New Jersey 2 Edmonton 1
EDMONTON — Feeling like they were robbed the night before, the New Jersey Devils were determined to avoid letting another one get away in Edmonton.
Zach Parise scored 1:06 into overtime as the Devils won their third game in four outings with a 2-1 victory over the Oilers on Wednesday.
The victory came on the heels of a 6-3 loss Tuesday in Calgary where they outshot the Flames 38-14.
“It felt good to get a win and avoid losing two in a row on this road trip,” said Parise, who took a feed from Patrik Elias while on the power play and snapped it into a wide-open net behind Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
“We took five penalties and I took two of those. But we have done a really good job penalty killing. It was nice to finally get a second power play of our own in overtime and get the win.”
Ilya Kovalchuk also scored and added an assist for the Devils (24-17-2) who leapt past Toronto into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Devils goalie Johan Hedberg made 22 saves to bounce back from a poor effort in Calgary where he let in four goals on nine shots after taking over for Martin Brodeur in the first period.
“I wanted to make sure I had a good start and make sure the guys knew they could count on me,” said Hedberg. “I had a good feeling about my game all day.”
Ales Hemsky replied for the Oilers (16-22-4) who are falling deeper out of contention with four straight defeats and losses in 11 of their last 13 games.
“It’s always tough to lose in overtime,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “You don’t want to be doing cartwheels over getting a point. You want to get two, that’s what we are all here to do. We played a solid game and didn’t give up too much. The chances were very even.”
There were few chances at either end until midway through the first when Edmonton’s Taylor Hall was sprung for a partial breakaway but was stopped on a pad save by Hedberg.
The shots favoured the Oilers 9-4 in a fairly sedate scoreless first period.
New Jersey finally started the scoring eight minutes into the second frame when Kovalchuk picked off a Jeff Petry pass for a short-handed breakaway and beat Khabibulin high to the glove side for his 17th of the season.
It was the Devils’ league-leading 11th short-handed goal.
“We pressure at the right times when we are on the kill and when we do it a lot of the times we are able to outnumber the opposition going the other way,” Parise said. “It is tough to set up a power play when the other team can do that.”
New Jersey came close to taking a two-goal lead with three minutes remaining in the second when Elias tipped a shot through Khabibulin’s legs, but the veteran netminder was able to reach behind in time to smother the puck.
Edmonton tied the game 1-1 over eight minutes into the third when Hemsky blasted a shot from the top of the faceoff circle on the power play to beat Hedberg for just his fourth of the year, eventually sending the game to extra time.
“It was an important win for us, especially coming the day after a game that we felt we should have won,” said Hedberg. “We really wanted to get it back going in our direction right away. I was very happy to see us score in that overtime.”
The Oilers next play host to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday while the Devils finish off a four-game trip in Winnipeg on Saturday.
Notes: It was just the third time the Devils had played in Edmonton since Dec. 30, 2001 and the only meeting between the two teams this season. … New Jersey forward Adam Henrique is mounting a real challenge to Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the rookie scoring race. The Calder candidates are currently separated by just one point as Nugent-Hopkins, who is out with a shoulder injury, has 35 points and Henrique has 34. … Oilers leading scorer Jordan Eberle remained out with a knee injury but felt like he could start skating soon and could return by the all-star break. … The Oilers brought up forward Milan Kytnar on an emergency recall from the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder in the wake of Gilbert Brule being scooped up on re-entry waivers by the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday and Ryan O’Marra out with the flu. It was Kyntar’s NHL debut. … The Oilers were also without defencemen Ryan Whitney (ankle), Tom Gilbert (knee) and Cam Barker (ankle). … Absent due to injuries for the Devils were centre Travis Zajac (Achilles) and defencemen Andy Greene (foot).