Not even a disallowed goal could prevent the New York Rangers from winning their first game of the season. "We're not out of it by any means, but we're starting to play better," said defenseman Mathieu Schneider after scoring a power-play goal 8:38 into the third period as the Rangers beat Edmonton 3-2 Tuesday night and avoided matching their worst start in 40 years.
Related Links Oilers vs. Rangers box score Edmonton City Page New York City Page How bad are the Rangers? Brian Leetch had scored the tying goal for the Rangers 30 seconds into the third period. It was a big goal for the Rangers, who had kept their composure even though officials had earlier disallowed a goal by Wayne Gretzky. The late comeback helped the Rangers stop a five-game winless streak (0-4-1), one shy of their six-game spin (0-2-4) to start the 1958-59 season. The Rangers also ended a five-game winless streak against Edmonton (0-2-3). "You saw improvement in the third period," said Rangers coach John Muckler. "We took it up a notch. We came out very strong. That kind of set the pace for our team." Manny Malhotra also scored for the Rangers. The Oilers got goals from Bill Guerin and Josef Beranek. The Oilers scored on their second shot of the game when Guerin beat Mike Richter from the top of the right circle at 1:51 of the first with Edmonton on a power play. The Rangers tied it at 15:10 when Malhotra, the team's No. 1 pick at last spring's NHL Entry Draft, jammed in a loose puck for his first goal.
Doug Weight (39) is back in action after a holdout, but Alexei Kovalev and the Rangers made sure nothing got in the way of New York's first win of the season. (AP) "It came in and took a strange bounce," said Edmonton coach Ron Low of Malhotra's goal. "There were a lot of strange bounces out there tonight." Beranek put Edmonton ahead 2-1 when he scored a power-play goal on his own rebound at 9:23 of the second. Assisting was Doug Weight, who just rejoined the Oilers this week after ending a contract holdout. The Rangers tied it on a power-play goal by Leetch 30 seconds into the third period. The Rangers had appeared to tie the game earlier when Gretzky put a rebound in the net at 16:11 of the second period, but the goal was disallowed because Adam Graves was ruled to be in the crease. New York went ahead on the goal by Schneider, who beat Bob Essensa from the high slot with the goaltender on the ice after blocking a shot by Todd Harvey. "I saw him out of the net ," Schneider said of Essensa. "Those are the best ones for me, when I just hit the middle of the net." With his 204th career victory, Richter tied Gump Worsley for second all-time on the Ranger list. The loss was the first for the Oilers after two straight road wins. "It's disappointing to lose after a couple of great wins on the road," Weight said. "We'll just have to get back at it (when the Oilers play the New York Islanders Wednesday night)." The game was officiaed by two referees - Don Koharski and Denis LaRue. The NHL, hoping to crack down on obstruction penalties and blatant attempts to injure, is using the two-ref system in selective games this season for the first time in its history.
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