Palmieri, Za­jac help Dev­ils beat Oil­ers in Swe­den

Stamford Advocate (Sunday) - - Scoreboard -

GOTHEN­BURG, Swe­den — Kyle Palmieri, Travis Za­jac and the New Jersey Dev­ils left the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers be­hind in their sea­son-opener, show­ing the form that help them re­turn to the play­offs last sea­son.

Palmieri and Za­jac scored two goals each to lead the Dev­ils to a 5-2 vic­tory Sat­ur­day night in the NHL Global Se­ries game at Scan­di­nav­ium.

“We feel like we have a good group, we have a strong cul­ture,” New Jersey coach John Hynes said. “We like we have an iden­tity of how we want to play, the types of play­ers we want, how we want to be off the ice. Those are re­ally the things that mat­ter. We want be a tough team to play against.”

Ste­fan Noe­sen also scored, Miles Wood had two as­sists, and Keith Kinkaid made 17 saves.

“We played a pretty good hockey game from the start,” Za­jac said. “Not too many lapses, in our play through­out the game, our speed even­tu­ally kind of took over. We played the right way, es­pe­cially with the lead. It’s early in the sea­son and it’s a good sign.”

Mi­lan Lu­cic and Leon Drai­saitl scored for the Oil­ers.

In the new sea­son, Palmieri didn’t waste time.

He picked up the puck near the boards in the of­fen­sive zone, moved unchecked to­ward the net from the left and beat Cam Tal­bot in­side the far post on the first shot on goal still in the open­ing minute.

The Oil­ers came back on a power play, with cap­tain Con­nor McDavid set­ting it up. The star cen­ter used his speed to carry the puck up ice from his own up zone and skated around the goal to feed Lu­cic in front for a one­timer to tie it at 4:01.

New Jersey took con­trol early in the mid­dle pe­riod with goals from Palmieri and Za­jac in a 1:09 span. Palmieri scored on a power play for his sec­ond, and Za­jac dou­bled the ad­van­tage af­ter Tal­bot lost the puck be­hind the goal. The Dev­ils clearly dom­i­nated at this stage, out­shoot­ing the Oil­ers 10-4 in the pe­riod.

“Ob­vi­ously, we weren’t good enough, they were good,” McDavid said. “We did some good stuff, we did some bad stuff too.”

Za­jac added his sec­ond in the third af­ter a de­fen­sive blun­der by de­fense­man Matt Ben­ning be­fore Drai­saitl re­duced the deficit to 4-2. Noe­sen fin­ished it off with an empty-net­ter.

“Give them credit, they pres­sured us in ar­eas that give us a lot of headache and we weren’t able to do the same for them,” Ed­mon­ton coach Todd McLel­lan said. “We had a tough night, it was ev­i­dent,” he said. “Our puck move, our puck sup­port, our abil­ity to play fast and clean was not very good.”

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