Preview: Devils at Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers have rejoined the race for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference with five wins in six games and look to take advantage of injury-depleted New Jersey when they host the Devils on Wednesday night. All-Star Leon Draisaitl extended his point streak to 14 games with an assist in the first period and added the game-winning goal in overtime to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Sunday as the Oilers improved to 7-2-1 in the last 10 contests.
“We can’t control what everybody else is doing, but we sure as heck can can control the way we act and behave,” Edmonton coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters on Tuesday. “. … There’s a real energy in the team. … We understand the situation we’re in, but it looks a lot more realistic today than it did a week ago and it’s based on our good play. So we want to keep going with that.” The Oilers sit six points behind Arizona for the final wild card spot in the West with one game in hand as they prepare to take on a New Jersey team that has lost seven straight contests (0-6-1). The Devils took a one-goal lead into the third period Tuesday before running out of gas and allowing six goals in the final 20 minutes of a 9-4 loss at Calgary. “It’s a lot of new faces every night and I think that’s tough on a team, but the effort’s been there every night,” New Jersey’s leading scorer Kyle Palmieri told reporters before Tuesday’s contest. “Every guy in this room is working hard to try to win.”
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, Sportsnet One
ABOUT THE DEVILS (25-36-9): Palmieri scored his team-leading 27th goal Tuesday to move within one of reaching 50 points for the third time in four seasons while fellow forward Blake Coleman notched his career-best 20th tally. Center Travis Zajac also scored Tuesday to reach 40 points for the eighth time in his career and is third on the team behind Palmieri and injured Nico Hischier (upper body). Rookie MacKenzie Blackwood surrendered all nine goals Tuesday with veteran Cory Schneider (4-10-3), who allowed one goal in two of his last four games, expected to start Wednesday.
ABOUT THE OILERS (31-31-7): Draisaitl registered 10 goals and 13 assists during his career-high point streak while captain Connor McDavid has recorded at least a point in nine straight to pull within two of reaching 100 for the third consecutive season. Left wing Milan Lucic (hip) could return after missing two games and Hitchcock told reporters forward Jujhar Khaira (foot), along with defenseman Oscar Klefbom (groin), were feeling better Tuesday but did not practice. Goalie Mikko Koskinen (21-15-4, .913 save percentage) has won five straight starts, allowing nine goals in the process with a .948 SP.
1. New Jersey LW Miles Wood (ankle) has joined the team on the trip, but missed his seventh straight game Tuesday.
2. Edmonton F Zack Kassian has scored four times in the last six games and is two shy of his career high of 14.
3. The Devils snapped a four-game losing streak against the Oilers with a 5-2 win at home Oct. 6 as Palmieri and Zajac each scored twice.
PREDICTION: Oilers 5, Devils 2