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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ New Jersey Devils

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Can the Oilers make it four in a row with a stop in New Jersey?

New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers
Haven’t gotten used to Jersey Wayne Simmonds yet
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (3-0-0) vs

New Jersey Devils (0-2-1)

10 October 2019

Prudential Center

5 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: All About The Jersey

FOUR GOOD REASONS

James Neal scored four goals en route to Edmonton’s 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. Zack Kassian had one for the Oilers while Mikko Koskinen turned aside 25 of 27 shots to pick up his first win of the season. Connor McDavid picked up three assists on the night. Leon Draisaitl had two assists. Five goals, good guys. Two goals bad guys. Good.

The Oilers chased Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov from his net after allowing Edmonton’s fourth goal. Varlomov stopped just 15 of 19 total shots before being replaced by Tomas Greiss, who stopped seven of eight in relief.

The Edmonton Oilers are 3-0 to start the season, they look to make it a cool 4-0 tonight with a visit to the Devils. You ready?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

I’ve been put into a great position here to play and overall I just like the way our team plays. We’re playing fast, we’re jumping on teams and you can tell.

Source

That’s James Neal after his four goal outburst against the Islanders on Tuesday night.

Truer words have never been spoken. Neal has been put into a great position to play after escaping the clutches of the Calgary Flames. Neal has six goals in three games, which is one goal away from his 2018-19 total of seven. Enjoy this hot start from James Neal. It gives me great hope that he may hit the 20 goal mark this season, which would be pretty fantastic considering the Oilers were able to unload four years of Milan Lucic with a NMC. There will be times in the future that James Neal will not compile six goals in a three goal span. Until that time, please continue to enjoy his comically large shooting percentage of 43%.

The Devils are saying

I thought he played good, he made some great plays, he had some breakdowns. Obviously, collectively, it wasn’t enough on the offense side. We’ve got to get better on that.

Source

That’s Devils Head Coach John Hynes on Cory Schneider’s performance in last night’s 4-0 loss to the Flyers.

It’s still quite early to be drawing too many conclusions based on a few games, but the Devils haven’t had a great go of things so far. Just one point in three games (0-2-1), they’ve allowed sixteen goals in three games. They’ve scored just six.

LINES

I don’t think Tippett does a whole lot after Tuesday night’s win. He’s going with the same lineup as Tuesday on Long Island.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • I suppose I can get on board with the “score four goals, sleep late” routine. James Neal is hotter than Buster Poindexter in 1987. He’s leading the NHL in goals right now with six. Ride the wave.
  • Okay, let’s roll this out: The Devils have not had a good start to the season. They were held to a mighty zero goals in last night’s 4-0 loss to the Flyers, it’s their second game in as many nights, and their goaltending has been a mess all around. Don’t overlook this game, but you’re not going to see very many opportunities that are better than this one.
  • BIG MOVES? The Devils were quite active this past offseason. They acquired power forward Wayne Simmonds (17-13-30 with PHI/NSH in 2018-19) along with superstar defenceman P.K. Subban (9-22-31 with NSH in 2018-19). These are some big ticket acquisitions, but they haven’t turned the scoring key in this young season just yet. Couple these players with a guy named Taylor Hall (11-26-37 in 2018-19), and you’d think that the mystery would get solved sooner than later.
  • NET GAINS: It looked good on paper for Mikko Koskinen in his first victory (27 saves on 29 shots), but there was a crossbar where he was cleanly beaten and a goal called back from a kick. What’s it all mean? The 5-2 Islanders victory could’ve gone either way, though I’ll take how it ended. I think Tippett goes back to Mike Smith tonight (2-0-0, .898 SV% / 3.50 GAA). Koskinen gets the nod for his second straight game (1-0-0, .926 SV% / 2.00 GAA). I’ve got Mackenzie Blackwood (0-1-1, .800 SV% / 6.58 GAA) going for the Devils tonight - unless they slot Schneider in for back-to-back action.
  • SICK BAY - For the Oilers, defenceman Adam Larsson is out for some time (fibula). Alex Chiasson and Josh Archibald are still day-to-day with illnesses. The Devils will be without defenceman Brian Strait (concussion).