Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello each score a pair in Rangers' 5-0 win over Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta - The Rangers didn't let another Western Conference team that won't make the playoffs deny them two points.
Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello each scored twice -- including one shorthanded goal apiece -- and Derick Brassard also beat a shaky Ben Scrivens as the Rangers beat the Oilers, 5-0, last night at Rexall Place.
"On the penalty kill, the main goal is not to get scored on, but if you get a chance, you want to play instinctive there," said Derek Stepan, who sprung Nash several times and earned three assists, two on the shorthanders. "If you're able to jump on one, jump on one. Me and Rick showed some chemistry with Dan [Carcillo] and we were able to get some good looks."
In the second game of this four-city western trip, two days after a 4-3 loss in Calgary, the victory lifted the Rangers (42-30-4) back into second place in the Metropolitan Division with 88 points.
"We've had our dips during the season but we've played our best hockey when we needed to," Brad Richards said. "There's no panic."
The Flyers, who lost in a shootout to the Bruins yesterday afternoon, have 86 points and sit in third place.
The Rangers have six games left; the Flyers have eight, including five on the road.
The Rangers' 24th road win tied a franchise record. They play three of their last six games on the road, starting with Vancouver and former coach John Tortorella Tuesday night.
Henrik Lundqvist was rested and Cam Talbot, who has been very solid in his first NHL season, wasn't really tested early by the Oilers, who had only three shots in the first period.
Late in the period, Benoit Pouliot stepped around David Perron at the blue line and fed Anton Stralman, whose wrister was deflected by Zuccarello off the crossbar and into the net at 16:30. It was Zuccarello's first goal since the Stadium Series against the Devils on Jan. 26, a 17-game stretch.
With 17 seconds left, Brian Boyle was shoved into Scrivens and Dominic Moore put the puck in during a goalmouth scramble, but it was waved off because the whistle had blown.
But the Rangers cracked the game open with three goals in the second. Brassard sent a shot at Scrivens from the right boards that eluded him at 4:38 with three seconds left on a power play. Then Nash banked a sharp-angle shot from the goal line off Scrivens and in at 9:07.
"I saw Carcillo was going to the net. Lucky goal for sure," said Nash, who called the win a "huge bounce-back . . . The defensive play in front of our net was better than in Calgary."
Nash added his 25th of the season shorthanded at 13:26 to make it 4-0.
The Rangers went on a four-minute power play midway through the third after Boyd Gordon bloodied Ryan McDonagh with a stick in the mouth. The Rangers kept trying to set up Martin St. Louis, who has gone 14 games without a goal since he was acquired from Tampa Bay in exchange for Ryan Callahan.
Scrivens denied Nash a hat trick with a glove save when Stepan sprung him with just over six minutes to play.
Talbot, who made 26 saves, is 12-6-0 with three shutouts. He has allowed two or fewer goals in 15 of his 18 starts and has given up only three goals in his three starts since the Olympic break.
To be fair, the last-place Oilers (26-40-9) were awful defensively and inconsistent offensively. They have lost four of five, and were playing without injured captain Andrew Ference.
So for one night, things broke right for the Rangers. And it provided a little breathing room between themselves and the playoff line; they are seven points ahead of the ninth-place Capitals.