Pickard stands tall vs. Devils to help Oilers win 7th straight game
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Calvin Pickard made 26 saves for his first NHL victory in almost two years and the Edmonton Oilers ran their winning streak to seven, beating the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Sunday.
Pickard last won in the NHL on Jan. 28, 2022, with the Detroit Red Wings. He made his fourth appearance of the season for the Oilers and also has played four games this season for Bakersfield in the American Hockey League.
“You can’t put too much pressure on yourself when you don’t play very often, but I felt good in practice and I wanted to keep it going,” Pickard said. “I thought we played a great game all the way through, very defensive, really good special teams and deserved the win.”
The 31-year-old Pickard started the season in Bakersfield and was called up to replace Jack Campbell when Campbell had a tough start to the season.
“It is exciting. It is one of those things where everyone just feels so happy for the guy,” Oilers forward Connor Brown said. “He stood on his head, especially down the stretch in that game. I thought he did a great job. You are nothing but happy for him. It’s always fun.”
Derek Ryan, Evan Bouchard Connor McDavid and Evander Kane, with an empty-netter, scored to help Edmonton improve to 12-12-1. Kane and McDavid each added an assist, and Bouchard extended his points streak to 11 games and McDavid pushed his to nine.
Jesper Bratt scored for New Jersey, and Akira Schmid made 26 saves. Coming off their third straight victory Saturday in Calgary, the Devils dropped to 14-11-1.
“I think the schedule got us a little bit, we didn’t have quite the energy,” said Devils coach Lindy Ruff, whose team was playing it third game in four days. “I think we missed the net a few times, we didn’t funnel pucks when we had opportunities.”
Ryan opened the scoring with 1:24 left in the first period. Sam Gagner sent a pass from behind the net to Ryan and he put it past Schmid for his third of the season. Bouchard made it 2-0 on a power play with 5:50 left in the second, firing a shot from the point past Schmid for his eighth.
McDavid made it 3-0 4:23 into the third period. Zach Hyman tied up Schmid behind the net and Kane was able to pop the puck loose to McDavid for his 10th of the season.
Bratt ended Pickard’s shutout bid 30 seconds later when Nico Hischier made a perfect feed across to allow Bratt to redirect home his 12th.
McDavid set up Kane for an empty-netter, also his 12th.
Devils: Host Boston on Wednesday night.
Oilers: Host Chicago on Tuesday night.