The Rangers recovered from their brief hiccup in Calgary with a dominating performance up the road in Edmonton.
After blowing a five game win streak against the lowly Flames, the Blueshirts pasted the Oilers in a 5-0 blanking.
Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello scored two goals apiece (including one shortie each) and Derick Brassard notched the other in the easy Cam Talbot shutout. The Rangers backup keeper made 26 saves and was in control and never really tested throughout the match.
The bounce-back win against the Oil was critical for the Rangers. After pissing away their win streak with a sloppy effort in Calgary on the first game of their 4 game swing, the Rangers needed a thumping to restore their good feeling, especially with just seven regular season games left on the schedule.
And thump, they did.
At 16:30 Mats Zuccarello went to the net and re-directed an Anton Stralman point shot by Ben Scrivens to give the Rangers the early lead and the only offense they would need on the night. The goal was reviewed by Toronto but ruled a good goal and not a high stick mostly because Zucc is 4’8″ and can’t physically direct the puck with a high stick.
The stingy New York defense held the high octane Oiler offense to three measly shots and the NYR closed the period up 1-0.
In the second, the Rangers offense struck oil – sorry had to! Derick Brassard finished one on the power play off a pass from The Oslo Magician™ and Rick Nash buried two. Both, coming from Derek Stepan with the second one a shorthanded tally. Zucc added his own shortie in the third (also from Stepan) and the Rangers cruised to a 5-0 whitewash.
Talbot, who was never really challenged, turned aside all 26 shots sent his way en route to his third shutout of the season. The twenty-six year old has been a godsend for the NYR and gives the Blueshirts a viable option (sorry, Martin Biron, Steve Valliquette, Kevin Weekes, and Alex Auld) when Hank gets his much needed rest. And, unlike in the past, if Hank (God forbid) gets hurt, the Rangers might not have to pack in the season.
Another bright spot on the night was Rick Nash. Sixtyone is a goal scorer and goal scorers score in bunches. They get hot and they get cold. But with the pair against Edmonton, Nasher now has 25 on the season. That is a pretty solid season for a goal scorer who looked to be out for the season after his early concussion.
The win was big for the Blueshirts who seem to be back on track made even bigger with the playoffs just a handful of games away.
Torts and Vancouver up next with a return to the old home barn for Alain Vigneault.