FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
1 Net worth
Goaltending was thought to be a concern heading into this season, but so far Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen, both 2-0, have been holding up their end of the bargain. It might be a while before the team settles on a No. 1 guy, but in the meantime they are both making a strong case.
2 Cracking the lineup
When a team is winning, coaches are reluctant to make changes, so Alex Chiasson, who scored 22 goals last year, and Josh Archibald, were both on the outside looking in Thursday, as the team extended its streak to four games. This is the kind of inner competition the Oilers have been searching for, for a long time.
3 There’s no ‘I’ in quit
The Oilers came back from three one-goal deficits in the 4-3 win over New Jersey and fought back from four one-goal deficits in the 6-5 win over Los Angeles. They trailed with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period in two of their four wins this season. That’s a good sign.
4 Slow start
While the rest of the NHL is up and running, the Rangers are being iced by the schedule maker for some reason. They’ve only played two games so far, and are coming off a six-day break between starts. Then they get four days off after the Oilers. That’s one game in 11 days. Then they play five in eight. Wow.
5 Lethal advantage
Edmonton’s penalty kill has been quite effective out of the gate, allowing only one goal on 13 shorthanded situations (fifth in the league at 92.3 per cent), but it will be put to the test by a Rangers power play that has connected on three of its first five opportunities.
Artemi Panarin joined the New York Rangers this off-season after two seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets.