3) How will the Oilers match up with the Rangers?
The New York Rangers are flying right now. At the time of posting, they are tied for the most points in the Eastern Conference and just four behind the Vegas Golden Knights overall.
The Rangers’ overall standing includes a stellar record at home. In the fortress that is Madison Square Garden they are so far 10-3-0 on the season, which has them on a better pace than last season’s 23-13-5 mark at home.
Concurrently, the Oilers have been terrible so far on their travels in 2023-24, with a 4-8-0 record. By contrast they were excellent on the road last season, with their 27-11-3 record actually better than their overall results at home.
For what it’s worth, the Oilers beat the Rangers last season at Madison Square Garden. The visitors rallied from a three-goal deficit by scoring four goals in the third period, including the winning goal with just 2:02 remaining.
Want your voice heard? Join the Oil On Whyte team!
In this respect, we know a Oilers roster which is largely unchanged from last season is capable of winning again in New York. Whether they will though is another matter, with them (currently) not as good overall as last season, while the Rangers are better.
Hope comes in the fact that the Oilers are actually scoring at a slightly better rate per contest, at 3.43 goals per game versus 3.28. On the flip side, the Rangers have the eighth-best defensive record in the NHL at 2.72 goals allowed per contest, as opposed to the Oilers being sixth-worst, at 3.46.
Interestingly, the Rangers have the third-best power play unit, just above the Oilers in fourth place. Where there is real separation is in the penalty kill, with the Rangers ranked sixth-best, and the Oilers just 20th.
Ultimately, the Oilers face a tough challenge in getting something at Madison Square Garden. Their most likely route to a positive result, will be winning a high-scoring affair.