NEW JERSEY DEVILS (18-13-3) at
EDMONTON OILERS (16-16-3)
7:08 p.m. MST
Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Edmonton/New Jersey Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
The Edmonton Oilers play their final home game before Christmas tonight against a rare opponent – the New Jersey Devils.
With a record of 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, the Oilers need to keep winning in order to keep pace in the race for a postseason berth in the Western Conference. Although the season has not yet reached its midway point, the top eight teams are starting to separate a little from the pack. The Oilers sit 10th in the Western Conference with 35 points – four points behind the Anaheim Ducks who are in eighth.
Edmonton has picked up points in each of its last five games with a record of 3-0-2 during that time. Each of the team’s last four games has gone to a shootout – an NHL record. Their last game was a 2-1 shootout loss to Dallas.
New Jersey sits in second place in the tight Eastern Conference and first in the Atlantic Division, two points up on the New York Rangers. Due to the construction of their new arena, they started the season on a nine-game road trip during which they went 3-5-1.
The Devils’ season turned around in late November when they won nine games in a row. Since that time, they have won twice in six games (2-3-1). Their last game was a 5-0 loss to Vancouver on Tuesday.
Tonight’s game is New Jersey’s first at Edmonton since a 2-1 Devils win on December 30, 2001. The last time these two teams met at all, New Jersey also won 2-1 – the game went to a shootout on December 12, 2005.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (3:34 PM):
Dwayne Roloson will not be the backup tonight due to his flu ailment. Backing up in goal tonight will be University of Alberta Golden Bears goaltender Aaron Sorochan.
LINEUP UPDATE (11:26 AM):
Dwayne Roloson missed the morning skate with the flu but Mathieu Garon was the scheduled starter for tonight anyway... Dick Tarnstrom draws into the lineup with Denis Grebeshkov the odd man out... Geoff Sanderson will also sit this one out in favour of Zack Stortini
OILERS TO WATCH: Dustin Penner
has been consistently solid for the Oilers over the past month. Since November 26, he has five goals and five assists for 10 points in 12 games and was only held off the scoresheet three times. He’s also +8 during that time… Mathieu Garon is likely to get the start in goal tonight if Coach Craig MacTavish continues his recent rotation. Garon’s last game was a 2-1 shootout win last Saturday against Vancouver. He has won each of his last two starts – both shootouts. Garon is 1-0-1 in three career games against the Devils with a 2.18 goals against average and .918 save percentage.
DEVILS TO WATCH:
Goaltender Martin Brodeur rarely puts together two consecutive shaky performances so he will be on his game tonight following a 5-0 loss to the Canucks Tuesday. At age 35, he still plays a majority of the workload for his team. Backup Kevin Weekes has only started four games this season. Brodeur is one of only two goaltenders in NHL history to have more than 500 wins and has a 2.35 GAA and .910 save percentage this season to rank among the league leaders… With the offseason departure of Scott Gomez, Zach Parise has emerged as the club’s offensive leader. He has 15 goals and 35 points in 34 games.
Edmonton – Dwayne Roloson (flu) is probable. Ethan Moreau (ankle) is doubtful. Matt Greene (ankle) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; New Jersey – Jay Pandolfo (groin) is questionable. Cam Janssen (shoulder) is out.
Tuesday night’s game in Vancouver was New Jersey’s first outside the Eastern Time Zone this season and their first in a stretch of 93 regular season games since November 23, 2006. In their last five games outside their time zone, the Devils are 0-5-1… From the useless stats department, Shawn Horcoff
leads the Oilers in points scored in Friday night games with seven points (2g, 5a) in four games. Hemsky and Gagner are next with three each… Brodeur is 7-5-2 in 14 career games against the Oilers with a 2.46 GAA and .898 save percentage.
Video from Wednesday and Thursday...
