s not for lack of trying. Georgiev followed a 40+ save debut with a 30+ save performance. With a little more luck — not to mention better defense in front of him — he’d be undefeated rather than winless. Perhaps this is the game where he gets his first “W.”
Head Coach Alain Vigneault has few movable pieces the way the roster is presently constructed.
So expect the same lineup against Edmonton that just played in Calgary; except for one change — Alexandar Georgiev is in net.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on MSG Networks at 10:30 pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.
Back-to-backs are neither fun nor easy.
But the Blueshirts have been one of the best teams in the NHL over the last few years at winning the second game of such sets.
The only thing that’s certain is anything can happen during the NHL’s home stretch.