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Game Preview #55: New Jersey Devils vs. Edmonton Oilers

Tonight, the Devils will honor the legendary Martin Brodeur in a pre-game ceremony. Afterwards, they will take on the Oilers for their second game in as many days.

Lee Stempniak and the Devils look to honor Martin Brodeur tonight with a victory against the Oilers.
Lee Stempniak and the Devils look to honor Martin Brodeur tonight with a victory against the Oilers.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Time: 8:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+; Radio - 660 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (26-21-7) vs. the Edmonton Oilers (21-28-5; SBN Blog: Copper & Blue)

The Last Devils Game: The Devils dropped a rivalry game to the Rangers last night 2-1 at MSG. It was a rather lackluster performance as the Devils struggled to generate much offensively until later in the game and were outshot 37-28 and out-attempted 74-49 in all situations and 55-45 in 5v5 play according to HockeyStats.ca. The Devils didn't control much of the play which led to them taking penalties and not drawing a single PP in the game. The lone goal was scored by Travis Zajac on a counter attack on the PK with Adam Henrique setting it up. Cory Schneider made 35 saves in another strong performance.

The Last Oilers Game: The Oilers fell to the Islanders 8-1 in Brooklyn on Sunday. Connor McDavid scored an unassisted goal for the Oilers. Kyle Okposo had a hattrick for the Islanders. Anders Nilsson started for Edmonton and allowed 3 goals on 10 shots before being relieved by Cam Talbot who stopped 16 of the 21 shots he faced. Here is the gamesheet and the recap from Copper & Blue.

The Last Devils-Oilers Game: These two teams last met on November 20 when the Oilers defeated the Devils 5-1. Kyle Palmieri had the Devils goal with David Schlemko and Travis Zajac earning the assists. Keith Kinkaid stopped 22 of 26 shots for the Devils while Anders Nilsson stopped 19 of 20 shots for the Oilers. Here is the gamesheet and John's recap.

The Goal: Last night the Devils struggled to maintain possession and were on the backfoot most of the night. This left them susceptible to committing penalties as opposed to drawing them. A good start could go a long way in making sure they achieve this goal and not be forced to chase the game for 60 minutes. While this is easier said than done, they should have a decent chance of doing this against the last place Oilers.

Marty Night Details: Here is a reminder about the details for tonight's ceremony to honor Martin Brodeur, straight from the Devils site:

The "Martin Brodeur Jersey Retirement presented by Prudential" will culminate with a special on-ice ceremony starting at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9 when the iconic No. 30 will be raised to the Prudential Center rafters. The Devils-Oilers game will follow the ceremony with a start time of 8:08 p.m., and doors will open at 4:30 p.m.

The Oilers Key Players: The Oilers line up features some nice young talent up front but is thin at the back end. Look for Taylor Hall to lead the Oilers attack as he has 18 goals and 32 assists in 54 games. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out injured, players such as Leon Draisaitl (40 points in 44 games), Teddy Purcell (31 points in 54 games), and Jordan Eberle (27 points in 41 games) will be relied upon to pick up the slack for Edmonton. One cannot also forget rookie sensation Connor McDavid (18 points in 17 games) who recently returned from a lengthy injury. Andrej Sekera will look to provide some stability on the blue line for Edmonton as he averages 21:26 per game.

Possible Goaltending Matchup: As of last night, Coach Hynes hasn't revealed whether Cory Schneider or Keith Kinkaid will start tonight's game. For the Oilers, Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson have split time this season with Talbot seeing a bit more success with a higher SV% (.913 to .899) and a better Goals Saved Above Average according to Hockey Reference (-3.22 to -12.68). Having to play goal for this Edmonton team is no easy task so you have to take that into account when looking at the numbers.

Possible Line Up Shuffle?: Coach Hynes wasn't happy with the team's effort last night and did shuffle the lines a bit. I wouldn't be shocked to see some new lines and perhaps a player or two come in given that this is the second part of a back-to-back. As Tom Gulitti noted last night, Kyle Palmieri said a few guys are battling a bug right now so that could also lead to some changes.

Your Take: How do you want the Devils to approach this game? Which players will you be keeping an eye on for either team? How pumped up are you for the Martin Brodeur number retirement?! Leave your thoughts below and thank you for reading!