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Devils, Led by Palmieri and Zajak, Open With Win in Global Series

Category: Other Sports,Sports

GOTEBORG, Sweden — Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac scored two goals each to lead the Devils to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in their season-opening game Saturday night.

The game at Scandinavium was part of the N.H.L. Global Series.

Palmieri and Zajac stole the show on a day when for the second time in league history, the last two Hart Trophy winners, in this case Connor McDavid of the Oilers and Taylor Hall of the Devils, faced each other in a season-opening game.

It was also only the third time that the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner (McDavid) and reigning Hart winner (Taylor) squared off in an opener.

Stefan Noesen also scored and Miles Wood had two assists for the Devils, and Keith Kinkaid made 17 saves. Edmonton had goals from Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl.

“We feel like we have a good group, we have a strong culture,” Devils 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.”

Palmieri did not waste time kicking off his season. 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, in the opening minute.

The Oilers came back on a power play, on a goal that McDavid set up. He used his speed to carry the puck up ice from his own zone and skated around the goal to feed Milan Lucic in front for a one-timer to tie the score at 4 minutes 1 second.

The Devils took control early in the middle period with goals from Palmieri and Zajac in 1:09. Palmieri scored on a power play at 2:01, and Zajac doubled the advantage after Talbot lost the puck behind the goal.

The Devils dominated at this stage, outshooting the Oilers by 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 blunder by defenseman Matt Benning before Draisaitl reduced the deficit to 4-2. Noesen finished it off with an empty-netter.

“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.”

It was the 23rd N.H.L. regular-season game played in Europe, the 11th in Sweden and the first in Goteborg.

Before Saturday, the Devils completed a training camp in Switzerland, where they played SC Bern in an exhibition game.

The Oilers came from practice in Germany, where they faced Cologne in an exhibition.

The N.H.L. will return to Europe next month. On Nov. 1 and 2, the Florida Panthers and the Winnipeg Jets will meet in two regular-season games in Helsinki, Finland.

The Devils’ next game will be at Prudential Center on Thursday against the Washington Capitals, the defending Stanley Cup champions.


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