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 in Goteborg, Sweden, 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.
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 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 that 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 the right way, especially with the lead,” Zajac said. “It’s early in the season and it’s a good sign.”
PREDATORS 4, ISLANDERS 3 Viktor Arvidsson scored twice to help Nashville spoil the Islanders’ home opener.
Mattias Ekholm and Craig Smith also scored for the Predators, and P. K. Subban had two assists. Juuse Saros, starting in place of the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Pekka Rinne, finished with 26 saves.
Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist, and Valtteri Filppula and Anders Lee also scored for the Islanders, who were trying to get their new coach, Barry Trotz, a win in his home debut. Josh Bailey had two assists, and Thomas Greiss stopped 19 shots.
“We play like that, most nights we’ll be fine,” Lee said. “They just played a better game”
Trotz was the coach for the Predators’ first 15 seasons and holds the franchise records for games coached (1,196) and wins (557) — third over all in N.H.L. history in both categories with one franchise.
SABRES 3, RANGERS 1 Conor Sheary scored two goals, both on the power play, and Carter Hutton made 43 saves to lead host Buffalo.
Brett Howden, who earlier was stopped on a three-man breakaway, scored off a rebound with 4:39 remaining in the game for the Rangers, who started a two-game trip by falling to 0-2 under the first-year coach David Quinn.
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves for the Rangers, who outshot the Sabres in all three periods and finished with a 44-29 advantage in shots on goal. The backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev is set to get the start on Sunday at Carolina.
“The difference was special teams,” Lundqvist said. “If you look at how hard we played and the amount of chances we had, we should be happy about that. At the same time, this league isn’t about playing great, it’s just making key plays at the right time and finding a way to win games.”