Devils Dealt First Road Loss of Season in Edmonton

The Devils had a good night in Vancouver on Wednesday with Cory Schneider coming up strong for them in getting the shutout victory. Flip a few days on the calendar and the team arrived in Edmonton banged up against a desperate Oiler team and the results were not good. They fell to the Oilers 6-3 at Rogers Place.

THe Devils were the final team without a road loss in the NHL this season, but tonight it was the Connor McDavid show, as the superstar came away with three assists in the game as New Jersey fell for the first time in their road whites.

Former Devil Adam Larsson was named the first star as he finished with an assist, a plus-2, three shots on goal, 13 hits and six blocks all in 23:07 of ice time, which led all players in the game. Drake Caggiula was the game’s second star while McDavid was the third star.

Taylor Hall, in his second return to Edmonton, was one of four first overall picks participating in the game tonight – the Oilers’ McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the Devils’ Nico Hischier and Hall (who was obviously an Edmonton pick). Hall was happy to be returning to Edmonton this year with the Devils playing well as he was looking for his first win against his former club. According to MSG’s Deb Placey, the Devils of this year remind the Oilers of themselves last season, in terms of a quick start and style of play (fast paced offensive style).

Some injury notes as Kyle Palmieri was skating back in New Jersey, but Marcus Johansson would be out with a concussion suffered on his first shift in Vancouver the other night. Ben Lovejoy and Stefan Noesen were the healthy scratches as the team went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen tonight.

In a nice touch, it was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Rogers Place and the OIlers asked Brian Boyle to take the ceremonial faceoff against Connor McDavid, with two youngsters dropping the pucks (one each for McDavid and Boyle).

The Oilers got off to a quick start as Drake Caggiula took a nice feed from McDavid to make the score 1-0. Mark Letestu had the secondary assist on a goal that came at 5:40 into the game. That goal came on the game’s only power play, which was a Dalton Prout interference call at 4:49. Ryan Strome made it 2-0 at 8:55 when he scored from Caggiula and Larsson.

The Devils would get on the board just before the end of the first period, at the 15:00 mark on a goal that was all created by Miles Wood’s speed. It came when Wood sped up the wing, grabbed the puck and moved into the Oiler zone. He threw the puck on net and Taylor Hall was there to gather the rebound and sweep it in past Oiler goaltender Cam Talbot. That goal, which was Hall’s first goal against his former team in three games, made it 2-1.

New Jersey would tie things up just 5:02 into the second period when Jesper Bratt worked the puck up the near half wall in the Edmonton zone. He shot and Talbot’s save bounced up to Hischier. Hischier and Damon Severson played catch along the far wall before Hischier passed to Bratt. Bratt fired a shot that beat Talbot through a screen to tie the game at two.

But a minute and one second later, Oscar Klefbom returned the one goal lead for the Oilers. His shot, which was on end when he shot it and may have dipped, as MSG’s Ken Daneyko noticed, when it beat Cory Schneider. That made it 3-2 Edmonton.

Following that goal, both teams felt that they needed a little spark – the Devils to get back into it and the Oilers to put it away – and Prout and Milan Lucic obliged by dropping the mitts. Their fight was a spirited affair that ended in a draw. The fight came at 6:19 of the second period.

The Oilers reinstated their two goal lead when Lucic scored at 18:58 of the second from Anton Slepyshev and Nugent-Hopkins. It was now 4-2 going into the second intermission. Before that goal, the Devils had caught a break when Patrick Maroon shanked a shot wide with a wide open net a few minutes prior.

Edmonton would build on that lead midway through the third frame. It was just the second time this year that they were taking a lead into the third period and they would make it count. At 13:18, Leon Draisaitl scored from McDavid and Mark Benning to make the lead seemingly insurmountable at 5-2.

But the Devils were still in things at 14:25 of the third when Drew Stafford gathered a rebound and dished to Will Butcher at the point. He fired and his shot was tipped in front by Brian Gibbons. That goal was reviewed via Toronto to see if Gibbons tipped the puck in with a high stick, but his stick was deemed under the crossbar and the Devils had cut the Edmonton lead to two, 5-3.

But the Devils would pull Cory with a little more than two minutes left and, just as Schneider was leaving his crease, Hall whipped the puck back, banking it off the boards and nearly into the open Devils net. Butcher was there to stop it from going in, but all he did was settle it down for Nugent-Hopkins, who calmly put the puck into the open net unassisted to give us our final, 6-3.

Cory had a rough night, making 36 saves on 41 Oiler shots while Talbot made 31 saves on 34 Devil shots. The Oilers had two power play shots and scored on one of them. New Jersey did not have a power play.

Hall led the Devils in ice time with 20:40 and had a goal on six shots on net, but he was also a minus-2. The Devils were also killed in the faceoff circle, with Edmonton winning 67-percent of the faceoffs. The Oilers also outhit the Devils 47 to 29.

Next up, Sunday at 9 PM, as the Devils head to Southern Alberta to take on the Calgary Flames. Hopefully they can make this a winning road trip and come out with the W at the Saddledome.

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