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Looking to end their three game losing streak, the New Jersey Devils host the Edmonton Oilers tonight at The Rock. New Jersey is coming off a rough performance against the St. Louis Blues, especially in the third period where they outshot 19-4. On the flip side, the Oilers have struggled out of the gate compiling a 5-8-1 record in their first fourteen games and have a -12 goal differential in all situations. They’ve also struggled to score goals outside of the McDavid line and averaging just 2.31 goals a game, which ranks dead last in the NHL.
(* indicates injury and not expected to play)
What to Watch
- Kyle Palmieri practiced with Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier and looks like a good bet to return to the lineup tonight. Palmieri is in the top five in scoring on the team (even after missing a few games) averaging 2.24 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Edmonton has struggled on all facets of the game. Tonight presents an opportunity for Palmieri to get back on the scoresheet right away and should give the Devils a better to overcome their first bit of adversity of the season.
- The Oilers have had a rough go of things to start the season, and that may even be understating a bit. They’re dead last in scoring and 26th in goals against. They’ve also struggled on special teams. Their power play ranks 26th in the league at 14% and have the worst penalty kill in the league killing off just 69% of their penalties against. If the Devils get a few man advantage opportunities, they need to advantage of them because it could be the difference in the game.
- He may’ve been an extra in practice yesterday, but I’d surprised if Damon Severson was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. The Devils blue line struggled mightily against the St. Louis Blues and had trouble moving the puck out of their own end, which is what Severson brings to the table. He also has a relative Corsi% of +5.1%, which is the best mark on the team by a wide margin for players with 100+ minutes at five-on-five. He’ll also help quarterback the team’s second power play unit, which struggled Tuesday night and, as mentioned above, will be a major key to winning tonight’s game.
- Although the results haven’t been there, the Oilers have fared quite well at 5-on-5. They have the second best Corsi For% and have the best expected goals per 60 minutes in the league at 2.99. The Devils have struggled defensively to start the season and did so against Edmonton just last week in Western Canada. Edmonton will get their chances, so the Devils will have to play better defensively than they have to start the season. Especially since they’ll be facing a player of the caliber of Connor McDavid.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+ at 7 PM.