EDMONTON, Alberta — One might have thought that a three-goal lead late in the second period, even against a team with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on it, would have been safe.
On Friday, one would have been wrong.
The Rangers stunned the Edmonton Oilers by scoring three goals in a 4:02 span early in the second period, but they couldn’t hold on to the lead. Edmonton scored two power-play goals and clawed back to tie the score early in the third period. Then, even after Mika Zibanejad’s second goal of the game put the Rangers back in front, McDavid and Draisaitl simply would not be denied.
McDavid worked his way through four defenders to score the tying goal with 2:59 remaining in regulation and Draisaitl scored at 3:27 of the extra session to give the Oilers a throwback, 1980s-style 6-5 victory over the Rangers at Rogers Place on the night they retired the No. 4 jersey of Kevin Lowe.
Zibanejad’s second goal put the Rangers in front 5-4 at 7:18 of the third, but with time running down, McDavid decided to drive into the middle of four Rangers defenders. He got through all of them before deking Alexandar Georgiev (33 saves) and tucking a backhander around his left pad to tie it at 5-5.
At that point, there was little doubt how this one would end up. Draisaitl finished it with his 10th goal of the season, tied with Alex Ovechkin for the league lead.
The Oilers are 9-1. The Rangers’ second consecutive overtime loss dropped them to 6-2-3 overall and 1-0-2 on the current road trip. They will finish the trip Saturday night in Calgary.
"I don’t know if we get too passive and try to protect the lead in . . . too much of a defensive way, but that one obviously stings,’’ said Zibanejad, who had a stunned expression in the postgame news conference.
"I mean yeah, they have some good players and can make plays,’’ he said. "But I think we’ve just got to find a way to battle through that and end it there.’’
After Filip Chytil opened the scoring at 1:53 of the first period and the Oilers’ Zach Hyman tied it at 18:11, Chytil stole a pass inside the Oilers’ blue line and set up Kevin Rooney for a goal at 2:52 of the second that put the Rangers up 2-1.
Chris Kreider (at 4:11) and Zibanejad (on the power play at 6:56) scored to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead, and they appeared to be in control.
But when former Oiler Ryan Strome got sent off for hooking at 12:53 of the period, that seemed to trigger the Edmonton comeback. The Oilers’ power play had scored 13 times in 28 chances for a league-leading 46.4% success rate, and Jesse Puljujarvi beat Georgiev with a right-circle slap shot off the rush to make it 4-2 at 14:41.
Zibanejad was sent off for tripping McDavid 24 seconds into the third period. Thirty-six seconds later, Tyson Barrie sent a seeing-eye shot through traffic to pull the Oilers within 4-3.
"It got them a little bit of momentum,’’ Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba said of the Oilers’ power play, which now has scored on 15 of 30 chances. "At the end of the day, if you let up two on the PK, it’s not a good night.’’
After Dryden Hunt failed to clear the puck out of the Rangers’ zone and Evan Bouchard kept the puck in at the right point, Puljujarvi’s second goal tied it at 4-4 at 3:35. Bouchard passed to Duncan Keith, who fed Puljujarvi, all alone in the slot. His first shot hit Georgiev in the mask and bounced right back to the Edmonton forward, who buried the rebound before Trouba could get to him.