EDMONTON, Alberta (WFAN/AP) — New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella was seething at the dismal performance his team put in against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Tortorella was so frustrated with the Rangers’ play that he was unusually short with the gathered media that he refused to take questions.
He made the following brief statement post-game: “This is going to be quick. I’m not taking any questions. We sucked from head to toe. And we need to move by it. So I’m not going to dissect it with you guys. I know you guys have to do your job, but I’m not answering any questions. Okay?”
Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 19 shots in his 44th NHL shutout, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers beat the road-weary New York Rangers 2-0 on Saturday night.
Corey Potter also scored for the Oilers, who snapped a two-game skid and improved to 3-2-2 after late collapses cost them the two previous games.
The Rangers (2-2-2) lost for the first time on their four-game swing to Western Canada. New York is playing its first seven games of the season on the road, concluding Monday at Winnipeg, before returning to renovated Madison Square Garden for the home opener on Thursday.
The Rangers got a scare when top goalie Henrik Lundqvist left the game in the third period because of a skate problem that caused pain in his left foot. He was replaced by Martin Biron, who made three saves.
The game was scoreless through the first period in which the Oilers dominated.
New York had its best scoring chance six minutes in when Ruslan Fedotenko picked off a flubbed pass deep in Edmonton territory, but he was thwarted on a quick toe save by Khabibulin.
The Oilers buzzed the New York net from there, outshooting the Rangers 11-4 in the period.
Edmonton’s best opportunity came with seven minutes left in the first as Ryan Smyth made a nice behind-the-back pass to Magnus Paajarvi on the doorstep, but Lundqvist got across to make a spectacular kick save.
New York evened the play to start the second and came close to notching the game’s first goal seven minutes in when Marian Gaborik barely steered a shot wide while being knocked down in front.
The Oilers took a 1-0 lead just past the mid-mark as Taylor Hall made a drop pass to Nugent-Hopkins, who fired a shot into the top corner for his fifth of his rookie season.
Edmonton killed a long 5-on-3 Rangers power play with three minutes left in the period.
The Oilers went up 2-0 four minutes into the third on a power-play goal. Nugent-Hopkins fed the puck back to Potter at the point, and the former Rangers farmhand ripped his second career NHL goal past Lundqvist.
NOTES: It was the Rangers’ first appearance in Edmonton in nearly two years. The Rangers routed the Oilers 8-2 last November in New York. … Oilers forward Sam Gagner made his season debut, returning from a shoulder injury. Gagner shifted from center to right wing on the third line, taking the place of Linus Omark. … New York forward Wojtek Wolski has been cleared to play following his groin injury, but was a healthy scratch. … Much has been made of the youth movement on the Oilers, but the Rangers have the younger team. The average age on the Oilers is 26.76 years, while the Rangers are 26.68. … Including the playoffs, Lundqvist has started 36 consecutive games. He stopped 22 of 24 Oilers shots. … The Rangers were 0 for 5 on the power play.
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