The New Jersey Devils game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday takes place on neutral territory at the unlikely venue of Gothenburg’s Scandinavium in Sweden.
The Devils reached the NHL playoffs as Wild Cards last season, despite only finishing 5th in the Metropolitan Division. However, they then went down to a fairly predictable 4-1 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The other highlight for the Devils last season was in Taylor Hall winning the Hart Memorial Trophy winner for MVP.
This time a year ago the Edmonton Oilers were many pundits’ NHL prediction for Stanley Cup success and they were the favourites to do so with many sportsbooks. Once the season started they struggled throughout though and it’s perhaps surprising that the club kept faith with general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Todd McLellan. A major improvement will be expected this season, otherwise, the axe seems certain to fall this time.
The Oilers roster is little changed from last season, so faith has been retained on that front too. Star player Connor McDavid (himself the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2016-17) can be relied upon, but others need to step up their game in support
The Oilers will be desperate to make a strong start this season and that makes them our NHL pick to start with a win here.
Pick: Money Line – Edmonton Oilers