Game 64: Looking To Strike Oil
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (38-22-3) face off against the Edmonton Oilers (20-38-6). This is the first and only meeting between the two teams this season.
The Last Devils Game: The Devils faced off against the Calgary Flames (and ex-coach Brent Sutter) Friday night. Zach Parise scored the game’s first goal, but Calgary reeled off five unanswered to take the lead. Ilya Kovalchuk and Parise scored late goals but it wasn’t enough as the Devils lost, 5-3.
The Last Oilers Game: The Oilers faced off against the Minnesota Wild Friday night in Edmonton. Mike Comrie scored a goal in regulation and the shootout winner as Edmonton defeated the Wild, 2-1.
The Last Devils – Oilers Game: The teams played last season on November 9. In that game, Sheldon Souray and Ales Hemsky scored second period goals for the win, 2-1. Jeff Deslauriers made 37 saves in his third NHL appearance for the win.
Tonight’s Matchup: These are two teams headed in different directions. While the Devils are making their playoff push, the Oilers sit near the bottom of the league. But Edmonton isn’t a team to overlook. They’ve got a lot of young guys trying to stick around the league, and we’ve seen those teams give the Devils fits (think last year’s Islanders). This won’t be an easy game, and the Devils have to play a 60-minute game. I put that in bold because, for some reason, this team hasn’t been able to put together a concentrated, 60-minute effort. Their play in the second period proves that point. If the team can play a complete game, there should be no reason why they can’t win the final game of this four-game road trip.
There was also a bit of interesting news coming from Edmonton today. When talking with Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur admitted he’s been in a lull. The Devils’ goalie has allowed three or more goals in nine of his last 10 starts. We’ve all seen his play drop as of late. Brodeur even admitted he was fighting the puck a bit against Calgary, which was evident from the amount of rebounds he gave up. Brodeur hasn’t been right, and his play will dictate how far the Devils can go.
Coming into today, the Devils sit three points behind Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead. The Penguins have played two more games than the Devils this season. A win tonight would be a nice ending to the four-game road trip, and it would keep the pressure on Pittsburgh.
Game time is 8 p.m., and you can catch the game on MSG Plus. Make sure you visit The Devils’ Den or Running With The Devils for a live game blog of tonight’s action.