“We needed a win of any kind period, not just a road win,” said Rangers backup goalie Steve Valiquette. “Just like Edmonton, we have been reeling a little bit and we knew this game was an opportunity to perhaps turn things around. We would have been in deep trouble with (head coach John Tortorella) if we had recorded another loss here.”
Tortorella said the Rangers are getting back to the way they played at the start of the season, when they won seven straight after losing the opener at Pittsburgh.
“I think the last two or three games that the effort has been there, we just found a way to score some goals tonight,” he said. “Getting three on the power play really helped.
“Our forechecking was much better and we played smart through the neutral zone. We found a way to score a few goals and win a game.”
Lubomir Visnovsky(notes) and Mike Comrie(notes) had goals for Edmonton (7-8-1), which has lost three in a row and six of seven. New Oilers associate coach Tom Renney faced the Rangers for the first time since he was fired as the club’s head coach in February.
“We didn’t seem to get involved early enough,” Oilers assistant captain Steve Staios(notes) said. “Any time we got any momentum, we ended up taking penalties. We were back on our heels and we didn’t force the play much. We’re obviously not playing up to our capabilities.”
The Oilers haven’t outshot an opponent since the first game of the season. They were outshot 39-28 against the Rangers.
“We’ve got guys who are supposed to be scorers that don’t put the puck anywhere near the net. That’s the disappointing part,” Oilers coach pat Quinn said. “You don’t get many goals if you don’t shoot it.
“We’re going to try and get some change. A change in body language if that’s what it takes. We’re going to wear our goalie out (in practice) too.”
The Oilers are 1-5 on the road and will play of 11 of the next 16 away from Edmonton.
After a slow start by both teams, the Rangers broke the scoreless deadlock with just under 5 minutes left in the first period. Matt Gilroy(notes) made a nice feed trough traffic to Higgins, who put his second of the season past goalie Nikolai Khabibulin(notes). Higgins has scored in consecutive games.
The Rangers outshot Edmonton 14-8 in the first.
Edmonton got within 2-1 with 5 minutes to play in the second period as Ales Hemsky(notes) deftly slipped the puck to Visnovsky at the point. Visnovsky he charged in and put a backhander between Valiquette and the post.
It didn’t take the Rangers long to restore the two-goal cushion, as they scored another power-play goal less than 2 minutes later. Gaborik fed Kotalik at the point for a hard slap shot that produced his second point of the night.
New York made it 4-1 seven minutes into the third with Fernando Pisani(notes) in the box serving a double minor for high-sticking Del Zotto. Kotalik’s screen shot from the point squirted past Khabibulin, and Gaborik guided it in from the side of the net for his 12th goal.
Edmonton cut its deficit back to two goals 3 minutes later as Comrie, in his first game back following a bout with the flu, spun around and took a shot that got between Valiquette’s legs.
NOTES: Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff(notes) missed the game because of a shoulder injury and is expected to be out 7-10 days. … Staios re-entered the lineup after missing 12 games due to a concussion. … Edmonton D Sheldon Souray(notes) (concussion) has been cleared to play and might return soon. … Valiquette started in place of No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist(notes) (stiff right thigh). … Rangers RW Enver Lisin(notes) returned from a one-game absence caused by a foot injury. New York was without forwards Donald Brashear(notes) (upper body) and Dane Byers(notes) (suspension).