Rangers stifle Oilers to take top spot in NHL standings

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Add one more high-scoring team under the Rangers’ win column.

With a handful of lineup staples making their return from COVID-19 protocol, the Blueshirts contained the Oilers for 60 minutes and took a convincing 4-1 victory at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. The win was the Rangers’ third in a row and tied them for the most points in the league as they gear up for their longest road trip of the season.

Ryan Strome led the Rangers with three points, assisting on the first two goals before his centering pass in the third period ricocheted off Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie’s skate and in for the 4-1 score at 14:11. It was Strome’s first three-point night of the season and the 11th of his career.

Ryan Lindgren returned to the Rangers lineup and registered a secondary assist in his first game back after missing the previous three due to COVID-19 protocols. Reunited with Adam Fox on the blue line, Lindgren also posted two shots, three hits and a blocked shot in 16:22.

Rookie defenseman Nils Lundkvist was edged out by Zac Jones, who drew into the lineup for the second game in a row after making his season debut against the Lightning on Sunday. This time Jones forged the third defensive pairing with Libor Hajek instead of Lundkvist.

Ryan Strome racked up three points on the night.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Additionally, goalie Alexandar Georgiev and fourth-liner Kevin Rooney cleared protocol and slotted back into the lineup. Defenseman Patrik Nemeth also missed his second straight game with what the team said was a “non-COVID issue.”

After the Rangers emerged with a 1-0 lead after the first period, from Alexis Lafreniere’s eighth goal of the season, the Oilers tilted the ice a bit in the middle frame. Georgiev, in his first start since before the holiday recess, had to make a save on Oilers star Connor McDavid on the rush and then a sprawling stop against Jesse Puljujarvi early on. Georgiev ultimately turned aside 32 of the 33 shots he faced.

But Barclay Goodrow doubled the Rangers’ score from the slot off a slick feed from Lafreniere at 3:49. The Oilers managed to get on the board with six minutes left in the second, when Tyler Benson set up Ryan McLeod for the easy tap-in.

Keeping Edmonton to the perimeter and out of the dangerous areas of the ice, the Rangers managed to add two more tallies in the final frame. Chris Kreider tipped in his 12th power-play goal of the season, which ranks second in the NHL, before Strome’s redirected goal later in the period.

Kailer Yamamoto #56 of the Edmonton Oilers and Jacob Trouba
Alexandar Georgiev (40) and Jacob Trouba (8) helped keep the Oilers’ high-octane attack at bay on Monday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The Rangers put together another strong opening 20 minutes, outshooting the Oilers 11-6 and making them work for every inch of the ice. Edmonton had its stretches of zone time, but the Blueshirts clogged lanes and made their presence felt along the boards.

Blocking nine shots and registering five takeaways, the Rangers kept a high-scoring Oilers squad at bay.

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