Mikko Koskinen made 26 saves for his first shutout of the season as the Edmonton Oilers topped the New Jersey Devils 4-0 Friday night at Rogers Place.
“It was a good team win,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said after the game. “New Jersey is a dangerous team. They’ve got some guys that can really scoot. I thought we did a really good job.”
New Jersey went down to five defenders after Sami Vatanen took a check from Alex Chiasson and didn’t return.
“We did a really good job handling most of it. A couple of goals were just tips or just some breakdowns like that. It wasn’t like it was major, major breakdowns over and over again,” Devils goaltender Cory Schneider said.
“We weren’t conceding too many odd-man rushes and if we got hemmed in, we were able to survive, it seemed like. But losing Sami early on doesn’t help on a back-to-back, but I thought our five D, they stepped up and played a lot of minutes and did the best they could.”
After a scoreless first period, the Oilers took the lead 1:55 into the second. Leon Draisaitl took a breakaway pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and beat Devils goaltender Cory Schneider five-hole with a backhand for his 14th goal of the season.
Later in the frame, Oilers forward Gaetan Haas deflected a Matt Benning point shot for his second goal of the season.
Only 1:06 later, Edmonton forward James Neal swiped home a rebound for his 12th goal of the year.
“I thought we had some good sustained periods of time where we played well and probably maybe deserved a goal or two, but that can happen, especially on the road, especially against a team that is playing pretty dangerous right now, and we didn’t seem to have an answer for that in the second period,” Devils forward Taylor Hall said.
Chiasson added his first goal of the season in the third, tipping a power-play shot by Nugent-Hopkins.
“You could tell there was just a hunger around the net,” Tippett said of Chiasson. “I think the frustration had gotten to the point where he wasn’t going to be denied, and that’s a good sign.”
Nugent-Hopkins and Oilers defenceman Joel Persson both had two assists. It’s the first two points of Persson’s NHL career.
“We set ourselves up well in the first 15-16 games here and we’ve got to keep that rolling,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “It’s a lot of fun when you’re feeling good and winning, and things just come to you when you’re on a roll like that.”
The Devils fall to 4-7-4 on the year and sit last in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division.
“Something bad happens, we have to find a way to keep it there, either goaltending, defence or come back with a response goal and get back into it and get some momentum,” Schneider said of the Devils.
“I think right now we’re letting momentum get away and we’re not getting it back. That’s a key for us right now, to try to find that, so it’s going to be up to us. We can’t let it wear on us, we have to keep working, keep persevering and find a way to get back into games.”
The Oilers (11-5-2) will play in Anaheim on Sunday. Catch the game on 630 CHED with The Faceoff Show at 5:30 p.m. The game will start at 7 p.m.
–With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Scott Johnston