The Devils enter this matchup at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings after compiling only 12 points through their first 13 games of the season. New Jersey will be playing this game on the second night of a back-to-back set after taking on the Flames in Calgary on Thursday. Meanwhile, this game will conclude a three-game homestand for Edmonton, which will play seven of their next time games on the road. The Oilers enter atop the Pacific Division standings with 22 points and a 10-5-2 overall record. After losing two in a row, can Edmonton get back on the winning track versus the Devils on Friday night?
McDavid tallies two points in lossThe Oilers snapped a three-game point streak on Wednesday night with a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist while Zack Kassian scored his fourth of the season for the Oilers, who remain one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division race. Mike Smith stopped 20 of the 23 shots that he faced on the evening but has now allowed three goals or less in nine of his 10 starts this year.
Here’s Connor McDavid’s goal last night at half speed: pic.twitter.com/uFyIC3GpJD— 𝗔𝗱𝗮𝗺 (@OilersAdam) November 5, 2019
After posting a career-high 28 goals last season, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has struggled in 17 games, scoring just one goal on 42 shots. Edmonton is hoping the veteran winger can breakthrough after failing to cash in on a couple of high-danger chances in recent games.
Special teams have been a major reason for the Oilers’ early-season surge. Edmonton has converted on 27.1 percent of their power-play opportunities, which ranks second in the NHL. They’ve also killed off 83.3 percent of their penalties -- good for 13th in the league.
Backup goaltender Mikko Koskinen is scheduled to be in net for the Oilers for the final game of their homestand on Friday night. Koskinen enters with a 5-1-1 overall record to go along with a 2.46 GAA and .917 save percentage in seven starts. He’s won each of his last five contests and allowed three goals or less in all seven his starts, including three overtime affairs. Koskinen struggled in his only start against the Devils last season, allowing four goals in 18 shots before getting pulled in the second period.
Schneider still looking for first win of the seasonThe Devils were unable to keep up with the Calgary on Thursday, losing 5-2 on the road against the Flames. Jack Hughes and Nikita Gusev both scored to give the Devils a 2-1 second period lead but they were ultimately undone by four unanswered goals by the Flames from that point on. Mackenzie Blackwood allowed five goals on 38 shots for the Devils, who snapped a two-game winning streak with the loss.
Matt Niskanen lays out Jack Hughes and Kyle Palmieri comes to his defense pic.twitter.com/pSegMcSj0s— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 1, 2019
New Jersey comes in scoring only 2.85 goals per game (19th in the NHL) and allowing 3.69 goals per contest (29th in the NHL). They rank 23rd in the league on the power play, converting 14.8 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage, and they’ve killed off only 75.6 percent of their total penalties for the season (25th in the NHL).
New Jersey is expected to turn to 33-year-old goaltender Cory Schneider for Friday’s game against the Oilers. With Schneider playing at a replacement-level between the pipes, his contract has become a bit of a problem for the Devils. Schneider is 0-3-1 with a 4.71 GAA and .847 save percentage in five starts. Schneider beat Edmonton in his lone start against them last season, allowing three goals on 39 shots.
- Devils are 18-38 in their last 56 games playing on 0 days rest.
- Devils are 34-80 in their last 114 games as an underdog
- Devils are 20-44 in their last 64 overall.
- Oilers are 8-2 in their last 10 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Oilers are 11-1 in their last 12 vs. Metropolitan.