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Oilers at Devils preview

McDavid, Hughes among five No. 1 draft picks expected to play for Edmonton, New Jersey

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

OILERS (3-0-0) at DEVILS (0-2-1)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG+, SNW, NHL.TV


The Game

Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, will play against Connor McDavid, chosen No. 1 in the 2015 NHL Draft, for the first time when the New Jersey Devils face the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center on Thursday.

Five players selected No. 1 in the NHL Draft are expected to play: Taylor Hall (2010 by Edmonton), Nico Hischier (2017) and Hughes of New Jersey, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and McDavid of Edmonton.

Hughes is without a point and minus-3 after his first three NHL games for the Devils, who have lost three straight games to start the season for the first time since 2015-16 (0-3-1).

McDavid (two goals, six assists) and Leon Draisaitl (one goal, six assists) each has a three-game point streak to begin the season. McDavid had three assists in a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday. 

Devils defenseman Andy Greene will not play because of an upper-body injury, coach John Hynes said. Mirco Mueller is on the third pair with Connor Carrick.


Players to watch

Oilers forward James Neal, acquired in a trade from the Calgary Flames on July 19, scored four goals against the Islanders and leads the NHL with six this season. 

Devils left wing Taylor Hall leads the team in assists (two) and shots on goal (14).


They said it

"Things are changing around here and this team wants to win. We've got guys from the top to the bottom that want to make a difference, want to be a playoff team and want to contend to win a Stanley Cup." -- Oilers forward James Neal

"I definitely think [McDavid] is fast but the difference with him and other players is that he skates faster with the puck than he does without it. People talk about his speed, but you don't become a top player in the League just because you're fast." -- Devils defenseman P.K. Subban


Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian

Joakim Nygard -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- James Neal

Jujhar Khaira -- Riley Sheahan -- Patrick Russell

Markus Granlund -- Gaetan Haas -- Tomas Jurco

Oscar Klefbom -- Joel Persson

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Kris Russell -- Matt Benning

Mikko Koskinen

Mike Smith

Scratched: Colby Cave, Brandon Manning, Alex Chiasson, Josh Archibald

Injured: Adam Larsson (fractured right fibula)


Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Nico Hischier -- Nikita Gusev

Jesper Bratt -- Travis Zajac -- Kyle Palmieri

Blake Coleman -- Jack Hughes -- Wayne Simmonds

Miles Wood -- Pavel Zacha -- Kevin Rooney

Damon Severson -- P.K. Subban

Will Butcher -- Sami Vatanen

Mirco Mueller -- Connor Carrick

Mackenzie Blackwood

Cory Schneider

Scratched: John Hayden Jesper Boqvist

Injured: Andy Greene (upper body)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate.


Stat pack

Oilers coach Dave Tippett is one win from passing Marc Crawford (556 wins) for sole possession of 21st place on the NHL coaching list. ... Palmieri is expected to play his 500th NHL game. ... It is the 35th time in NHL history that five No. 1 draft picks will play in one game and first since Hischier and Hall played against Nathan MacKinnon (2013), Nail Yakupov (2012) and Erik Johnson (2006) of the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 1, 2017.

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