1/7/17 Game Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs. New Jersey Devils

Adam Larsson returns to face his former team at the Prudential Center as the New Jersey Devils (16-17-7) battle the Edmonton Oilers (20-13-7) in New Jersey’s second of their three-game home stand. Keith Kinkaid is expected in net for the Devils after Cory Schneider’s rough start last night, and Cam Talbot is expected to start for the Oilers. Edmonton is coming off a 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins, a game that Patrick Maroon score a hat trick. New Jersey fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, 4-2, as a late third period comeback fell incomplete.

The Devils will not hold practice this morning (although, they probably should). The Oilers practiced up in Boston and flew in as well yesterday but they will also practice this morning. There is a lot of buzz surrounding this game, rightfully so, as its the first time both Adam Larsson and Taylor Hall will be facing their former teams since that blockbuster trade happened back in June. Larsson spoke to the media yesterday about returning to New Jersey and who had an impact on him (he choked up when he mentioned Andy Greene, I was emotional). Larsson’s Twitter header is still Kyle Palmieri, with whom he was very close while in New Jersey even though they only played together for a single season. Hall will reunite with the team that drafted him 1st overall back in 2010 and who he played six years for. It will be tough for both of them to face their former teammates, especially when they’ve played with them as long as they have. And while I’m anticipating Larsson and Palmieri’s reunion, I’m also looking forward to Hall and Jordan Eberle’s. When the trade initially happened, many people thought that New Jersey robbed Edmonton but Adam is a very good defenseman and filled a hole that Edmonton desperately needed to address. Who “won” the trade remains to be seen.

But since this is the first time these teams are seeing each other this season, there aren’t any previous games to reflect on. Edmonton can and will score many goals tonight if the rest of their games are any indication, averaging about 2.83 per game (9th in the NHL). They are also 9th in the NHL at scoring on the power play, with a 20.9% success rate. Compare this to New Jersey’s 12.8. New Jersey went 0-32 (I think? Could be more and it wouldn’t matter) but P.A. Parenteau’s goal last night was a power play goal. However, they’re PP still needs a lot of work. New Jersey’s penalty kill is slightly better than Edmonton’s at 82.8% compared to Edmonton’s at 81.1%. But Edmonton takes a lot of shots (31.3 on average) and scores a lot of goals. New Jersey is dead last in average shots on goal so the number doesn’t really matter at this point. New Jersey’s goaltending and defense really need to be on point if they have any hope of salvaging at least a point in this game (two would be even better). Here’s to hoping Taylor Hall scores a hat trick against his former team. Maybe he’ll want to prove them wrong?

Connor McDavid currently leads the league in points (45) and has 14 goals on the season. Patrick Maroon had a hat trick in Thursday night’s game against Boston. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored (and just as a side note, I wouldn’t mind if he came to New Jersey too). Parenteau has 12 goals on the season, and seven in his last 12 games played.

Captain Andy Greene will not be in the game tonight and Jacob Josefson may not be either. We still don’t know exactly what is ailing Greene but I’m sure it’s something serious. Luke Gazdic was a healthy scratch last night. Vern Fiddler did skate this morning.

But we do know both Hall and Larsson will be in their respective lineups as the New Jersey Devils take on the Edmonton Oilers in their first meeting of the season. Puck drops at 7PM and pre game begins at 6:30PM.

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