Oilers battle the Devils in New Jersey
EDMONTON OILERS (6-6-1) at
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (7-4-2)
Start Time: 5:38 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The Edmonton Oilers play the sixth game of their seven-game road trip tonight in New Jersey against the Devils.
The team has spent the last several days in Manhattan following a pair of very different 5-4 losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The club let a 4-2 third period lead slip away in Columbus, resulting in a 5-4 regulation time defeat and then the following night found themselves down 5-0 in the second period before rallying to make things interesting. However, they came up just short in a 5-4 loss.
Tonight is the second game in as many nights for New Jersey, who were actually at Detroit yesterday evening. They dropped a 3-1 decision to the Red Wings.
Since franchise goaltender Martin Brodeur went down with an injury, the Devils are 1-2-0 with the lone victory being a 4-3 shootout win against Tampa Bay.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers gets the start in goal after stopping all 14 shots he faced in mop-up duty against the Penguins on Thursday. Deslauriers has played in two games this season, his only two career NHL appearances. He has a 2.09 goals-against average and .930 save percentage with a 1-0-0 record... Ales Hemsky
has picked up points in seven of his last eight games. He has three goals and six assists for nine points in that time... In an effort to kick-start his offence, Craig MacTavish has slotted Sam Gagner
on the top line alongside Dustin Penner
and Hemsky for tonight. Gagner has only two points - both assists - in 12 games this season.
DEVILS TO WATCH:
Zach Parise is off to a great start this season with 10 goals through 13 games. He also has 15 points, which leads the team in scoring... With four goals and nine points in 13 outings, Patrik Elias is second on the team in points... He is tied with Brian Gionta, who has two goals and nine points... Goaltender Scott Clemmensen could get his first start of the season tonight with the Devils having played back-to-back games. He has a 3.46 goals-against average and .895 save percentage with a 4-3-1 record in eight games with Lowell (AHL). .
Edmonton – Ladislav Smid
is doubtful; New Jersey – Martin Brodeur is out. Paul Martin is day-to-day. Bobby Holik is out. Andy Greene is out. Brian Rolston is doubtful. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond is doubtful.
- Will be available shortly.
Grebeshkov activated from NHL Injured Reserve
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today that the Edmonton Oilers have activated defenceman Denis Grebeshkov from the NHL Injured Reserve List. ...more
The Other Side
- Jersey's Team hosts Edmonton tonight - After suffering a loss in their first road game in two weeks, the Devils look to regroup back home at Prudential Center, where they face the Edmonton Oilers tonight (7:30 p.m., MSG Plus, Bloomberg 1130 AM). ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Ask an Oiler: Strudwick in New York City - Jason Strudwick took the time on an off day to answer fans' questions submitted throughout the week in our Ask an Oiler feature. Follow the link to see what Jason had to say in part one of a two-part feature. ...more
- My Five - Shopping with Sheldon Souray - Sheldon Souray has nothing against Celine Dion -- there are simply certain songs that he'd rather not hear the Canadian songstress perform. Click the link for Sheldon's "off-limits" Celine list, along with his Top 5 in three other categories. ...more
- The LINK: Shopping with Erik Cole - In the Friday edition of The Link, Oilers players gather at Daryl Katz's home to listen to a motivational speaker and we go shopping with Erik Cole as he looks to make a new home here in Edmonton. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
A season-long road trip has proved frustrating for the Edmonton Oilers, but they will look to take advantage of the New Jersey Devils, who are still adjusting to life without Martin Brodeur, in Newark on Sunday.
The Oilers (6-6-1) have suffered consecutive 5-4 defeats to drop to 2-3 on their seven-game journey that began Oct. 30.
In Pittsburgh on Thursday, Edmonton fell behind 5-0 in the first 33 minutes and saw its late rally fell short. The Oilers, who have scored 16 goals in their past four games, found the net three times in the first nine minutes of the final period but couldn't come up with the tying score.
"It's tough losing two games by a goal. You keep thinking back to plays that could have made a difference. We just have to go back and keep playing the way we want to play," Edmonton defenseman Tom Gilbert said. "We have to try to put a full 60 minutes the next game."
Mathieu Garon, who lost his fourth consecutive start after winning his first three, was pulled in the second period after giving up a fifth goal. Edmonton's No. 3 goalie, rookie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, stopped all 14 shots he faced.
In his past four starts, Garon (3-4-0) has surrendered 18 goals. His goals-against average has climbed from 2.00 after his first three games to 3.68 following Thursday's loss, his first start in the past four games.
Dwayne Roloson started the three previous games, and went 2-1 but gave up five goals in a 5-4 loss Wednesday at Columbus.
Roloson is winless in six starts against New Jersey with a 2.97 GAA, and Garon has a 0-1-1 mark with one tie versus the Devils, surrendering five goals in those three starts.
Ales Hemsky has scored his first four goals of the season in the past three games to tie for the team lead, and also leads the Oilers with 13 points. He hasn't scored in four career games against New Jersey.
In Saturday's 3-1 loss in Detroit, the Devils (7-4-2) fell for the second time in three games since losing Brodeur to a torn left bicep on Nov. 1. The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer was 6-2-2 this season and was seven victories shy of Patrick Roy's NHL record of 551.
Kevin Weekes has started all three games this week in Brodeur's place. Weekes saw his first action of this season in a tough-luck 2-0 defeat to Buffalo on Monday, survived a shootout Wednesday to beat Tampa Bay but couldn't beat the Red Wings on Saturday.
Devils winger Zach Parise tied the game in the second period with his team-leading 10th goal, but the Red Wings scored two unanswered on Weekes. Detroit's Marian Hossa had a pair of goals - one on a shot in the first period that went between Weekes' pads and the near post.
"I would have liked to have that first one back," said Weekes, who made a season-high 28 saves. "That's why players like (Hossa) are superstars. They put the puck in the net."
Weekes has a 1-2 mark against Edmonton and has allowed 11 goals in those starts.
Parise's goal was his first since a six-game goal streak was snapped on Nov. 1 against Atlanta. He hasn't scored in two career games versus the Oilers.
Edmonton and New Jersey have met four times since the 2001-02 season with the Oilers winning three of those contests and allowing four goals in those victories.