Lafreniere nets SO winner, Rangers top Oilers 5-4 to extend win streak to seven games
EDMONTON — The New York Rangers may have been down, but never appeared to be out.
Alexis Lafreniere scored the shootout winner and added a goal in regulation as the red-hot Rangers earned a 5-4 comeback victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. The Rangers trailed 4-1 after the first period, but remained confident in bouncing back.
“If you look at that first period, you might say that’s a horrendous first period going down 4-1," said forward Mika Zibanejad. "But I thought we did some good things and the way we created some chances was good, they were things that we’ve been talking about all year.
“We had to make sure we trust our way of playing, just being patient, there is 40 minutes left at that point and little by little getting back into the game and that’s what we did.”
Chris Kreider had a pair of goals and Zibanejad also scored for the Rangers (33-14-8), who have won seven straight and improved to 14-2-2 in their last 18 contests. Igor Shesterkin made 25 saves between regulation and overtime.
“I like the way we played," said Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant. "We were down 4-1 and I thought the game was far from over, we still have 40 minutes. It’s the NHL, it’s not like the game was going to be over and we battled hard and found a way.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tyson Barrie, Derek Ryan and Leon Draisaitl replied for the Oilers (30-19-7), who have lost three straight and dropped to 9-1-4 in their last 14 games.
Jack Campbell stopped 34-of-38 shots for Edmonton, which has also lost seven straight games that have gone to extra time.
“We had a clear understanding that the team that came in was one of the hottest in the league and they have a lot of skill on their team, and we knew they weren't going to surrender,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft.
“We were a little bit soft on the coverage on the third goal and then, you know, they scored on a 5-on-3. It was disappointing that we didn’t find the second point tonight.”
The Oilers got off to a terrific start, staking a 3-0 lead 12:30 into the first period.
On the power play, Zach Hyman sent a shot off the post and Nugent-Hopkins deposited his 27th of the season off a mad scramble in front of Shesterkin at 7:52.
With an assist on the play, Connor McDavid picked up his 100th point of the season in his 56th game. It's the sixth time in his career that he has hit triple digits in points. The only other active player with six 100-point seasons is Sidney Crosby.
At the 12:11 mark, a big rebound came out to Barrie who jumped into the play to score his eighth of the season.
Nineteen seconds later, Ryan beat Shesterkin with a glove-side snipe for his 10th of the year.
New York got one back just over a minute after on the power play as a crisp four-way passing play culminated in Kreider tapping one in past Campbell from the doorstep to extend his point streak to seven games.
Draisailt made it a 4-1 game at 18:27 when he rifled home his 32nd of the season on a feed from McDavid, who sent it in front to him.
The Rangers trimmed the deficit with a short-handed goal 6:26 into the second period when a Kreider pass attempt hit a skate and came back to him, and he scored his second of the game.
New York kept coming to start the third. Lafreniere snapped his ninth 1:36 into the frame after the puck was chipped in front to him.
The Rangers tied the game up on a two-man advantage with 6:50 remaining in the third as Zibanejad blasted his 30th from the slot, eventually sending the game to overtime.
McDavid became the 16th player in NHL history to hit 100 points in six seasons. Only five players — Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Marcel Dionne, Mike Bossy and Peter Stastny — have had seven seasons with 100 points. … The Oilers activated forward Kailer Yamamoto from long-term injury reserve, returning after a 12-game absence with an undisclosed injury. To make room for Yamamoto under the salary cap, the Oilers were forced to assign forward Dylan Holloway and defenceman Vincent Desharnais to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Friday and go with a 20-man roster. The move backfired however, when Klim Kostin came down with a pre-game illness, forcing Edmonton to play a man short … The only other Oiler out was defenceman Ryan Murray (back), while the Rangers were healthy for the game.
The Oilers make a quick one-game trip to Colorado to take on the Avalanche Sunday.
The Rangers play the Flames in Calgary on Saturday night to close out a four-game road trip.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2023.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press