EDMONTON – Ales Kotalik had a goal and two assists as the New York Rangers halted a four-game road losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Marian Gaborik, Christopher Higgins and Ryan Callahan also scored for the Rangers (10-6-1) who had just two wins in their previous eight games.
Lubomir Visnovsky and Mike Comrie replied for the Oilers (7-8-1), who have lost three in a row and six of their last seven.
After a rather slow start to the game by both teams, the Rangers broke the deadlock with just under five minutes to play in the first period. Matt Gilroy made a nice feed trough traffic to Higgins, who put his second of the season past Edmonton starter Nikolai Khabibulin.
Edmonton’s best chance to tie came on a scramble in front of the New York net with three minutes remaining, but neither Ales Hemsky nor Dustin Penner could find the puck before Rangers goalie Stephen Valiquette could get back into position.
The Rangers outshot Edmonton 14-8 in the first.
New York went up 2-0 midway through the second on a power-play goal as Michael Del Zotto send the puck towards the net, and Callahan deflected it over Khabibulin’s shoulder.
Edmonton finally got on the board with five minutes to play in the second period as Hemsky deftly slipped the puck to Visnovsky on the point and he charged in and snuck 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 two minutes later. Gaborik fed Kotalik at the point and he unleashed a hard slapshot for his second point of the night.
New York took a three-goal lead seven minutes into the third with Fernado Pisani in the box serving a double minor for a high-stick on 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 of the season.
Edmonton got that goal back three minutes later as Comrie spun around and took a shot that snuck through Valiquette’s legs to make it 4-2.
The Rangers conclude a three-game trip in Calgary on Saturday while Edmonton embarks on a five-game road swing, beginning Sunday in Colorado.
Notes: Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff missed the game with a shoulder injury and is expected to be out 7-10 days. … Also scratched for Edmonton were defenceman Ladislav Smid (flu) and J.F. Jacques (back spasms). … Comrie returned from a long battle with the flu and defenceman Steve Staios re-entered the lineup after missing 12 games with a concussion. … Edmonton is hopeful all-star blueliner Sheldon Souray will also be back from his concussion soon. Souray was cleared to begin skating this week. … Valiquette got the start for the Rangers in net with Henrik Lundqvist plagued by a stiff right thigh. … Also out for New York were forwards Donald Brashear (upper body) and Dane Byers. Enver Lisin rejoined the team after missing the last game with a foot injury. … The Oilers beat New York 3-2 in a shootout in their only meeting last season.