The Oilers waited 182 days to play a regular season game. They might have needed a few more days before hitting the ice today. The Devils got on the board with the first shot of the game. The Oilers responded, but would eventually find themselves down by two goals at the end of the second period, unable to recover. Another goal and an empty netter, and the Devils would cruise to a 5-2 victory over Edmonton in game one of the 2018-19 year.
- Excitement! Wow, has it really been 182 games since the last regular season game? It’s going to be a blast getting back to regular season hockey.
- In an all-too-familiar feeling, the Devils scored on their first shot on goal. Kyle Palmieri makes it 1-0 Devils with 58 seconds having elapsed from the first period with Leon Draisaitl chasing him and Darnell Nurse looking a bit shell-shocked. It wasn’t a good day for Darnell Nurse or Matthew Benning overall.
- The Oilers pick up a power play when Ben Lovejoy takes a holding penalty on Ryan Strome.
- Milan Lucic (!!) scores a PPG to tie it up at 1. Alright, we’ll take that. The Oilers could really use a 40+ point season from the big man. You will not be shocked to learn that Connor McDavid sets this all up. The Oilers would get four cracks on the power play during the day, this is the only time that they would see any success in the form of a goal.
- The ice begins to tilt in favour of the New Jersey Devils as the period comes to a close. Devils are getting much better chances in front of Talbot, and the Oilers are getting mighty good at taking shots from the point. Oilers and Devils are tied at the end of one.
- Not a good period for the Oilers. Jesse Puljujarvi takes an early penalty and Kyle Palmieri scores his second of the game with two minutes gone from the period. Devils are now up 2-1, and it doesn’t get much better from here.
- Just over a minute later, Travis Zajac makes it 3-1 Devils. Cam Talbot turns the puck over behind his net. Matthew Benning turns the puck over near the boards on Talbot’s right side. Miles Wood gets the puck to Travis Zajac who is alone in front of Talbot. Zajac puts on a show and tucks the puck between Talbot’s pads. It’s 3-1 New Jersey at this point. The Oilers are quite lucky it wasn’t 5-1 by the end of the period.
- The Devils are creating chances, the Oilers are hemmed in their own zone for significant portions of the period. The second period ends with the Devils up 3-1, and the Oilers have just one shot in the period.
- Even though it hasn’t been a good game for the Oilers at this point, all they need really is just one goal to help turn things around. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it never comes. The Oilers can’t get it screwed on tight enough until the game is well out of grasp.
- I swear to God, I just saw this goal. Another turnover from Benning, same place as the last. Zajac’s got a body near him this time, but that’s all she wrote. It’s 4-1 Devils at this point, and you can begin to dim the lights.
- Oilers make it interesting with a goal midway through the third period by Leon Draisaitl. Leon pumps home his first of the year from Milan Lucic and Connor McDavid. Unfortunatley for the Oilers, it’s too little, too late at this point.
- The Oilers are awakened by Draisaitl’s goal. They’re not going to score any more at this point however, as Stefan Noesen scores an empty netter for the Devils to tie a knot on this one 5-2.
- It was not a strong game for the Oilers. From Talbot allowing a goal on the first shot to Matthew Benning giving the puck away twice in the same area of the ice (resulting in a goal twice), it’s a game the Oilers hope to flush and move on from.
- Want some good news? Connor McDavid is still Connor McDavid. Two assists for the team captain, he’s just getting warmed up.
- Milan Lucic had a goal and an assist, which is great to see. Lucic’s struggles last year are well documented, it’s good to see him score two points in the season opener.
- Evan Bouchard made his regular season debut this afternoon, he finished with just under sixteen minutes of ice time (including a couple of minutes on the power play). I’m not sure if the Oilers will have many more games like the one we saw today (we’ll have a better idea in a half dozen more games), but if they are, ship him back to London.
- Oilers had just nineteen shots. Plain and simple, you’re not going to win very many games with just nineteen shots.
- There’s no action between now and Thursday when the Oilers are in Boston to take on the Bruins. They’ll need to play volumes better than they did this afternoon in order to have a chance.