It’s entering the end of November, the National Hockey League season is transitioning through the quarter mark and the Edmonton Oilers are in the midst of their second five-game losing streak already.
On Friday, the Oilers were booed off the ice after a 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider recorded the shutout with a 29-save performance in his 20th consecutive start, which reportedly breaks the club’s old record held by Martin Brodeur.
Goals from Adam Henrique and Tuomo Ruutu less than five minutes apart in the second period were enough for the Devils. Schneider, the workhorse, was solid.
Making matters worse for the Oilers was the loss of forward Benoit Pouliot, who suffered a broken foot blocking a shot and is now out indefinitely.
The Oilers are now at the end of a five-game home stand. It concludes Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, and that could mean even more pain for Edmonton’s fan base.
The Oilers have won only four times on home ice in 12 opportunities to date in the 2014-15 campaign. So yeah, you can understand the fans’ frustrations following yet another disappointing result.
And this once again had the Oilers searching for answers, but saying all the right things.
“What we can control is our desperation and our gamesmanship… The mistakes we made tonight simply can’t happen,” said Taylor Hall, as per the club’s Twitter account.
“That’s the problem with our group right now is that we can’t seem to get the full 60 (minutes),” said head coach Dallas Eakins.
“I don’t question – a lot of nights – their effort. I think that’s a very damning statement against a player, that a player in this league is going to show up and just not try.”
Defenseman Eric Gelinas will replace Jon Merrill tonight when the New Jersey Devils play host to the St. Louis Blues.
Merrill, who has appeared in all 11 games for New Jersey this season scoring a goal and three assists, is nursing an unspecified injury according to Rich Chere of the Star Ledger.
Gelinas has a goal and three assists in eight games this season – he has sat out the previous two games.
Steve Bernier will make his regular season debut on the Devils fourth line tonight alongside Tuomo Ruutu and Stephen Gionta. Bernier was recalled from the Albany Devils on Monday.
In nine American Hockey League games this season, the 29-year-old has a goal and four assists.
Adam Larsson will emerge from the press box for the first time tonight when the Devils host the Rangers at Prudential.
“Really, it was a tough decision not to play him coming out of training camp,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said, per NorthJersey.com. “We just had some great camps by a lot of young defensemen. Then, when we got off to the start we got off to, we won three in a row, it’s tough to make lineup changes.
“But, some things have changed and he’s going to get an opportunity tonight and he’s got to make the most of it.”
Larsson, 21, has failed to live up to the promise that saw him go fourth overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and has been the Devils’ seventh defemsan almost exclusively this season. He’ll draw into the lineup for Eric Gelinas tonight, though, as Gelinas struggled in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Sharks, going minus-1 in just over 16 minutes of ice time.
In other New Jersey lineup moves, Tuomo Ruutu will take a seat in the press box and be replaced by Damien Brunner.
There’s good news on the injury front for the New Jersey Devils as defenseman Jon Merrill returned to practicing with his teammates Sunday.
Merrill, who has been out since Sept. 19 after colliding with teammate Ruslan Fedotenko, had been skating on his own according to GM Lou Lamoriello.
“He’s cleared. We’ve been over-protective,” Lamoriello told the Star-Ledger.
Merrill was left feeling woozy after his collision with Fedotenko and needed help off the ice.
The 22-year-old won’t be in the lineup Sunday when the Devils host the Philadelphia Flyers in preseason action, but veteran camp invite Scott Gomez will.
Gomez is expected to center a line of Tuomo Ruutu and Damien Brunner according to Devils beat reporter Tom Gulitti.
After the Carolina Hurricanes’ campaign ended with their elimination in the regular season, forward Alexander Semin underwent wrist surgery. Since then he’s been rehabbing and should be okay for the start of training camp, general manager Ron Francis said, according to the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander.
That’s sets him up for a possible comeback campaign after he scored just 22 goals and 42 points in 65 games in 2013-14.
The Hurricanes’ injury issues didn’t end with their season though. Forward Andrei Loktionov sustained a shoulder injury while playing in the 2014 World Championship. He will have surgery in Switzerland as a result.
Loktionov is a restricted free agent after scoring seven goals and 22 points in 68 contests. Carolina acquired him from New Jersey as part of the Tuomo Ruutu trade.