They hope to get their top goal scorer back Saturday when they visit the struggling Edmonton Oilers for the first time in just over six years.
The Rangers (20-17-4) opened this three-game trip with a 4-3 loss to Calgary on Wednesday before falling 3-0 to Vancouver the following night, dropping to 0-5-1 against Western Conference teams this season. The two defeats have come after New York finished December on a three-game winning streak to bounce back from a 2-6-2 stretch.
Shanahan missed his first game of the season Thursday with a stiff neck after scoring a goal in each of the previous three contests to give him a team-leading 15. It’s uncertain if the 38-year-old left wing, who also leads the Rangers with seven power-play goals, will return Saturday.
“We need him healthy for the long haul,” Rangers coach Tom Renney told the team’s official Web site.
If Shanahan can’t play, Petr Prucha could fill his spot again after returning from a two-game absence due to a bruised wrist Thursday. Prucha has just four goals in 2007-08 after scoring 52 in his first two NHL seasons.
He scored a goal and assisted on another in the last meeting with the Oilers, a 5-4 overtime win for New York at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 12, 2006.
The Rangers have won two of the last three matchups with Edmonton—all at home—and haven’t visited Rexall Place since a 4-1 loss on Jan. 2, 2002. New York is 1-2-0 with two ties in its last five trips to Edmonton.
The Rangers are expected to have Henrik Lundqvist back in net after he was rested Thursday in favor of Stephen Valiquette. Lundqvist, though, has struggled of late, allowing four goals on 22 shots against the Flames to give him a 2-3-1 record and a 3.75 goals-against average in his last six games.
During that stretch, Lundqvist is 0-2-1 with a 4.91 GAA in three road games against West teams. He won his only career start against the Oilers, making 26 stops on Jan. 12, 2006.
Edmonton (17-21-4), which has the second-fewest points in the conference, is opening a five-game homestand. The Oilers are looking to rebound from a 5-2 loss at Nashville on Thursday, one night after halting a season-high six-game skid with a 3-2 overtime win at St. Louis.
“We just lacked any composure whatsoever,” Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said.
The Oilers have dropped five of their last six at home (1-4-1), including three in a row while only managing one goal in each game.
Edmonton’s scoring issues could stem from Shawn Horcoff’s recent lack of production. The team leader with 16 goals and 35 points, Horcoff has only one assist in the last eight games after registering seven goals and seven assists in the previous 10.
He has an assist in each of the last three games against the Rangers.