The Edmonton Oilers burst out to a 6-0 lead and then held on for a 7-5 win over the New York Rangers Tuesday night at Rogers Place.
It’s the first win on New Year’s Eve for the Oilers since 1985. They’re now 3-14-4 on December 31.
The Oilers jumped out to an early lead when James Neal tapped in a pass from Zack Kassian eleven seconds into the game. Neal scored again on the power play, deflecting Oscar Klefbom’s point shot.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added another deflection goal less than three minutes later, and the Oilers enjoyed a 3-0 lead after the first period.
The Oilers blew it open with three goals in 1:53 in the second as penalties mounted against the Rangers. Leon Draisaitl scored with 6:49 left in the frame, and the Rangers were slapped with a bench minor after the play. Neal wired home his hat trick goal 12 seconds later.
“Goals come in waves,” Neal said. “Felt good tonight. When you get a goal, you get great confidence from that. We scored 11 seconds in and it was nice playing with Connor and Kass.”
LISTEN: Head Coach Dave Tippett reflects on wild finish
Josh Archibald finished off the flurry with his third of the season. Henrik Lundqvist replaced Alexander Georgiev in goal shortly after that. Georgiev allowed six goals on 24 shots.
Chris Kreider finally put the Rangers on the board in the final minute of the second.
Ryan Strome tallied a second Rangers goal before the third was five minutes old. Later, Marc Staal and Artemi Panarin scored 38 seconds apart, and the Rangers were within two with 7:53 to go.
“You’re concerned about the two points,” Tippett said. “We played a really good first period, capitalized on opportunities in the second and with a 6-1 lead we made some mistakes and they capitalized on them. A win is a win–move on.”
The comeback continued when Mika Zibenejad tallied with 3:45 left. With Lundqvist on the bench for an extra attacker, Kailer Yamamoto finally sealed it for the Oilers with an empty netter with 1:07 left.
“They’re a skilled team,” Tippett said of the Rangers. “There was no panic on the bench. It was just, ‘get your job done.’ And we got the job done.”
LISTEN: James Neal talks after hat trick performance
It was Neal’s second hat trick of the season. He had four goals in a 5-2 win over the Islanders on October 8. He and Nugent-Hopkins both had four point games. Edmonton was 3/6 on the power play.
“We want to have the same start in the new year that we did at the start of the year,” Neal said.
The Oilers, 21-17-4, start a five-game road trip in Buffalo on Thursday.
—With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott