NEWARK, NJ - On the heels of a 4-0 loss in Philadelphia, the Devils are looking to not only rebound with a win 24 hours later tonight at Prudential Center against the Edmonton Oilers but also stop the three-game winless slide they've had to start the season.
"I think we started the season pretty well. We played a really good game. We learned a valuable lesson from that first game and obviously on a back-to-back we wanted to win in Buffalo and things just didn't come together the way they were supposed to," said P.K. Subban after the loss in Philadelphia Wednesday night.
"It's so tight now in the standings, everybody's good. You know special teams has to be the difference. We've got to find a way to be better."
SPECIAL TEAMS RELOAD
Right now, the Devils power play is 0-for-9 on the season as one of five NHL teams who have yet to score a power play goal.
On the penalty kill, the Devils sit at 50% which ranks 31st in the 31-team circuit.
"Special teams just got to make the difference," Subban continued. "Even strength you may get a goal here and there but in the even strength goals, it's somebody loses an edge or a bad bounce or something."
Devils head coach John Hynes after the game Wednesday reiterated that he expects more from both the power play and penalty kill.
"The special teams on both sides got to be better tomorrow," Hynes said.
"We didn't do a very good job on the entries. You have to get set up. They were stepping (up to us) at the blue line and you know that didn't allow us to be able to get in and on the five-on-three we had some good looks and (Flyers goaltender Carter Hart) made a big save on Hall and a second one on (Gusev)."
The Devils will have their work cut out for them on special teams against an Oilers team that's been very good this season. They have a 33.3% power play so far which is 40% on the road and a 90.9% penatly kill which is 100% on the road.
BOUNCE BACK OPPORTUNITY
One thing the Devils do have going for them is the chance to bounce back so soon after the last loss instead of dwelling on it. Palmieri talked about making the most of it.
"It's an opportunity for us as a team, as a group, to rectify what happened last weekend. It's kind of a reverse situation, but we went into this year talking about back-to-backs, tough buildings and winning on the road. That didn't happen for us (in Philadelphia) but we have a chance to do something that we set out at the beginning of the year to win second half of back-to-backs and it's an opportunity we get here."
With no morning skate today, there's no indication as of yet what lines the Devils might go with or who will be the starting goaltender but check back here shortly after 5:00 tonight when Coach Hynes speaks and we'll update.
Hynes did give a few hints after the game last night, noting he was happy with the line that had Blake Coleman, Jack Hughes and Wayne Simmonds.
"I thought Coleman and Simmonds played well. They were one of our lines that created some chances and particlarly the first player but I think as a group, we didn't generate a ton."
-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com
DEVILS (0-2-1) vs. OILERS (3-0-0)
TV: 7:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+
Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. The season series will wrap up on November 8 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
The Devils defeated the Oilers twice last season, outscoring the club 11-5.
At the 2018 NHL Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden, Travis Zajac tallied the winner and Keith Kinkaid stopped 17 of 19 shots in New Jersey's 5-2 victory.
Later in the season, the Devils doubled up on the Oilers at Rogers Place with a 6-3 win.
Oilers Captain Connor McDavid led the Oilers against the Devils last year with four assists.
For the Devils, Zajac, Kyle Palmieri and Damon Severson each compiled three points in two games against Edmonton.
Devils team scope:
The Devils are off to a 0-2-1 start after falling 7-2 to Buffalo and 4-0 to Philadelphia in the respective team home openers. The club has also played consecutive back-to-back sets to open the season in a bit of a strange start to the schedule.
Blake Coleman leads the Devils in scoring with two goals and three points in three games. Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri each have a goal and an assist while Taylor Hall has two helpers.
Oilers team scope:
The Oilers are off to a hot start in the 2019-20 season, winning their first three games of the year, with the latest being a 5-2 road victory over the New York Islanders to kick off their current four-game swing.
The Orange & Blue haven't began a season at 3-0-0 since 2008-09 and currently sit tied for first in the Pacific Division with six points.
Despite losing veteran defenceman Adam Larsson to a fractured right fibula in the first game of the season, the Oilers are one of seven teams still undefeated in the League. The club owns a plus-five goal differential (3rd), 90.9 percent penalty kill (5th) and are converting at a 33.3 percent rate on the man advantage (T-7th).
After playing New Jersey, the Oilers will continue their road trip with games against the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.
By the Numbers:
James Neal leads the League in goals with six in three games. ... McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are tied for the League-lead in assists with six each. ... McDavid is tied for first in scoring with eight points, while Draisaitl is in a deadlock for second with seven. ... Former Oiler Taylor Hall has one goal and one assist in five games against his previous team. ... The Devils are 2-0-2 at home and 3-2-3 overall against the Oilers since 2015-16.
Devils - The Devils are healthy.
Oilers - Alex Chiasson (illness) is day-to-day; Josh Archibald (illness) is on IR; Adam Larsson (fractured right fibula) is on IR.
-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com & Paul Gazzola, EdmontonOilers.com