Michael Grabner continues to hold hot hand for New York Rangers with a pair of goals in victory over Oilers

Last year, was in the but nobody knew it, except him.

He collected a twice-monthly pay-cheque in Toronto but his hand was probably shaking when he got it, with his nine goals in 80 games for the woeful Maple Leafs.

This year, Grabner looks like he’s had a hand transplant.

The winger one past Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot just over a minute in — the fifth time in the last seven games the Oilers have given up a goal in the first two minutes — and added another on a breakaway in the frame to give him 10 goals in just 16 games, and all are even-strength.

NHL teams can only hope to contain him, not stop him.

Grabner is just one piece of the NHL’s best and most diversified attack, as the Rangers, with 65 goals in the 16 games, rolled to a 3-1 victory Sunday night over the Edmonton Oilers, who have dropped five of their last seven games after a 7-2 start.

They’ve lost three in a row — Pittsburgh, Dallas, Rangers, the last two at home to teams (Stars and Rangers) who’d played the night before and should have been tired.

The Oilers got a goal from defenceman Andrej Sekera to offset one by Rangers blue-liner Dan Girardi, but that was all they mustered against Rangers backup Antti Raanta. The Oilers have lost both games (5-3 at Madison Square Garden Nov. 3) they’ve played against the 12-4 Rangers.

The Rangers, who led 2-1 after the first frame, got on the board on the game’s second shift when Grabner lifted a rebound by Talbot after Tyler Pitlick skated past the loose puck in the slot, and his linemates Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl were also culpable.

The Oilers have now given up goals eight times in the first 160 seconds of games, if you’re counting, surrendering goals from 13 and 28 seconds in to 2:37 in the first month of the .

“Not a recipe for success,” said Oilers centre Mark Letestu.

No kidding.

Girardi, who has 45 goals in his 737 NHL games, scored his third in 12 career games against Oilers to make it 2-zip. He tipped a Kevin Hayes pass behind Talbot on a delayed penalty call. Girardi, usually blocking shots 180 feet away, was all by his lonesome in front of Talbot. He had come on as the extra skater with the penalty call coming.

The Oilers got one back when Connor McDavid hit Sekera back-door on Raanta just before the first period ended, a typical ho-hum pass from the captain, who has 19 points on the year. But that was all they got

“Connor’s the quickest I’ve seen in a long, long time the way he can skate with the puck (north-south) and the way he picks up speed going laterally is phenomenal. A tough to handle. You can’t shut him down, you just try and limit his opportunities,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.

They’re saying the same about Grabner, of course.

He picked off a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pass at the Rangers’ blue line and while Talbot got a toe on the original Grabner shot, he reached over the goalie’s pad to get the third Rangers’ goal.

The Rangers, rolling four offensive lines this season, had to mix things up when winger Chris Kreider, who has 10 points in 11 games, was a no go. He played in Calgary Saturday and looked just fine but was a late scratch with suspected back — the same back problem that knocked him out of four earlier games.

The Rangers also lost rookie Pavel Budnevich, who played on the world junior team with Oilers Anton Slepyshev, after the warm-up. Also back spasms, which necessitated them dressing former Oilers D-man Adam Clendening as an extra skater. He didn’t get on the ice in the entire game, however. He gets paid for being in the NHL but not a game toward his pension.

ON THE BENCH: Talbot thought his Rangers’ mentor Henrik Lundqvist would get the start, his 10th career against Edmonton, even in back-to-back games. Instead Raanta, who came into the game with a 3.09 average and .841 save percentage got the start … The Oilers scratched winger Slepyshev to get Zack into the game. was hurt early in Brooklyn last week in the win over the New York Islanders. The Rangers have sat Girardi, in their top defence pair with Ryan McDonagh, in back-to-backs, but went away from that against the Oilers.

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