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Devils begin road trip against Oilers

by David Kalan /

DEVILS (0-1-1) at OILERS (0-2-0)


Season series: This is the first meeting of the season between the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers. The last time the Devils and Oilers faced off, New Jersey pulled out a 2-1 overtime win at Rexall Place on Jan. 11, 2012.

Big story: New Jersey opens up a five-game Canadian road trip against Edmonton as both teams try to pick up their first win of the season.

Team Scope:

Devils: After a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday, the Devils picked up their first point of 2013-14 in a 4-3 shootout loss against the New York Islanders on Friday night, but as the team sets out on what is likely to be one of its more challenging road trips this season, its first victory remains elusive. In the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division any early-season deficit in the standings could be an enormous hindrance for New Jersey, which is seeking to avoid missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

Getting that first win is all the more urgent for the Devils considering their game Monday night will be the opener of a five-game road trip that takes them to five different Canadian cities in 11 days. The first two games -- in Edmonton and Vancouver -- are on back-to-back nights, meaning coach Peter DeBoer will split the goaltending duties, starting Martin Brodeur in Edmonton and giving Cory Schneider the call Tuesday night against his ex-mates in Vancouver.

"Obviously, [it’s] disappointing getting one out of four points," Schneider told the Newark Star-Ledger. "Our effort level both nights was pretty good. Whether it was me making a couple more saves on the first night or not being able to get that go-ahead goal and hang onto to it (against the Islanders), we all feel we can be better. We’re going to have to be."

Oilers: Few rookie coaches in the NHL might face the pressure Dallas Eakins is up against in Edmonton. The Oilers, loaded with young offensive talent, haven't made the playoffs since 2006, and after developing one of the best young cores in the game, many feel Edmonton is overdue for a return to the postseason. Just two games into the season, though, the Oilers are 0-2-0 after two rough losses in the season's first week. After letting a two-goal lead slip away at home against Winnipeg on Tuesday the Oilers took a 6-2 beating in Vancouver on Saturday night.

"Part of the message to the players this morning was they are greatly confusing me," Eakins told the media Sunday. "I can show them clips where we have no compete level at all and then I show them clips where our compete level is way more than I even expect -- and out of the same people."

If the players don't get the message soon, Edmonton could be in for a long October. After hosting New Jersey and Montreal this week, the Oilers head east for a six-game road trip.

Who's hot: Damien Brunner has scored two of the three goals New Jersey has this season. … Boyd Gordon is off to a strong start with two goals in two games for Edmonton.

Injury report: The Devils will bring a healthy lineup with them to Edmonton. … Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) is expected to make his season debut for the Oilers Monday while Steve MacIntyre (knee) and Corey Potter (back) are questionable. Sam Gagner (broken jaw) remains out.

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