Though it hasn’t been easy, the Edmonton Oilers have a chance to finish their longest road stretch of the season with a winning record.
The Oilers try for a second consecutive victory when they conclude their seven-game trip against the New York Rangers on Monday night.
After dropping a pair of 5-4 decisions at Columbus and Pittsburgh, Edmonton (7-6-1) won 2-1 at New Jersey on Sunday to improve to 3-3 on a trip that started with a 3-1 loss at Nashville on Oct. 31.
The Oilers, who have scored 19 goals while allowing 19 on their current trip, won’t have an easy task against New York (11-5-1), the Eastern Conference’s top team with 23 points and a 7-3-0 record at Madison Square Garden.
Hemsky, the team’s leading scorer with 15 points, has scored all five of his goals over the last four games and has recorded at least one point in six consecutive contests. Souray has a goal in three of his last four contests and five points during that span.
Hemsky has a goal and four assists in three career games versus the Rangers.
It’s uncertain who will be in net for the Oilers in this contest as they continue their three-goalie rotation featuring Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson. Rookie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers could get another look after making 37 saves against the Devils for his second victory in as many starts. On Thursday at Pittsburgh, Drouin-Deslauriers replaced Garon, who gave up five goals on 20 shots.
“I try to not focus on (increased playing time),” Drouin-Deslauriers said. “I try to focus on what I can control. I prepare myself like I’m playing every night even if I’m not.”
Garon has lost four in a row to fall to 3-4-0 with a 3.68 goals-against average, but is 2-0-0 with a 1.45 GAA against New York. He was in net for Edmonton’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Rangers on Jan. 5 in the teams’ most recent meeting.
Roloson allowed five goals at Columbus on Wednesday and is 2-2-1 with a 2.78 GAA on the season and 1-3-0 with two ties and a 2.25 GAA versus New York.
The Rangers may be the points leader in the East, but they have lost three of four after falling 3-1 at Washington on Saturday.
After going eight games without a goal, Aaron Voros scored his team-leading sixth for New York, which has been held to a four goals in its three losses this month. The Rangers won 5-2 over Tampa Bay on Thursday for its lone win in November.
Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves Saturday and has not allowed more than two goals in his last eight starts. He is 9-4-1 with a 2.00 GAA on the season and 1-0-1 with a 2.90 GAA against Edmonton.
“We can’t keep throwing these great performances by Hank away,” Voros told the Rangers’ official Web site. “We’ve got to capitalize. If he’s going to keep the puck out of the net for us, we’ve got to get him some goal support and do our end of the bargain by getting shots on net.”
Though Edmonton won the most recent meeting, New York has been victorious in five of the last six games between the teams at MSG.