Devils Fall Flat Against Oilers

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils lost 6-3 to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night at the Rock in a performance that Devils fans would love to forget. The Devils dropped to 16-13-2 while Edmonton snapped their three-game losing skid, improving to 14-15-1.

Game Recap

Period One

The Devils’ trend of slow starts reared its ugly head as they surrendered a goal just 24 seconds into play. Ryan McLeod, brother of Devils’ Michael McLeod, scored from Sam Gagner thanks to poor coverage in the Devils’ defensive zone.

Exactly five minutes later, the Oilers scored again. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins banged in a rebound from Mattias Ekholm and Connor McDavid, giving the Oilers an early 2-0 lead. That marked the end of the night for the Devils’ goalie, Akira Schmid, who was pulled in favor of Vitek Vanecek.

Despite the slow start, the Devils found their legs later in the period and pulled within one when Dawson Mercer scored on the rush. Michael McLeod also tallied an assist to extend his point streak to three games.

The Devils outshot the Oilers 12-9 in the period.

Period Two

Jonas Siegenthaler struck early in the second with his first goal of the season, tying the game at two. Simon Nemec got on the score sheet with a primary assist, and Michael McLeod tacked on another point as well.

Vanecek came up huge for the Devils, as he made some massive saves to keep the game tied. At 16:26, Timo Meier broke his goal drought to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. Loud cheers and chants of “Timo Meier” rained down from the Prudential Center crowd as the forward got himself back in the scoring column. Mercer added another point to his nightly total.

Period Three

The Devils had a nightmarish start to the third. At 1:40, McDavid scored from Ekholm and Nugent-Hopkins. Siegenthaler tripped over Vanecek, wiping himself out of the play and leaving the net wide open for McDavid as Vanecek was backward in the blue paint.

Less than a minute later, at 2:22, Leon Draisaitl scored on the backhand following a turnover from Kevin Bahl. The goal was unassisted. At 2:49, the Oilers scored their third goal in just over a minute. Adam Erne got his first of the season from Gagner as he caught Vanecek sliding out of the crease.

The Oilers tacked on one more at 9:04 to put the nail in the coffin on a brutal night for New Jersey. Ryan McLeod got his second goal of the night off a sloppy turnover in the corner behind Vanecek. The goal was unassisted. The Devils were outshot 38-26 and left the ice to a serenade of boos.

Final Takeaways

This was an ugly loss for New Jersey. Defensive breakdowns failed high-risk passes, and lackluster goaltending bit the Devils badly, as has been the story all season. The slow start didn’t help either, as they were almost immediately playing from behind, thanks to a blown coverage and overall lack of attention to detail.

The goaltending was a letdown as well. Schmid was pulled after barely playing five minutes, and Vanecek, though he looked very strong in the second, fell flat in the third. It is no secret that goaltending has been a glaring issue for the Devils all season, and there is certainly potential for Tom Fitzgerald, the Devils’ general manager, to make a move to acquire a goalie following the holiday roster freeze.

Up Next

The Devils have one more chance to right the ship before the holiday break. They will face off against the struggling Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at 7 p.m.

This is the third meeting of the season between the Devils and Red Wings. The Devils won the first meeting 4-3 but were shut out in the second, losing 4-0. The Red Wings are 15-13-4 on the season but have lost their last four contests and are 1-6-1 in their last eight.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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