- Pre-Game Comments from Stortini, Garon & MacTavish. 700K
- Thursday: Post-Practice comments from Reasoner, Tarnstrom, Gagner, Horcoff & MacTavish. 700K
- Wednesday: Gagner, Staios, Pitkanen, Penner, Stoll & Souray all spoke with the media following an off-ice workout at Rexall place on Wednesday. 700K
- Wednesday: Craig MacTavish spoke with the media on Wednesday, covering numerous topics. 700K
Zack is Back and other stories - Zack Stortini
and Dick Tarnstrom will both be back in the lineup tonight. The goaltender rotation continues with Mathieu Garon starting tonight and the Oilers practice up on Thursday in anticipation of a fifth straight shootout this evening. ...more
Oilers sign Golden Bears goaltender Aaron Sorochan to an amateur tryout -
With goaltender Dwayne Roloson sidelined due to the flu, the Edmonton Oilers have signed University of Alberta Golden Bears goaltender Aaron Sorochan to an NHL amateur try-out agreement. ...more
The Other Side
- Prudential Center Spotlight: Fire & Ice - The Fire Lounge and the Belvedere Vodka Ice Lounge are taking the Prudential Center experience to new heights. Club Seat holders can enjoy these exclusive clubs before, during and after Devils games. ...more
- NJD Snapshots: John Madden - John Madden is in his 8th NHL season. During that time, he's earned many accolades, establishing himself as a defensive specialist. This year, #11 upped his game and has found the back of the net more regularly. ...more
- NJD Audio: Rod Pelley - Matt Loughlin, the radio voice of the Devils talks to forward Rod Pelley about getting close to the comforts of home in his native British Columbia on the Devils' upcoming road trip through western Canada. ...more
Item of the Game
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Oilers Photo Blog brought to you by Bell - In this edition of the Oilers Photo Blog brought to you by Bell, Morley Scott provides photos and captions from Detroit, St. Louis, California, Dallas and back here in Edmonton. ...more
- Sam Gagner on Oilers Live - Sam Gagner was today's guest on Oilers Live, answering your questions. If you missed the show, you can still listen to the archive by following the link. ...more
- Kevin Lowe speaks with Dan Tencer - Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe sat down with Dan Tencer of 630 CHED on Wednesday night in studio for close to 30 minutes. Follow the link to listen to the interview. ...more
From the Wire
The New Jersey Devils haven't lost in Edmonton in over 12 years. Their last visit there, however, was nearly six years ago, making the former fact seem less impressive.
The Devils look to rebound from one of their worst performances of the season Friday night when they continue a three-game road trip through western Canada with a matchup against the Oilers.
Very little went right for the Devils (18-13-3) as the trip got underway Tuesday with a 5-0 loss to Vancouver.
Martin Brodeur was outplayed by Roberto Luongo, matching a season high by allowing five goals on 24 shots in arguably a matchup of the league's best goaltenders.
Brodeur was 11-1-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average and two shutouts in his previous 13 starts.
"Every time I play against one of the top goalies I always look forward to the challenge," Brodeur said. "I was definitely disappointed we had that type of game."
New Jersey, which failed to score for the seventh time this season, dropped to 2-3-1 since a nine-game winning streak. The Devils are 1-2-1 in four road contests after winning five straight away from home.
Although they opened the season with a nine-game road trip, Tuesday marked the Devils' first game outside the Eastern time zone in 93 regular-season games since Nov. 27, 2006. They are 0-4-1 in their last five contests outside their own time zone.
This will be New Jersey's first game at Edmonton since a 2-1 victory on Dec. 30, 2001. They are 4-0-0 with one tie in their last five visits, last losing there on Oct. 31, 1995.
The road trip concludes Sunday in Calgary, where the Devils haven't played since March 5, 2003.
Left wing Zach Parise - New Jersey's goals, assists and points leader - has been held to one goal in his last seven games. Also struggling is left wing Patrik Elias, who has no goals in that span.
The Oilers (16-16-3) set an NHL record by appearing in their fourth straight shootout Tuesday, a 2-1 home loss to Dallas.
Dustin Penner scored the lone regulation goal for Edmonton, which has at least one point in eight of its last 10 games (6-2-2). Ten of the Oilers' 16 wins this season have come in shootouts.
"Who goes four shootouts in a row?" Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "I can't explain it that's for sure. The last two were good tough games against close-checking teams and for a young team I thought we played exceptionally well positioning and had outstanding goaltending. We're pleased with the last couple games in terms of what we gave up and what we didn't give up."
MacTavish appears to have settled on a rotation of goaltenders Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson, meaning Garon would be Friday's likely starter.
Garon has been the better of the two lately, going 4-1-1 with one shutout and a 2.29 GAA in his last six appearances. Roloson, meanwhile, is 2-2-1 with a 3.23 GAA in his past six starts.
Shawn Horcoff has been a key contributor during Edmonton's hot streak, tallying seven goals and seven assists in his last 11 games. His 16 goals matches his total from all last season.