NEWARK, NJ - The Edmonton Oilers continue their six-game road trip with a quick two games in the New York area before returning to Canada to conclude the jaunt. The tour of New York starts tonight when the team takes on the New Jersey Devils.
Coming off a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Oilers look to start the game tonight with a lot more energy.
“I think the first five minutes, we have to come out strong, play the right away and have energy. We need to play high tempo. We didn’t see that the first part of the game against Toronto,” said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson following an optional morning skate at the Prudential Center.
Nelson added that the team needs to simplify its game in order to generate some offence, particularly with two of its top three wingers on the shelf in Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot.
“Play a simple style of hockey. Get pucks in behind the defence, forecheck hard, shoot the puck when we have the chance and try not to overcomplicate things.”
Complicating matters with the team's offensive issues, the Devils are consistently one of the NHL's top defensive teams and this year's edition is no exception, having shut out the Oilers in their only other meeting this season.
“We’re more or less focused on our own game. We know Jersey plays a stingy style. We’re going to have to earn everything that we get so it comes back to the simplicity of the game. Going to the net, earning your ice.”
POWER PLAY THE KEY
When asked about generating more offence, Jordan Eberle talked about not only scoring more on the power play, but getting more man advantages by making it tough on the opposition.
“When I always talk about when the team’s struggling offensively, the biggest thing for offensive guys is the power play. You’ve got to get some touches, get some pucks to the net and get some shots. I think we only had two power plays last game. We’ve got to try to find a way to draw more penalties and create offence there. When things aren’t going well offensively that’s got to be the catalyst.”
NO LINEUP CHANGES
The Oilers will be going with the same lineup as Saturday against Toronto, with the only exception being in goal where Ben Scrivens will get the start:
Purcell - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle Fraser - Roy - Yakupov Gazdic - Lander - Pakarinen Hendricks - Gordon - Klinkhammer
Taylor Hall has returned to Edmonton where he will be undergoing an MRI. Until then, there is no timeline on his return.
“He’s scheduled to get an MRI and once we find out what comes out of it — right now I don’t have a lot to talk about because we have to find out what the issue is, if there is an issue or if it’s just rest. So we have to wait and see what happens,” Nelson said. Jordan Eberle talked Monday morning about how difficult it is for Hall to not be on the ice and contributing for the team.
“I think we’ve seen it over the years, those nagging foot injuries. You try to come back and it just isn’t 100%. You get whacked or touched a little bit and it makes it worse. Knowing him, he’s a pretty competitive guy and he wants to be here. It’s definitely tough for him to be out of the lineup. When you’re injured and at home and the team’s on the road you definitely feel like you’re not part of the team. That’s the worst part for sure for him.”
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
OILERS (14-30-9) at DEVILS (21-23-9)
TV: SNW, MSG+
Season series: Cory Schneider made 29 saves for the 14th shutout of his career to give the New Jersey Devils a 2-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 21. Schneider's 20th consecutive start broke Martin Brodeur's franchise record (19 in 2001-02) for the most to begin a season. Adam Henrique and Tuomo Ruutu scored and Eric Gelinas had two assists for the Devils.
Oilers team scope: Edmonton plays the second of a six-game road trip after falling 5-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday which ended Toronto's 11-game losing streak. The Oilers practiced Sunday in New Jersey and announced that forward Taylor Hall returned to Edmonton for further assessment on his injured left ankle. "It wasn't responding like we wanted it to," coach Todd Nelson told the Oilers website. "He's going back to get an MRI just to make sure that we know what we're dealing with. Then we'll go through the process after that." Defenseman Jeff Petry took a maintenance day. Forward Benoit Pouliot (foot) remains day-to-day and is doubtful for Monday. Goalie Ben Scrivens is a strong possibility to start according to Nelson. The Oilers have scored two goals in seven periods since Hall and Pouliot left the lineup Feb. 2 against the San Jose Sharks.
Devils team scope: New Jersey is 6-0-2 in their past eight games at Prudential Center, and was off Sunday after its three-game winning streak and six-game point streak (5-0-1) ended with a 6-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. The six goals were the most the Devils allowed since an 8-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 28. Goalie Keith Kinkaid made a career-high 38 saves but the game got away from him when the Canadiens broke it open with two goals in a 30-second span of the third period. "Six goals is unacceptable," Kinkaid told NJ Advance Media. "There are a few plays I have to bear down on and be better. I felt good the whole game but [there were] a few bad bounces and I have to be better. Be bigger and stay with it more." Despite the loss, the Devils are 8-3-2 in their past 13 games and 5-1-1 in their past seven. Forward Jaromir Jagr has points in a season-high four straight games (two goals, two assists).