Oilers notch 1st win
EDMONTON—The Edmonton Oilers finally flipped the switch after stumbling at the start of the NHL season.
Jordan Eberle and David Perron scored in the shootout as the Oilers rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils last night.
The victory helped Edmonton avoid its worst start to a season since the 1995-96 campaign when it went 0-4 out of the gate.
“It’s tough to explain but I’m glad we bounced back the way we did,” said Perron.
“To lose the first three would have been a pretty tough way to start the year.
“I know everyone was pretty eager to get that first win, and now we can look forward to new things and keep moving,” he added.
Ference, who was named the 14th captain in Oilers’ history, said the team just needed to get over the early-season jitters.
“We just want to win so bad, you see it with teams at the start of the year, if you can’t get in the win column right away,” he reasoned.
“You can’t be out there scared to lose,” he stressed.
“There is an element of fear in every person that plays sports, but that has to be out-weighed by the desire to win and you can’t be paralyzed with the fear of losing.”
The first win of the season doubled as the first career NHL victory as a head coach for Dallas Eakins.
“If you lose one game, it’s not hanging over your head, but I felt that they were feeling the challenge of us having lost two games and they didn’t want to get it to three,” said Eakins.
“I just asked them to stay with it and believe in themselves, and they did,” he added.
Jaromir Jagr, Damien Brunner, Michael Ryder, and Patrik Elias scored for the Devils (0-1-2), who are just one of five teams in the NHL yet to capture their first victory of the season.
“It’s a learning experience for us early in the season and we’ve got to be better,” stressed Devils’ head coach Peter DeBoer.
“I don’t like leaving points on the table like that, especially after being up 3-0.”
Veteran Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur said it is a rarity to let a game get a way like this one did.
“They are a good, young team but we had them exactly where we wanted them,” he noted.
The N.Y. Rangers beat L.A. 3-1 in the only other NHL game last night.