The New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers participated in the 2018 NHL Global Series. The Devils defeated SC Bern 3-2 in overtime in a preseason game at PostFinance Arena in Switzerland on Monday, and won 5-2 in their season opener against the Oilers at Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Saturday.
New Jersey defenseman Mirco Mueller, born in Winterthur, Switzerland, has been detailing his experiences on the trip in his NHL.com blog. Here is Mueller's final entry:
GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Hello, hockey fans.
So after practice on Thursday, our team broke into teams and participated in a scavenger hunt, which was tough to do with the weather, but it was nice to see the city in a different way and guys were really into it. I was most responsible for taking the pictures with the camera they gave to each group. I was more just assisting, but we did see some neat statues and some buildings, and we stuffed our bags with a lot of candy. It was a lot of fun.
We practiced at noon on Friday, so we got to sleep in a bit. After practice I hung out with my parents and some friends. I got a haircut and then had a nice dinner at an Italian place in the city. It was really nice and pretty low-key.
When we arrived at the rink for the game Saturday, we noticed all the people in and around the rink early. Obviously Sweden is a big hockey country, and I think people appreciate when the NHL stops by, and it was a great atmosphere. It was a sellout and it was awesome for my parents to be here, too, and some friends watching from home. Getting the win will make the travel back home to New Jersey a lot more fun, that's for sure.
The key for us defensively against Edmonton's offense was being aware away from the puck. Connor McDavid is no joke coming up ice. I think it was important that we didn't focus just on him as a defense pair, and made sure we trusted each other, made sure we covered the other guys because obviously he will find other guys for tap-ins. We played sound defensively and kept it simple and really didn't give them much.
It was nice to see a veteran like Travis Zajac score two goals. He's a heart-and-soul type of guy in the locker room, and he's really modest. He's been with New Jersey for a long time and knows what it takes. He was in the right spot twice, but I don't think it was by accident with him being there and putting it in. It was a great team effort. We didn't give the Oilers much and didn't make many mistakes, and I think that was the key.
Finally, I think all the guys really had a fantastic time representing the League and the Devils on this trip. We experienced two different countries and cultures. It was a lot different here and I think the guys really enjoyed that part as well, especially in Bern. In Sweden, the fans were great and they cherished watching the NHL being played here in their country, and I think it was a great thing for us as a team just to kind of get together. We had some free time too, especially in Switzerland, and got to do some stuff we don't normally usually have time to do.
Getting the win was awesome to start the season off right, and now we'll travel home and prepare for the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Thank you for reading the past week. It was a blast.