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Game Notes Rangers @ Oilers G10: Kevin Lowe Night

Since the NHL expanded to 21 teams in 1979/1980, no NHL player has won more Stanley Cups than Kevin Lowe. He won five with the Edmonton Oilers (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990) and one with the New York Rangers (1994). He, along with Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson and Bryan Trottier have each won six rings since 1980.

Tonight the two franchises he won Cups with will sit on their respective benches and watch Lowe’s #4 be hoisted to the rafters.

— Lowe has played the most games in an Oilers jersey at 1,037. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads active Oilers with 665 games played, which is 12th. He will be eighth by the end of the season and if he remains in Edmonton for the duration of his contract he will pass Lowe.

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— Lowe was the first Oilers draft pick in 1979, and scored the franchise’s first goal at 9:49 of the first period in Chicago on October 10th, 1979. Brett Calligen and Wayne Gretzky had the assists. He was a key contributor on their Cup winning teams and is poised for an incredible next 10 days. He will have his jersey retired tonight, and next weekend is the Hall of Fame weekend that culminates with him being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, November 15th. He should be incredibly proud of his accomplishments as a player.

— Lowe will be the eighth skater to have his jersey retired by the Oilers. He joins Al Hamilton (#3 retired October 10th, 1980), Wayne Gretzky (#99, October 1st, 1999), Jari Kurri (#17, October 6th, 2001), Grant Fuhr (#31, October 9th, 2003), Paul Coffey (#7, October 18th, 2005), Mark Messier (February 27th, 2007) and Glenn Anderson (#9, January 18th, 2009).

Glen Sather (head coach and GM) had his banner raised on December 11th, 2015 and Rod Phillips (legendary play-by-play voice) saw his 3,542 banner (games called) lifted on March 29th, 2011.

— The Oilers have four wins, three losses, one OT loss and one tie in their previous nine banner-raising games. They won on Kurri, Fuhr, Anderson and Sather’s nights, lost for Hamilton, Messier and Phillips’, had an OTL for Coffey and tied on Gretzky’s night.

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— The Rangers were the opposition on Gretzky and Sather’s nights and will be again tonight. Phoenix was the opponents four times, while San Jose (Fuhr) and Los Angeles (Phillips) have also been in the building on banner night.

—Very random trivia: Can you name the two Oilers who scored a hat trick during a banner-raising game? *Answers at the bottom*

— With many of the 1980s Oilers in attendance tonight, the current squad can accomplish something those great teams never did — win nine of their first 10 games to start a season. The Oilers started 8-0-2 in 1984/1985 (went 12-0-3, before losing a game) and were also 8-2 in 1985/1986. They lost their 10th game 2-0 at home to Buffalo and dropped to 8-2.

—  On Wednesday Leon Draisaitl become only the second Oilers player to score 20 points in the first nine games of a season. He joins Gretzky, who did it five Octobers in a row between 1983-1987. He tallied 11-13-24 in 1983, 10-17-27 in 1984, 5-19-24 in 1985, 8-18-26 in 1986 and 7-15-22 in 1987. Draisaitl has 9-11-20 and is the first NHL player to score 20 points in the first nine games since Mario Lemieux had 20 points in 2002/2003. Draisaitl is off to a ridiculous start, along McDavid who has 7-12-19. They are on pace for 182 and 173 points respectively.

— It seems crazy to even think it, but could Draisaitl and McDavid both push for 150 points? Only five players in NHL history have scored 150 points in a season. Gretzky (9x), Lemieux (4x), Steve Yzerman and Bernie Nicholls in 1989 and Phil Esposito in 1971. With every passing game the possibility doesn’t seem as crazy — which is absurd when you take a moment and think about it. There is a long way to go, but NHL fans, not just Oilers fans, could be watching history unfold.

— Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is off to the best start of his career with 13 points, all assists, in his first nine games. He did score 3-9-12 in nine games to start the 2018/2019, which is when he set his career-high of 69 points. So his production isn’t that outrageous, but 13 apples in nine games is impressive. He joked how it is a bit bizarre. “I’ve been on streaks or slumps — whatever you want to call it — like this before.” He’s in a goal-scoring slump, but also on a great point streak. RNH is tied for fifth in league scoring with Anze Kopitar, Andrei Svechnikov and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

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— The Rangers have some very exciting players to watch. Adam Fox, the reigning Norris trophy winner, is off to another solid start with 11 points in 10 games. He’s tied with Roman Josi and Kevin Shattenkirk in D-men scoring. He’s also in the top-25 players O-zone possession time, which is really impressive for a D-man. He is an electrifying player, along with the Bread Man, Artemi Panarin up front and Igor Shesterkin in goal.

— Shesterkin has been spectacular for the Rangers with a sizzling .943Sv% and 1.85 GAA in eight starts. He is fourth among goalies (minimum three starts) in Sv%, while Mikko Koskinen is seventh at .934. The Rangers are tied for 3rd in goals against/game at 2.20 and the Oilers are 8th at 2.56. Shesterkin is 4-1 on the road allowing only eight goals. Three of them came in their OT loss in Vancouver. The Canucks controlled much of that game, and the Rangers will need to be better defensively if they hope to contain the Oilers’ offence.

— Edmonton leads the NHL in goals for/game at 4.22 and the Rangers are 27th at 2.40. New York is 6-2-2 on the back of Shesterkin and decent defensive play. They have only scored four goals once this season, while scoring three (4x), two goals (3x) and one goal twice. Meanwhile the Oilers have scored 5+ goals in six of their nine games. The Oilers have scored 4.33 G/GP at home and allowed 3.00. The Rangers have scored 2.43 G/GP on the road and allowed 2.00.

— The Oilers can set another franchise record tonight if they score one powerplay goal. It would be the first time they’ve started a season with a powerplay goal in 10 consecutive games to start the season. If they do, they will be the 15th team in NHL history to do so.

Interesting to note that only five of these 14 teams won more than half their games when their PP was clicking. Edmonton can become the first team to start the season with a PP goal in 10 straight since Pittsburgh started the 2007/2008 season with 14 games with a power play marker.

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*** Trivia answer…Ethan Moreau (Anderson game) and Lauri Korpikoski (Sather) each had hat tricks. The Oilers won 6-3 when Moreau scored and 7-5 when Korpikoski tallied his hatty.

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