The New Jersey Devils are the hottest team in the NHL. They’ve won 12 straight games and are 15-1 in their last 16 games after losing their first two games of the season. They’ve outscored teams 54-22 during their 12-game winning streak which included a 4-3 in Edmonton on November 3rd.
They aren’t just winning games — they are crushing teams.
— Outside of outscoring teams 54-22, the Devils have averaged 35.6 shots/game while allowing 26.4. They are outscoring teams 33-12 at 5×5. They are averaging one goal against/game at 5×5. Last season the Calgary Flames allowed the fewest 5×5 goals allowing 1.7/game. The Devils have been outstanding defensively, but it hasn’t hurt them offensively. Edmonton will need their best effort if they hope to end the Devils’ streak.
— The Devils won a franchise-best 13 consecutive games between February 26th and March 23rd, 2001. Their current 12-game winning streak is the second longest in franchise history and tied for the 11th longest in NHL history.
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New Jersey is the third team in the last six seasons to win 12 in a row. Florida won 13 in a row last season and Columbus won 16 in 2017, which is the second longest behind Pittsburgh’s 17-game winning streak between March and April 1993.
— New Jersey has averaged 24.7 shots against/game all season. If the Oilers are looking for a positive, the 37 shots on goal they fired in their 4-3 loss were the most against the Devils this season. Calgary (twice) is the only other team to have 30 shots on goal v. the Devils, but the Devils have won all three games when allowing 30+ shots. While the Oilers had 37 shots, the Devils fired 43.
— New Jersey has outshot its opponents in 16 of 18 games. The Flames outshot them 35-20 and Colorado did 24-23, but New Jersey won both games. In their other 16 games, they’ve outshot teams by an average of 14.7 shots/game. They shoot from everywhere and their forwards are always going to the net. The Oilers have to limit turnovers, manage the puck well and box out the Devils’ forwards.
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— Edmonton is 7-1 when scoring first this year, and their only loss came to New Jersey. The Devils are 6-0 when allowing the first goal. They’ve been amazing at coming back. Last season they were 11-30-3 when allowing the first goal. Everything about the Devils is vastly improved this season, but it also isn’t sustainable. Eventually, they will start losing games and being able to overcome allowing the first goal. Only two teams had a winning% above .500 last season (St. Louis and Florida).
— There are no noticeable weaknesses on the Devils. You might say the PP, because it sits 21st, but it is still 20.3%. They are 21st in PP chances/game at 3.28. But they don’t need a dominant PP to win.
— I like the decision to start Stuart Skinner again tonight and then play Jack Campbell vs. the Islanders on Wednesday. Skinner has had a Sv% below .907 in two of his nine games. He’s been very consistent, and I’d give him another shot to defeat the Devils.
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— Connor McDavid has 22 points in 12 career games v. the Devils. His 1.83 points/game v. the Devils is third highest against an NHL opponent. He has 1.90 v. Philly and 1.91 v. Columbus. He’s registered a point in all 12 games. He’s had two, three-point games, and has registered one point in four games and two points in the other six. In eight of the 12 last games, he’s picked up two points.
— The Devils’ top forwards have produced the following v. Edmonton: Jesper Bratt has 4-4-8 in seven games, Nico Hischier, 2-5-7 in eight games and Jack Hughes has 2-1-3 in five games. Miles Wood produced 2-1-3 in the Devils victory this year and he has seven points in eight games v. Edmonton. That is his highest points/game (0.87) against any NHL opponent.
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— Slow starts have plagued the Oilers. They’ve only led a game after the first period three times. They are 3-0 when leading after 20 minutes, but they don’t do it often enough. They’ve been outscored 20-13 in the first period. Only Arizona (-10), Philadelphia and Chicago (-9), and Washington (-8) have been outscored more in the first frame. They are 23rd in goals scored in the first period, but they are third in the second frame (26) and tied for seventh in the third period with 23. They are -7 in the first period, +3 in the second and +2 in the third. They need to reduce their goals against in each period, but their slow starts have been an issue much of this season.