The new edition of the Edmonton Oilers looked a lot like last season’s version.
The Oilers were badly outplayed Saturday in Gothenburg, Sweden, losing their season opener 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils scored on their first shot of the game just 58 seconds in, when Kyle Palmieri sniped one over the shoulder of Cam Talbot. Just over three minutes later, Connor McDavid streaked into the Devils’ zone on the power play. He went behind the net and centred to Milan Lucic, who popped the puck past Keith Kincaid. The Oilers had two other man advantages in the first but couldn’t cash in.
LISTEN BELOW: Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on 630 CHED
Head coach Todd McLellan said despite the loss, one of the positives from the game was the play of Milan Lucic.
“He was physical, he was making plays, he scored, set up a nice goal. If we evaluate individuals he would get a pretty good check mark from the group.”
WATCH: Edmonton Oilers prospect hitting the right notes, both on and off the ice
The Devils scored twice 1:09 apart early in the second. Palmieri beat Talbot glove side on the power play to make it 2-1. Next, Talbot misread the play stopping the puck behind his own net. He left it right for Miles Wood, who centred to Travis Zajac for the third Devils goal.
LISTEN BELOW: Oilers forward Connor McDavid on 630 CHED
McLellan said the Devils made it hard for his team to break out of their zone.
“Below the goal line they pressured hard, they pressured the half-wall. We could never come out of our zone as a unit or clean so that we could generate speed through the neutral zone. Made for a tough night offensively and defensively.”
Zajac added another one early in the third, maneuvering the puck between Talbot’s legs after being left alone in front. Leon Draisaitl ripped home a one-timer with 8:28 left. Stefan Noesen added an empty net goal to seal it for the Devils.
Oilers netminder Cam Talbot was disappointed with his performance.
“There were those two in the second period that, kinda wanted back and if we don’t give up those two then it’s a different hockey game, so not really thrilled with my performance tonight.”
LISTEN BELOW: Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot on 630 CHED
Lucic and Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist. McDavid had two assists. The shots were 27-19 Devils.
The Oilers will play in Boston Thursday.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.