If you were one of the many fans in New Jersey that were unable to make it through the entire game in Edmonton on Monday night, you may be waking up to a surprise.
The New Jersey Devils looked like a team primed for their first win of the season after going 0-1-1 in their first two outings. Jaromir Jagr opened up the scoring by notching his first in a Devils jersey less than five minutes into the first period and Damien Brunner added to the lead with a power play goal for his third in as many games.
Martin Brodeur looked unflappable in goal for New Jersey as the Devils continued to find the back of the net, leading 3-0 after forty minutes of play. Things were going New Jerseys way.
For the fans, a 3-0 lead was a good enough reason to call it a night and go to bed. However, the guys on the ice weren't supposed to do the same.
While it may have seemed a good a time as any for the older crew to catch some sleep, the Oilers youth was not about to let it happen. They would catch up the the Devils and even take a lead in a span of seven minutes and 47 seconds, proving once again that Stan Fischler may be onto something. A three goal lead could be the most dangerous lead in hockey. It certainly was for the Devils as they sat back and watched the Oilers go to work.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found a loose puck on the side of the crease,jamming it by Brodeur and several sprawling players to get the Oilers on the board early in the third. It wouldn't be long before Andrew Ference cut the deficit to 3-2 with a shot from the point. It would take under eight minutes for the Oilers to take a lead with goals coming from David Perron and Taylor Hall with the go-ahead.
With Brodeur on the bench and an Oilers power play dwindling down, it was Patrik Elias that evened the game at four apiece, forcing over time and eventually a shootout for the second straight game for New Jersey.
Jordan Eberle and David Perron’s shootout goals would be enough to seal the first win of the season for the Oilers, handing the Devils their second three game winless streak since 2010-2011.
With plenty of time left in the season, head coach Pete DeBoer believes it’s better to get these losses out of the way now rather than later.
“It's a learning experience early in the season and we've got to get better,” DeBoer said following the Devils loss. “ I liked our game tonight much better than I did in the home opener against the Islanders.”
Had Dallas Eakins watched his team blow a 3-0 lead, he could have gotten away with this tale. His team is young, inexperienced and going through a transition under a new coach. For the Devils however,it’s a tough story to sell when you have 12 players on your roster that are 30-years old or older, a list Stephen Gionta will join tomorrow when he celebrates his 30th birthday.
If it is a learning experience, the Devils have until tonight to absorb their lesson as they get ready to take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight in their second of 22 back-to-backs this season. Cory Schneider will get the start tonight when he returns to Vancouver for the first time since being traded to New Jersey on June 30th.