The Oilers end up on top in a high-scoring game in Edmonton.
EDMONTON — Alain Vigneault will never forget his 1,000th NHL game, but he will want to.
The Rangers were an absolute disaster away from the puck and in the defensive zone of a 7-5 loss to the Oilers on Friday night, forcing a confounded Vigneault to pull a jittery and undone Henrik Lundqvist from his net for just the second time all season 2:40 into the third period.
The Blueshirts (18-9-3, 39 points) recovered from a 3-1 deficit after one period to tie the game at three apiece after two. They even erased a 5-3 deficit after Lundqvist was yanked to tie the game on Rick Nash’s power play goal at 18:14 of the third. Nash had a team-high three points (goal, two assists).
But Vigneault’s Rangers refused to win and surrendered Taylor Hall’s second goal of the game 12 seconds later past backup Antti Raanta on a two-on-one. Then 2004 Rangers first-round pick Lauri Korpikoski completed a hat trick with an empty-netter for the Rangers’ season-worst seventh goal against.
“It has to be rectified right now. We haven’t been winning a lot lately. There were some good games in there where we played some solid minutes but it got away from us tonight,” defenseman Dan Girardi said. “I wish I could explain more. That’s definitely a bad effort on a night our president gets honored.”
Mats Zuccarello scores a first-period goal against Oilers goalie Anders Nilsson.
The Rangers’ previous worst goals allowed this season was only five, but Friday they fell to 2-6-1 in their last nine games, including Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss in Vancouver. Now, they will be desperate for a win Saturday night in Calgary against the Flames (12-14-2, 26 points), who are battling a team-wide flu bug but also have won four in a row.
Chris Kreider (goal, assist), Mats Zuccarello (goal, assist) and Derick Brassard (two goals) helped the Blueshirts offensively. Lundqvist (28 saves) even picked up an assist. But gaffes from a laundry list of Rangers left the Oilers in glorious position to score all night.
Girardi, playing on a banged-up right leg, had one of his worst games of an already poor season. J.T. Miller was lost. Nash was mistaken-ridden in his own zone. Jarret Stoll struggled. Captain Ryan McDonagh was minus-four.
The Oilers (13-15-2, 28 points) won their fifth straight.
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