The Oilers came out strong and showed some early desperation that helped them establish a quick 2-0 advantage courtesy of Colin Fraser. The gritty centerman recorded his first two goals of the season in the first period, as the Oilers looked poised to record an important road triumph.
But the Devils didn't go away. After trailing 2-1 at the first intermission and 3-2 at the second, the Devils kept pressing and eventually tied the game late in the final frame, setting the stage for an Ilya Kovalchuk overtime winning goal on the powerplay. With the loss, Edmonton falls to 1-2-1 on its current road trip with one final opportunity to equalize their record Sunday morning in New York.
A Dustin Penner penalty early in overtime signaled trouble for the league's worst penalty killing unit. After maintaining possession for an extended period, the puck eventually found its way to the stick of Ilya Kovalchuk. His bullet of a one-timer rang off the post and in, beating Dubnyk clean on a shot he had little chance on. In game where the Oilers were either in the lead or tied all night, the ending to tonight's game was particularly painful for a team currently struggling on the road.
With Shawn Horcoff currently out of the lineup, the need for others to step up in the faceoff department is essential. Both Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner amassed impressive percentages tonight, as each had a 57% success rate in the dot.
New Jersey's Mattias Tedenby and Alexander Vasyunov each scored their first career NHL goals tonight.
Edmonton's losing streak extends to three games, but the Oilers still have the opportunity to salvage a .500 record on the trip with a win in New York Sunday morning.
The Oilers' penalty kill let them down again tonight with only a 50% rate of efficiency.
In just his second start of the season, Devan Dubnyk showcased some incredible skill midway through tonight's third period. A rebound landed in the slot area where Mattias Tedenby fired a quick snapshot. In what looked to be a sure goal, Dubnyk hopped to his feet and flashed the leather in dramatic fashion as he denied the rookie with a glove save that will dominate the highlight reels. At that point in time, the save preserved Edmonton's 3-2 lead that would eventually be relinquished later in the frame.
Chemistry, confidence, and raw talent. Those were the qualities on display tonight from the entire top line. The revamped unit including Hemsky, Hall and Gagner showed some incredible skill tonight as they provided the Oilers' offensive attack with slick moves and opportunities all night long. While the trio only collected a combined two points this evening, their efforts were the driving force behind an offence that desperately needed to develop some chemistry and confidence moving forward.
With some shuffling and and inconsistency on the backend, Ryan Whitney continues to be a rock on the Oilers' blueline. Crisp passes, solid positioning and a spark to the offensive game highlighted his performance tonight. Another two assists added to his total against the Devils gives him a team-leading 13 points (all assists), in addition to his excellent defensive play and tough minutes (30:26 tonight) against top offensive lines.
Kurtis Foster has been a solid addition to the Oilers' blueline for a number of reasons, but his physical play is perhaps one of the most underrated aspects of his game. Early in the first period, Patrick Elias tried to make a move around Foster as he attempted a spin move that was stuffed almost immediately. Elias turned and ran into the shoulder and forearm of the 6'5" Foster, which resulted in a violent tumble to the ice and a turnover in the offensive zone.
Coming into tonight, Edmonton had a perfect 2-0-0 record when leading after one period of play. Coincidentally, New Jersey was 0-7-0 record when trailing after one. The Oilers took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission but ultimately fell 4-3 in overtime, adding firsts to each of the team's records in that area.
"For a while it looked like two teams who were playing not to lose. That being said, and coming off last night and a couple pretty good licks, I thought we showed some metal."
- Head Coach Tom Renney on the loss to New Jersey
Sunday, November 14 at New York 10:30 a.m. MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)
With a below .500 record (1-2-1) on the current road trip, the opportunity to equalize goes Sunday when the Oilers play an early-morning game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It's an excellent opportunity to finish the trip on a high note and with a reasonably successful overall record.