Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 10/22/11

Having played two games of their western Canada road swing, the New York Rangers earned back-to-back needed wins against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames to improve to 2-1-2 on the season. Tonight they seek their third win of the season and the road trip when they enter Edmonton to take on the Oilers at Rexall Place. The Blueshirts have had much success against the Oilers in recent years, but the squad donning the Copper and Blue this year differs greatly from that of the past and is sure to put up a greater fight. 

For the first time all season, the Rangers played a fairly sound game for 60 minutes straight in Calgary on Thursday. It wasn't perfect, and no game has been, but the effort was there for all three periods, as was the defense. I remember before Tuesday's tilt with the Canucks I talked about how telling this trip would be for the Rangers since they would be tested in all different ways against a variety teams. Well so far they've been taking major steps of progression in each game, and you can't complain about much after two straight wins. 

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been a major part of their success on the trip, if not the main part of their success on the trip. He's been playing mistake-free hockey, which is almost unheard of for a goalie. He, again, will get the start in goal for the Rangers tonight because of that. I think Tortorella realizes that this team would probably only have two points or so if it were not for Lundqvist, so that's why he's started every game to this point. However, you don't want to burn him out this early so I think Marty Biron should definitely get the start in Winnipeg on Monday. 

On defense, Brendan Bell will apparently be in the lineup over Jeff Woywita tonight, paired with Steve Eminger. Unlike Lundqvist starting, I don't see a reason for this move. I've liked what I've seen from Woywitka through two games and I think he will add more than Bell will. Maybe Torts just wants to get Bell in there for a game? I don't know what the deal is with that, but it's what you will see tonight. 

Michael Sauer (shoulder) will remain out of the lineup as will forward Wojtek Wolski; both claimed they were improving earlier in the week. According to the Rangers, Wolski is a "healthy scratch" which means he was ready to go for tonight, but the coach has elected to keep him out regardless. 

Who's in and who's out aren't the issues to be concerned about against the Oilers, though. It's the effort and compete level that will make or break the Blueshirts in this one, because that Edmonton squad is a very hard-working one, as you would expect from a younger group like themselves. Their most impressive player has been rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who will be in the lineup tonight. He leads the team in scoring right now with 4 goals and an assist in 6 games played. 

Nik Khabibulin will be between the pipes for the Oilers, and he's put up a 0.95 GAA in three starts so far. Looks like this one should be low scoring. 

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