NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — With each victory, the confidence builds for Leon Draisaitl and the undefeated Edmonton Oilers.
Draisaitl scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Oilers a 4-3 victory over the winless New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Draisaitl, who also scored in regulation, connected in the third round of the shootout as the Oilers improved to 4-0-0.
“Winning makes everything easier and better, but we’re working for it,” Draisaitl said. “We’re playing the right way. We’re working hard for our wins. It’s great to see. It’s great to see different guys contribute and make a difference every night.”
A dose of resiliency helps. The Oilers rallied three times to pull even before putting the game away.
“We’re not going to stop until it’s over,” Draisaitl said. “I’m happy to be part of this group and I think we’re building our game in the right direction.”
James Neal and Connor McDavid also had Oilers goals. Mikko Koskinen stopped 28 shots.
Oilers coach Dave Tippett has been around the league long enough to know four games does not make a season, but he likes what he sees, so far.
“You’ve got to go more than four games,” Tippett said. “I’m really happy with the start. If you would have said you’d be 4-0 after four, I’m good with that. But it’s a process. We’ve got to continue to get better.”
Kyle Palmieri, Nikita Gusev and Damon Severson scored for New Jersey (0-2-2). Mackenzie Blackwood made 19 saves.
Severson scored late in the third period to give the Devils their third lead of the game. Severson, set up by Taylor Hall, scored his first of the season from the bottom of the left circle with 4:25 remaining.
The lead did not stand as McDavid forced the overtime, scoring a power-play goal with 1:06 left in regulation.
The whistle blew as McDavid knocked the puck past Blackwood on a scramble in front. The referees went to a video review before confirming the tying goal.
In the overtime, Hall had two outstanding chances for the Devils, including a shot off the post.
That’s how it has gone for the Devils, who took this game as a step in the right direction after they were shut out 4-0 on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
“I commended our guys,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “They were a rested team. We were coming off a back-to-back. Obviously, it was a tough loss last night but if you look at the way we competed and the way we played five-on-five, we played a lot to our identity. I think everybody on the team showed up on a gut check game. If you look at that, that’s certainly something to build on.”
The red-hot Neal scored on the power play with 27.8 seconds remaining in the second period to pull the Oilers even at 2-2.
Neal, who leads the NHL with seven goals, deflected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ shot to knot the score with his fifth goal in the last two games.
Neal’s seven goals are a team record for Edmonton for the most through the first four games of a season. Wayne Gretzky held the old mark at six.
Earlier in the period, Gusev took a feed from Jesper Bratt and hammered a shot from the top of the right circle to give the Devils their second lead at 2-1.
The teams exchanged goals in the opening period as Palmieri and Draisaitl scored.
Palmieri put the Devils on the board at 6:14 with a great individual effort. Palmieri, playing in his 500th game, blocked an Oilers shot and sped up ice with Hall on a 2-on-1 break. Palmieri took the shot, rifling the puck over Koskinen’s left shoulder for an unassisted tally.
Draisaitl evened it up at 9:17, whipping home a shot from the left circle after a perfect setup feed from Darnell Nurse.
P.K. Subban left the Devils bench early in the period, leaving New Jersey seriously shorthanded on the blue line. They were already missing defenseman Andy Greene, a pregame scratch with an upper body injury.
Subban returned for the start of the second period.
The game featured five players selected first overall in the NHL draft: Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Taylor Hall (by the Oilers) for New Jersey; Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Edmonton.
NOTES: The Oilers have two games left on a four-game trip — Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden and Monday night in Chicago. … New Jersey swept both games with Edmonton last season. … Mirco Mueller replaced Greene on the New Jersey backline. … The other Devils move was reinserting C Pavel Zacha in place of John Hayden. … The Oilers scratched C Colby Cave, RW Alex Chiasson and D Brandon Manning.
Oilers: At New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
Devils: At Boston on Saturday night.
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