With the number of games trickling down before the Sochi Winter Olympic break, so does the opportunity to gain some ground in the playoff standings. Many teams find themselves scrambling to do whatever it takes in hopes of finding a win, especially teams in the Eastern Conference. Just ask the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils were able to pick up a much needed win Friday night against a horrific Edmonton Oilers club, but not without a little luck on their side. Not only did the Devils save themselves the drama of a shootout, it was rookie, Jon Merrill who scored the game- winning goal in overtime for the red tails. Discipline wise, both teams did an excellent job, only totaling 12 penalty minutes between themselves. However, it was Edmonton that had advantages in almost every aspect of the game. This one left Edmonton fans tearing their hair out and Jersey fans gasping with a sigh of relief.
New Jersey turned the puck over a whopping 12 times, yet Edmonton was only able to find the back of the net once. Edmonton’s defense was superb as well, giving up only 24 shots while intercepting the puck six times. The Oilers won in the blocked shots department, doubling up the Devils, 14-7. Perhaps the most impressive stat was the face-off comparison. The Oilers were able to tally up 27 face-off wins compared to the Devils’ mere registry of 12.
For the Oilers, they’ll most likely play the role of spoilers from here on out. The Devils however, find themselves in a serious hunt for a playoff spot with seven other teams. New Jersey may not be playing it’s best hockey of the season, but at this point, any team sniping out playoff positions will take a win how ever they can get it.