The New Jersey Devils are gearing up for their Canadian Tour which starts tonight at the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta against the struggling Edmonton Oilers. Martin Brodeur will get the start in net tonight with Cory Schneider taking the clearly overshadowing game in this back-to-back set against the Canucks in Vancouver.
The Devils and Oilers are both looking for their first wins of the season and both teams have struggled on the defensive side of things.
The Oilers are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Edmonton G Devan Dubnyk gave up 5 goals on 31 shots before he was replaced by Jason LaBarbera. The Oilers would go on to lose 6-2. Edmonton has already allowed 2 powerplay goals and 2 shorthanded goals this season.
Offensively, the Oilers have looked fairly good, scoring 6 goals in two losses. Boyd Gordon has 2 goals on the season so far, and Ales Hemsky has 2 assists and 3 points.
The Devils are coming off of a frustrating shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Friday night. Damien Brunner had a very solid game, however, tallying two goals. He currently leads the team in goals and shots on goal with 12. Brunner has showed a lot of promise in his preseason and regular season efforts to this point.
The Devils have given up 6 goals in regulation this season and Marek Zidlicky has been simply atrocious through two games. Zidlicky’s short leash should be practically strangling him at this point and if he doesn’t turn it around soon, it should be time for the youth movement to begin. He is lucky Brodeur stopped a couple of breaks that the Islanders had that were directly caused by a Zidlicky miscue.
If you could even believe it Zidlicky, statistically, is having a good season with a +1 and an assist. Then you look at Adam Larsson’s stats (-4) and wonder why is everyone so uptight about Zidlicky. If you watch him play, he makes mistakes that a defenseman should not be making. He crashes the zone instead of playing the points and he had a really boneheaded play that almost netted another goal by the Islanders because he lazily skated too far up while the Islanders were carrying the puck in the neutral zone.
I’m not saying Larsson has been perfect this season but he is nowhere as bad as the stats would put him right now.
The youth movement includes Larsson and it is early on in a young man’s career. Zidlicky has shown no promise time and time again and it is only a matter of time before he is sitting on the bench.
Devils on road: 0-1-0
Oilers at home: 0-1-0
Oilers shots against per game: 36
Oilers PP goals: 2
Devils SOG per game: 28
Devan Dubnyk GAA: 6.53