NEW YORK – The Edmonton Oilers’ longest road trip of the season produced a winning record and a new force in goal.
In his second start in two days, rookie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers made 40 saves through overtime and then went 3-for-3 in the shootout to lift the Oilers to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers on Monday night.
After Paul Mara and Chris Drury erased New York’s 2-0 deficit, Drouin-Deslauriers made sure the Oilers took two points and a 4-3 mark on the trip back to Alberta’s capital.
Edmonton (8-6-1) has played an NHL-high 12 road games.
“Two games over .500 isn’t exceptional by any standard, but when you’ve played 12 of 15 on the road, we’ll take it,” coach Craig MacTavish said.
Drouin-Deslauriers stopped Nikolai Zherdev with his stick on the first shootout attempt, kept the puck out when Fredrik Sjostrom lost control, and gloved Markus Naslund’s rising drive with a quick lunge.
“Those guys are so talented, so skilled. I tried to talk to myself, to be as calm as I could. It worked out,” Drouin-Deslauriers said.
Ales Hemsky scored the only goal in the shootout and helped the 24-year-old Drouin-Deslauriers improve to 3-0 in the NHL. He replaced ineffective teammate Mathieu Garon on Thursday at Pittsburgh and allowed no goals in a 5-4 loss, and then made 37 saves to beat New Jersey 2-1 on Sunday.
He could emerge as the starter from the Oilers’ three-goalie stable that also includes veteran Dwayne Roloson. Garon has lost four in a row, and Roloson allowed five goals to Columbus on Wednesday in another 5-4 loss.
“He’s a big guy and he doesn’t venture too far away from the net,” MacTavish said of Drouin-Deslauriers. “He was in the right spots and made a 40-save performance look pretty pedestrian.
“Until it plays itself out, we’ll continue to keep the three goalies around. They’ve all at times played really well. It’s a case now of having a guy or two sustain it.”
Hemsky’s shot in the second round was blocked by Henrik Lundqvist’s arm, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
“It slid on the glove and I thought I had it,” Lundqvist said. “I tried to locate the puck, and I saw it went in behind me. It is a little frustrating.”
Drury’s tying goal came 46 seconds into the third period when he got to a rebound of Scott Gomez’s shot and popped the puck over Drouin-Deslauriers, 20 seconds after New York’s power play expired.
New York is 1-3-1 since a 10-2-1 start.
“We should take more positive things out of this than some of our wins,” Drury said.
Erik Cole and Kyle Brodziak had the regulation goals for the Oilers.
Edmonton had chances to win it in overtime, using a power play and a pair of glaring turnovers in the Rangers zone to hold a 4-2 shots edge. Lundqvist finished with 29 saves.
Mara cut the Rangers’ deficit in half during the second, when New York fired a season-high 20 shots. Ryan Callahan raced the puck up the middle of the ice and fed a pass to Mara, who zipped in a shot from the centre of the left circle at 8:13. It was the defenceman’s first goal in 66 games, dating to Nov. 6, 2007, at the New York Islanders.
“We got out of a hole, and that is one of the positive things to take away from this game,” forward Brandon Dubinsky said.
The Oilers had increased their lead to 2-0 just 4:43 before Mara’s goal. Edmonton worked the puck back to the left point for a shot from Lubomir Visnovsky, whose drive was deftly deflected in flight by Brodziak for his second of the season.
Cole opened the scoring just 3:27 in when he steered a shot by Fernando Pisani past Lundqvist with his left skate. The play was reviewed and it was determined that Cole merely directed the puck in and didn’t kick it.
The Rangers were less fortunate when the NHL went to the videotape to see if Callahan had scored the tying goal with 2:01 left in the second. Callahan took a pass in front from Naslund, who was behind the Oilers net, and quickly sent the puck in on Drouin-Deslauriers.
The puck squeezed through his pads and kicked off the goalie’s left skate, sending it trickling toward the line. Just before it crossed, he smothered it with his blocker – obscuring the line from the camera’s view.
“Knowing they were the best team in the East was a very good challenge for me,” said Drouin-Deslauriers, the 31st pick in the 2002 draft. “We replied with a good answer and very good energy.”
Notes: New York’s previous high for shots in a period this season was 18, done three times. … Edmonton’s previous win at Madison Square Garden, came exactly five years earlier on Nov. 10, 2003 – a 5-4 victory. … Drury was struck in the helmet by a shot from teammate Dan Girardi late in the third period. He appeared to be bleeding on the bench, but wasn’t seriously hurt and returned to the game. … Both teams had 13 shots and one full power-play chance in the third period.