EDMONTON, Alberta – The start time of Friday night’s game between the Rangers and Edmonton Oilers was pushed back a half-hour because the Oilers retired the No. 4 of former defenseman Kevin Lowe before the game. Lowe was one of several of the glory-years Oilers to have played with the Rangers on their 1994 Stanley Cup champion team, and he ranked that triumph with the Rangers as his second-favorite Cup, after winning his first (of five) with Edmonton.
"It was such a wonderful time,’’ Lowe said of 1994.
Lowe said he didn’t want to leave the Oilers, but "the Rangers offered me twice the money that the Oilers were willing to offer me,’’ and a lot of the Oilers’ Cup-winning core had already gone, so he felt like it was time to leave. Mark Messier was already in New York, and so were several other ex-Oilers, so Lowe decided to join them.
"The first game we went to play on Long Island, and the fans are chanting ‘1940!’ and I asked some of the guys, 'What the hell are they talking about?' And they go, 'That was the last time the Rangers won the Cup,' and I said, 'that's crazy!'’’
According to Lowe, Messier was obsessed with winning in New York and exorcising whatever curse was hanging over the Rangers, and all the other ex-Oilers wanted to win the Cup in New York for Messier. That’s what made it so satisfying.
"The first is always the best, but that one was -- given my age and relationship with Mark and some of the other guys -- going there and doing it, it was a nice feather in our cap,’’ Lowe said.
Forward Ryan Reaves was a game-time decision as to whether he would come off injured reserve and rejoin the lineup, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. A player would have needed to be subtracted in order to add Reaves to the 23-man roster… Gallant said he would split his goaltenders in the back-to-back with Edmonton and Calgary on Saturday. Alexandar Georgiev started Friday, meaning Igor Shesterkin was set to play Saturday.