EDMONTON, AB - A strong second period by the Devils helped lift the visitors to a 2-0 win over the Oilers at Rexall Place.
With 2:30 remaining in the first period, Adam Henrique took a turnover the other way for a shorthanded breakaway. His shot went wide and kept the game scoreless after one.
The Oilers doubled up the Devils in shots through 20 minutes, 8-4.
“I thought we had a great start,” Oilers winger Jordan Eberle said. “I thought we pushed the pace, we had a few chances. Ultimately, we have to find one and bury one and go from there. They held in the first period and then we made a few mistakes in the second period and they capitalized. That’s the kind of team they are and we knew that coming in. We still forced a couple of turnovers and they end up in the back of our net. That’s just what happened.”
The Devils turned the game around in the second period. Henrique made up for his earlier miss by burying a chance on a partial breakaway at 10:39 of the middle frame. At that point, the Devils were outshooting the Oilers 15-13 for the game. Steve Bernier and Eric Gelinas each earned assists on the goal.
“I think in the first period we took some penalties,” Devils Head Coach Peter DeBoer said. “We knew they were going to start fast. This was an important game for them. They’re a desperate team over there, so we expected a push in the first period. We just felt going into the second that it was our turn to push back a little bit and I thought we did that.”
The second period continued to tilt in New Jersey’s favour as they took a 2-0 lead at 15:07. Tuomo Ruutu sniped a shot past Viktor Fasth from the faceoff dot.
“New Jersey, for years, what are they? They’re a team that sits back and they wait and they wait, it’s usually a low-scoring affair and they wait for you to turn over the puck,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “Then they usually shove it right where the sun don’t shine. That’s what they did.”
The Devils had 19 shots in the second period after just four in the first, on their way to a 2-0 lead.
The Oilers got some bad news after that period as it was announced that winger Benoit Pouliot is out indefinitely with a broken foot. He took a shot off the skate and left the bench during the game.
In the third period, Eakins pulled Fasth with 3:30 to play, down by two. The Oilers failed to get on the board however and Cory Schneider closed the door for the Devils, making all 29 saves in the shutout win.