NJ rebounds with OT win in Edmonton
Feeling as though they were robbed one night earlier, the New Jersey Devils were determined not to let another game get away.
Zach Parise scored a power-play goal 1:06 into overtime, and the Devils beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Wednesday night for their third win in four games. On Tuesday in Calgary, the Devils lost 6-3 despite outshooting 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 a shot into a wide-open net behind 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 scored a short-handed goal in the second period and added an assist on Parise's winner for the Devils (24-17-2), who jumped over Toronto into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Johan Hedberg made 22 saves to bounce back from a poor effort in Calgary in which 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,'' Hedberg said. ''I had a good feeling about my game all day.''
Ales Hemsky scored for the Oilers (16-22-4), who are falling deeper out of contention in the West. Edmonton has lost four straight and 11 of 13.
''It's always tough to lose in overtime,'' Oilers coach Tom Renney said. ''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 period when Edmonton's Taylor Hall was sprung for a partial breakaway, but he was stopped on a pad save by Hedberg.
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the second when Kovalchuk picked off Jeff Petry's pass and went in on a short-handed breakaway. Kovalchuk beat Khabibulin high to the glove side for his 17th goal of the season, and New Jersey's NHL-leading 11th short-handed tally.
''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.''
The Devils nearly doubled their lead with three minutes remaining in the second when Elias tipped a shot through Khabibulin's legs, but the goalie reached behind in time to smother the puck.
Edmonton tied it 8:32 into the third when Hemsky fired a shot from the top of the circle on the power play and beat Hedberg for his fourth of the season.
That got the Oilers into overtime, but the Devils had enough left to win it.
''It was an important win for us, especially coming the day after a game that we felt we should have won,'' Hedberg said. ''We really wanted to get it back going in our direction right away. I was very happy to see us score in that overtime.''
NOTES: It was just the third time the Devils played in Edmonton since Dec. 30, 2001, and was the only meeting between the teams this season. ... Oilers leading scorer Jordan Eberle remained out with a knee injury, but he might start skating soon and return by the All-Star break at the end of January. ... The Oilers brought up forward Milan Kytnar from the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL after Gilbert Brule was claimed on re-entry waivers by the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday. Ryan O'Marra sat out because of the flu, and Kytnar made his NHL debut. ... The Oilers were also without defensemen Ryan Whitney (ankle), Tom Gilbert (knee) and Cam Barker (ankle). ... New Jersey was missing C Travis Zajac (Achilles) and D Andy Greene (foot).