After back-to-back embarrassing losses, at the hands of Montreal and the New York Islanders, The Oilers played a little bit better and lost a game by a single goal to a team that is (obviously) ahead of them in the league standings.
That's the good news. What's the bad news, you ask?
The Oilers generated almost no offence in the final two periods. The Devils' strategy seemed to be to suck all of the life and excitement out of the game. Classic Devils. The Oilers' strategy seemed to be to allow their opponents to do exactly what they wanted to do. Classic Oilers.
Truth be told, the Oilers realistically didn't actually play as bad as I let on in the previous paragraph. They easily could have won that game. The problem was that they played a really good first period, then struggled to enter New Jersey's zone for the final 40 minutes.
The Oilers could have taken a 2-0 lead to start the game. They had a couple of breakaways in the early going, the first by Hall and the second by McDavid, that could have put them in the driver's seat from the start. But Hall's attempt was turned away by Schneider and McDavid's caught iron, after glancing off Schneider.
The Devils took the early lead on a power play goal by Hall's former Windsor Spitfires teammate Adam Henrique. Shortly thereafter, the Oil drew even on a beautiful goal by Jordan Eberle, which was the result of a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play, started by Connor McDavid and continued by Benoit Pouliot. This goal was the only positive highlight of the night for Oilers fans.
The Oilers mustered only 32 shot attempts all night. This number would be acceptable if you were playing five minute periods in an NHL video game. But it's absurdly low for a real-life 60 minute game, which, unfortunately was what this was.
I the midst of the Oilers' offensive struggles, the Devils were able to score another goal in the 3rd period. Reid Boucher scored New Jersey's second power play goal of the night which proved to be the eventual game winner.
The Silver Lining
The Oilers didn't give much up defensively at 5 on 5. They only allowed 25 even strength shot-attempts, none of which found the back of the net. Although they lost the Corsi battle, you could probably say that they out-chanced the Devils at evens. I mean this in a purely subjective way, but the Oilers did have two clear-cut breakaways by star players in the first. If those chances had found the back of the net, this could have been a laugher. Also Schneider also robbed Letestu on a beautiful 2-on-1 feed from Hall in the 2nd. One could make a pretty strong case that, given the timing and difficulty of his saves, Schneider stole the game, on the night that the Devils honoured the greatest goalie in their history, Martin Brodeur.
Disappointing Stat(s) of the Night
The pairing of Darnell Nurse and Adam Clendening were both -6 in Corsi +/- on the night. In a game where many fans were rejoicing about the scratching of Justin Schultz, his regular partner and replacement got eaten alive, proving that he is not the only problem with this team.
Corey's Game Puck
I'm giving my imaginary game puck to Connor Mcdavid. He and Hall were the only ones who seemed to produce any offence tonight. Each had a breakaway. McDavid set up a goal and Hall set up Letestu with what should have been a goal. I'll give McDavid the edge because his line spent more time in the offensive zone.