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Preview: Oilers at Devils

New Jersey's Taylor Hall, Edmonton's Adam Larsson face former teams for first time

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

OILERS (20-13-7) at DEVILS (16-17-7)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+2, FS-A, NHL.TV


Oilers team scope

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson, who spent his first five NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, will face them for the first time since being traded for left wing Taylor Hall on June 29, 2016. Larsson has two goals and six points in 40 games, leads the team with 119 hits and is second with 71 blocked shots. "It will be fun to see my old teammates but it's still business, we have to get two points," Larsson said. "We're well prepared, but it's going to be a special one for me." Coach Todd McLellan has liked what Larsson has done for his defense. "Our team is better than it was last year, and he plays a part in that," McLellan said. "There are a lot of assets he brings to the table that we desperately needed. His ability to defend, his puck skills and ability to move it up are everything we knew before he came in. His physicality and ability to battle in tight around the blue paint, was something we found out after he arrived." McLellan said he watched Hall play against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center on Friday. "We had great years with Taylor as an individual but the team didn't get to where it wanted to go, so changes had to be made," McLellan said. "There are nights when we sorely miss his offense and ability to drive the play long with his speed, but that's what happens when you make a trade." Goaltender Cam Talbot, the expected starter, has been forced to make 30 or more saves 17 times; he is 13-1-3 in those games. The Oilers are 1-1-0 on their four-game road trip.


Devils team scope

Hall spent six seasons with the Oilers and will play against his former team for the first time. He has nine goals and leads the Devils with 25 points in 30 games despite missing 10 games with a knee injury. Hall scored 132 goals and had 328 points in 381 games with Edmonton before being traded to New Jersey. "I'm just trying to stay focused on helping my team and trying to get two points for us," Hall said. "It's definitely going to be weird and I'm not going to downplay that. It's going to be a super strange atmosphere for me, but the quicker I put that aside and just focus on playing hockey and focus on my contribution to the team, I think that's the best way to go." Goaltender Cory Schneider allowed three goals on five shots before being relieved by Keith Kinkaid in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday. Kinkaid made eight saves in 43:26. "If I'm in obviously I'll have to have a good start and a good bounce back game," Schneider said. "If I play [Saturday] I expect that." Schneider's save percentage (.905) is the lowest of his career. The Devils went 4-12-4 between Nov. 27 and Dec. 27 and are six points out of the second wild-card berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They play 14 of their next 22 games at home.


Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Zack Kassian

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Benoit Pouliot -- Drake Caggiula -- Jordan Eberle

Anton Lander -- Mark Letestu -- Jesse Puljujarvi

Andrej Sekera -- Matthew Benning

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Kris Russell -- Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Brandon Davidson, Jordan Oesterle, Matt Hendricks

Injured: Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Andrew Ference (hip), Darnell Nurse (foot), Mark Fayne (lower body), Tyler Pitlick (knee)


Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Pavel Zacha -- PA Parenteau

Michael Cammalleri -- Adam Henrique -- Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood -- Travis Zajac -- Beau Bennett

Sergey Kalinin -- Devante Smith-Pelly -- Nick Lappin

Kyle Quincey -- Ben Lovejoy

Jon Merrill -- Damon Severson

Seth Helgeson -- Steven Santini

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Luke Gazdic

Injured: Jacob Josefson (illness), Andy Greene (arm), Vernon Fiddler (lower body), John Moore (concussion)


Status report

McLellan said he'll consider lineup changes prior to faceoff but was noncommittal when asked where any changes might be made. Davidson will miss his second straight game because of illness. ... The Devils did not have a morning skate and coach John Hynes said he'll name his starting goalie prior to warmups.


Who's hot

McDavid has five points in his past five games and leads the NHL in scoring with 45 points (14 goals, 31 assists) in 40 games. He also leads all Oilers forwards in average time on ice (21:10). Maroon has 22 goals and 35 points in 56 games with Edmonton since being acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 29, 2016, including a hat trick in a 4-3 road win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. ... Parenteau has six goals in his past 10 games.

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