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These two actually started the year fairly hot. The Oilers were first in the West for a brief period while New Jersey surprised the masses with a 7-3-2 right start out of the gates. A winning record that came with big victories over perennial contenders Pittsburgh and Florida. However, the tides turned for both of these squads quickly. Entering this tilt, New Jersey has lost 11 of their last 12 and the Oilers come in with a 3-7-0 streak through their last ten. In other words, this is no longer a battle of heavy (or even middle) weights, this is a contest between two teams in desperate need of a shot in the arm.
We believe the Devils are a bit better than their record suggests, but the talent on the Oilers roster just can’t be denied. We like Edmonton to win by blanking the home squad 3-0.
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The Oilers have a far better chance when it comes to reversing their current losing trend. The Devils are rebuilding nicely but still aren’t quite on pace to claw their way back into relevance just yet. Meanwhile, Edmonton has been atop the pack once and have a great chance to regain their winning ways on their current road swing. With games against New Jersey, the slightly slumping New York Rangers and the dumpster fire that is the New York Islanders the EDM could reverse their luck in a hurry.
In every game the heavier side of the scoreboard is the winning side of the scoreboard. In this one though, we should expect half the big screen hanging over center ice to be seriously leaning down heavily. The Oil enters this game with one of the best Goals For in the league (108 GF) against one of the NHL’s worst Goals Against (108 GA). If Edmonton can capitalize on a few breakouts and take full advantage of the now tied for second-worst blueline in the East, they should cruise.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have combined for 10 points in their last three games while the Oilers – as a whole – have posted 12 goals in that span. They’re starting to peak at the right time and a win in New Jersey would end their year on a high note. A year that was emphasized by an embarrassing first-round sweep in last season’s playoffs to the Winnipeg Jets. Nothing would please Edmonton more than putting 2021 in the rearview mirror with a W.
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It feels like New Jersey has been rebuilding for a lifetime. Since they acquired PK Subban (for some reason) in 2019 this team has been trying to regain some positive headlines, but have really failed to do so. After a decent start to the year, as mentioned, fans everywhere were starting to wonder if maybe this would be the year the team would turn it around. Following an abysmal final month though, it’s become crystal clear that these Devils are no closer to any sort of drastic improvement.
Now, with all of that said, they do have a chance in this game because the Oilers are still in the middle of a bit of a lull themselves. Why Edmonton dropped six in a row to start the month was because of their lack of first-period efficiency. They were outscored 8-1 in the opening frame through those six games and had to play catch up the rest of the way through. If New Jersey can find a way to capitalize on some garbage goals in front, they could shock and surprise. Point shots, screens, and a crowd in the crease will be the secret to the Devils’ success.
Edmonton has won 18 of their last 23 against the Metropolitan Division. Meanwhile, the Devils have only won one of their last six against the Pacific.
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|Edmonton Oilers vs New Jersey Devils Information
|Edmonton Oilers vs New Jersey Devils
|Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
|December 31 2021 at 1:00pm EST
|How to watch
|MSG+ and Rogers Sportsnet
Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.More info on Ryan Sullivan
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