Special teams were the story, as New Jersey scored once shorthand (Ilya Kovalchuk) and once on the power-play (Zach Parise, 1:06 into overtime) to spoil the Oilers' homecoming, toppling the home side 2-1 Wednesday night at Rexall Place.
Nikolai Khabibulin got the start in goal, posting 23 saves in the loss. The orange and blue's lone tally was notched by Ales Hemsky, also on the power-play in the third period.
With the Devils in a back-to-back situation and the Oilers beginning a three-game homestand, heavy legs were expected in the early-going; combined, the clubs registered only a shot each in the opening six minutes, but the orange and blue did capture some momentum when Corey Potter stood up New Jersey's Mattias Tedenby at own blueline, sending the 21-year-old to the ice in a heap.
With about 11:35 to play, Nikolai Khabibulin made an ill-advised pass near his cage. The puck was turned over to David Clarkson who attempted a quick wraparound move, but Colten Teubert was quick to the scene, diving and turning aside the veteran near the opposite post.
As the period's 10-minute mark came and went, Taylor Hall caught up to a loose puck at the opponent's hash marks and was in alone on a breakaway, but his backhand try was denied by Johan Hedberg (who made only four saves on nine shots Tuesday night in Calgary).
Through 20 sloppy minutes, the Oilers had extended to a 9-4 edge in shots but were unable to net the icebreaker.
The Oilers were granted a power-play at 4:07 when Zach Parise tripped up Ryan Jones in the neutral zone, putting the Oilers' power-play at the Devils' league-best 90.8-percent penalty to work. That chance passed without a shot, but the home side got another opportunity at 6:44 when Clarkson was assessed a second straight New Jersey minor.
Still without having registered a shot, Jeff Petry coughed up the puck at the blueline and allowed Ilya Kovalchuk to burst in alone on a breakaway. No. 58 attempted to blank the chance and would have been assessed a hooking minor on the play, but the skilled veteran ripped a shot bar-in over Nikolai Khabibulin's shoulder to put the visitors ahead by a 1-0 count with a shorthanded tally.
The Oilers' 0-for-2 man-advantage got another chance to pull the team even at 18:38 when Parise picked up a hooking minor. The Oilers tested Hedberg with a pair of late-period shots, but 37 power-play seconds carried into the third period.
The Oilers pulled even on the shot clock, 15-15, but the Devils' 1-0 lead remained; moments later, however, penalties to Ryan Carter and Ryan Smyth put the teams in a 1:13-long 4-on-4 situation.
Following that open-ice sequence, the Oilers took over. A strong push by Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky kept the opponents hemmed in for an extended period, allowing the orange and blue to engineer several scoring chances, but none were converted. Devils Head Coach Peter DeBoer was prompted to call a timeout, too.
As a result and for the fifth time in the game, the Oilers went back to the power-play when Patrik Elias was charged with tripping at 8:23. This time, the home side made good. Nine seconds into the advantage, Ales Hemsky cocked his weapon and unreleased a bullet from the top of the circle, beating Hedberg up high to tie the game at one.
Ryan Jones was sprung on a partial break late in the period, but his backhand attempt was tossed aside as No. 28 collided with Hedberg, steering the puck to the corner in the process.
With 36 seconds on the clock, Corey Potter was called for tripping Adam Larsson, sending the Devils' power-play back onto the ice in search of the go-ahead goal.
It didn't take long for the visitors to cash in the extra period, as Elias slid a cross-crease pass across to Parise. A sliding Ladislav Smid and Khabibulin were unable to block the dish, as New Jersey's No. 9 tipped it into the gaping cage to seal a 2-1 Devils win.
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