Recap: Devils Show Improvement in Overtime Loss

The Devils remain winless to start the season. (Bjorn Larsson Rosvall, AP)

Game Summary

The New Jersey Devils suffered their second shootout loss of the season last night at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers. They were defeated by a score of 4-3 in a shootout. The Devils now drop to 0-2-2 on the season.  

The Devils jumped out to a hot start. They owned the first half of the first period and were rewarded for it six minutes in, as Kyle Palmieri riffled the puck past Koskinen (see below). Unfortunately, Leon Draisaitl tied the game just a few minutes later thanks to a solid passing play on an odd-man rush.

After the Oilers controlled play for the rest of the first period, the Devils controlled most of the rest of the game. Unfortunately, the scoreboard did not indicate this. After Nikita Gusev rocketed one home after coming off the bench, the Oilers were once again able to answer right before the second period came to an end.

The third period was once again controlled by the Devils. And it finally looked as if they were going to lock down their first win of the season. Damon Severson was able to score off a beautiful Taylor Hall cross-ice pass with five minutes left (video below). However, Connor McDavid answered at the 18:54 mark while the Oilers had a 6-on-4 advantage and sent the game to overtime. 

After an eventful overtime that saw both a Hall breakaway ring off the post and another one come up just short, we went to a shootout. The Devils were held scoreless before Leon Draisaitl buried the nail in the coffin to win it for Edmonton. Mackenzie Blackwood was credited with the loss after making 19 stops on 22 shots. Mikko Koskinen was given the win after making 28 saves on 31 shots.

Game Notes

  • Head coach John Hynes’ performance behind the bench was underwhelming once again. Forwards Jesper Bratt and Nikita Gusev played roughly the same time as Kevin Rooney at 5-on-5. This is not ideal given the talent level of both Bratt and Gusev. Also, worth mentioning is the overutilization of Mirco Mueller in certain spots. He was on the ice against the McDavid-Draisaitl duo numerous times, which should not occur given Hynes’ ability to make last change. He was also on the ice for the 6-on-4 game-tying goal. Once again, a bad showing for the Devils’ head coach.
  • Forward Pavel Zacha was reinserted into the lineup, and he showed why it was a mistake to take him out in the first place. After not participating in any team activities during the preseason he held his own in the Devils’ first two contests. After being a healthy scratch Wednesday night, he was second on the Devils with a Corsi For % (CF%) of 73.33 against the Oilers. Hopefully, he will continue to build on his success to begin the season.
  • Forward Kevin Rooney once again showed why he is not an NHL-caliber player. He finished the night with a CF% of 28.57 and an expected goals For % (xGF%) of 28.57, which is both the lowest mark of any Devils’ skater last night. Jesper Boqvist must replace Rooney in the lineup if the Devils wish to see production from all four lines.
  • The Devils also did something they have yet to do this season. That is dominate at 5-on-5. They held the advantage in shots attempts by a 44-29 margin. They also only held Edmonton to one high danger scoring chance. According to naturalstattrick.com, the Devils also had an xGF of 1.87 to the Oilers’ 0.93. Simply put, they were the superior team. Unfortunately, due to the miserable penalty kill they were unable to tally the win. Nonetheless an encouraging performance.

Next Devils Game: October 12th @ Boston

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