Emotion simply overcame Brian Boyle.
As much as the veteran center tried to remain upbeat after being diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia at the start of training camp, Boyle has acknowledged it was obviously a scary time for him and his family. So, when his first goal as a Devil came in his fifth game back in the lineup, Boyle could not contain his pent-up feelings.
"I've never cried after a goal before," Boyle told MSG Networks during a first-intermission interview. "That's a great feeling. It's everything."
Unfortunately, the emotional beginning didn't have a good ending for the Devils, who lost their fourth straight, 3-2, in overtime on Thursday night before a sellout crowd of 16,514 at Prudential Center.
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Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl's winner with 16.3 seconds left in the extra period in the second game of a three-game homestand for the Devils (9-4-2), in an 0-2-2 slide.
Cory Schneider made 30 saves for the Devils, including the first five in overtime, as the Devils outshot a team for the first time in eight games.
Cam Talbot stopped 32 shots for the Oilers (6-8-1), who won consecutive games for the first time this season.
The game also marked the return of top-line right wing Kyle Palmieri to the Devils' lineup as he was activated off injured reserve after missing six games with an injured left ankle.
The Oilers tied the game at 2 at 3:21 of the third period as Milan Lucic beat Schneider through his pads on a rush.
Drew Stafford, with his 10th goal in 19 career games against the Oilers, gave the Devils a 2-1 lead at 18:25 of the second period, faking a shot from the left before getting to the crease and pulling a shot around Talbot.
Boyle's goal at 5:33 of the first period gave the Devils a 1-0 lead as he got to the right post to knock the rebound of Brian Gibbons' shot past Talbot after Gibbons had taken a swipe at Boyle's initial shot as the Devils applied strong pressure to start the game, taking the first seven shots.
Skating around to his right as his teammates surrounded him, Boyle's face erupted into a scream of relief and tears as he pumped his arm into a windmill of celebration and pounded his body against the glass.
Boyle's goal just put an exclamation on the emotion the Devils showed off the opening faceoff, perhaps a response to coach John Hynes' challenge.
"We've gotten off to a good start but it shouldn't be that we think we've arrived," Hynes said. "It's a tough league. We didn't hit a lot of adversity the first 10 games. I think we have a little bit of adversity now and that's where the challenge is. You can't be interested in playing the right way. You have to be committed to playing the right way. I would say, the last few games, there were times where we were just interested in playing the right way."
The Devils effort was consistent as they continued to apply pressure but Talbot kept the deficit at one until Anton Slepyshev tied the game at 1 with a short-side shot off the rush at 6:50 of the second period after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins beat Nico Hischier on a neutral-zone draw.
It marked the second straight game Hischier has taken a penalty on his first shift after he tripped the Blues Carl Gunnarsson 36 seconds into Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Blues.