Looking to shake off a 3-1 loss that started their three-game home stand, the New Jersey Devils failed to rebound the way they probably would have liked in last night’s matchup. The Devils previously faced the Edmonton Oilers one week ago, losing 6-3 in what marked the first defeat of their current four-game winless streak. New Jersey had a momentous start when forward Brian Boyle scored his first goal as a Devil and since returning from treatment by burying a rebound from a Brian Gibbons shot.
Edmonton evened the score 6:50 into the second period when Anton Slepyshev fired a snapshot that beat Cory Schneider blocker side. Drew Stafford put the devils back ahead with 1:35 left in the second after surmounting four Oilers players, and pulling off a highlight-worthy deke around goaltender Cam Talbot. Milan Lucic negated New Jersey’s lead a little more than three minutes into the third during an odd-man rush. Lucic fired a wrister that snuck through Schneider’s five-hole and slid into the net. On Schneider’s end, the effort was pretty moot, and that certainly was a shot he should have stopped. Despite a barrage of scoring chances from both sides, the score remained tied after three periods.
With less than 20 seconds left in overtime, Connor McDavid pulled off his own highlight-worthy maneuver in the form of an intricately-timed pass that Leon Draisaitl buried for his fifth of the year, giving Edmonton the victory. The win completed Edmonton’s season series sweep over New Jersey, who has yet to win a game at the Rock this month. Despite marginally outshooting the Oilers 34-32, the Devils got killed in the face-off dot, and failed to convert on four power play opportunities. After last night’s loss, the Devils enter tomorrow night’s matchup against the Panthers without scoring on their last 11 power play attempts.
Winless in four games…As the title states, New Jersey is in the midst of a four-game winless streak (0-2-2). They have just one victory in November- a 2-0 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks. Contrary to their high-scoring October numbers, the Devils have struggled to maintain those numbers in November, scoring just 12 times in their last five games. While the absence of Marcus Johansson and Kyle Palmieri have undoubtedly factored in New Jersey’s recent performance, injuries can’t be used as an excuse.
Discipline (sort of) pays off…Not only did the Devils outshoot their opponent, but they managed to stay out of the box most of the game. The Devils were shorthanded only twice last night, both instances coming in the first period (with one being a too many men on the ice call). Although New Jersey’s special teams didn’t really do them any favors last night, their lack of trips to the penalty box was a welcome sight.
Struggles in the face-off dot…The Devils came out of last night’s overtime loss as the fourth-worst face-off team in the league (46.5 percent). While Brian Boyle (64 percent) and Blake Coleman (53 percent) fared well in this department, the Devils got killed in the face-off dot by the abysmal efforts from Nico Hischier (33 percent) and Adam Henrique (39 percent), who took (and lost) the majority of draws when New Jersey was on the power play. Not saying face-off struggles was the sole reason, but it’s hard to set up a power play unit in your opponent’s zone when the other team is effortlessly winning draws and clearing the puck every time.