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Edmonton Oilers fend off Devils for seventh straight win

The Edmonton Oilers earned their seventh straight win Sunday afternoon at Rogers Place, dropping the New Jersey Devils 4-1.

“I don’t think anyone has gone through a seven-game winning streak without good goaltending,” Oilers Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said. “Your special teams have to be good, and I think each night we’ve won the special teams battle, or at least tied it. And then the goaltending has been rock-solid.”

Calvin Pickard started in goal for the Oilers and came up big early in the first, stopping Jesper Bratt on a three-on-one. Darnell Nurse then hampered Nico Hischier as he looked at an open net on the rebound. Derek Ryan gave the Oilers the lead with 1:24 to go in the period, taking a pass from Sam Gagner and beating Akira Schmid short side.

Evan Bouchard extended his point streak to eleven games with a big power play slapper in the second period.

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“In the first two periods, we did a pretty good job of limiting the opportunities we gave up,” Knoblauch said.

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Devils goalie Akira Schmid got caught out of his goal early in the third, allowing Evander Kane to set up Connor McDavid for a tap in. Jesper Bratt put the Devils on the board 30 seconds later.

“We’re making teams come through five guys and then our goalies have made some huge saves at big moments,” Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse said post-game. “I think the commitment to defence throughout the whole group has shown. It’s the reason why we’re in this position and climbing out of the spot we’re in–because we’ve really committed and buttoned down on the defensive side.”

The Devils pulled Schmid for an extra attacker with 4:05 left. Pickard made a great stop on Jack Hughes, who had the puck right in the crease. Kane then sealed it with an empty-netter.

Pickard made 26 saves for his first win with the Oilers and first in the NHL since January 28, 2022.

“I want to go out every game with a clear mind and be prepared,” Pickard said. “That preparation makes me have a clear mind when I’m out there on the ice. I felt good today and I just want to build off of it.”

“Obviously he’s stayed ready–it shows all the work that he’s been putting in,” Nurse said of Pickard. “He came out and made some huge saves for us, especially down the line there at the end. It was awesome to see.”

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The Devils, who came into the game with the league’s top power play, were 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

Connor Brown briefly celebrated his first goal of the season early in the game, but it was disallowed as Evander Kane was found guilty of goalie interference on video review.

“You almost have to laugh,” Brown said after the game. “That’s just the way she’s going right now. For me, I’m contributing a lot on the penalty kill and in other aspects so I’m just focused on what I’m doing well and I know the bounces will come.”

The Oilers, 12-12-1, will host Chicago on Tuesday (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 6:30 p.m., game at 8 p.m.).

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