On Saturday, the New Jersey Devils took on the Boston Bruins for the second game in a row and secured their first win of the season, defeating the Bruins 2-1 in overtime.
The game started off well for the Devils, as they were able to match the high energy of the Bruins. New Jersey was able to get on the scoreboard first, as 16:15 into the first period Miles Wood was able to deflect a Ty Smith shot into the back of the net.
However, Boston was able to even it up in the second period on the penalty kill. The Bruins countered as Brad Marchand shielded Kyle Palmieri and found Patrice Bergeron in front of Mackenzie Blackwood for an easy goal.
Great goaltending by both Blackwood and Bruins backup goalie Jaroslav Halak kept the game tied at the end of regulation.
Although the Devils were on the power play to start overtime, nothing could come of it. However, as time was about to expire in overtime, Devils defender Damon Severson found rookie Yegor Sharagovich who wristed a shot past Halek with 1.7 seconds left play.
With the win, the Devils improve to three points on the season and will be traveling across the Hudson River for their next game against the Rangers on Tuesday.
Here are some of my takeaways from the Devils victory against the Bruins.
- Mackenzie Blackwood Will Keep New Jersey in Plenty of Games
Blackwood was the second star of the game and he deserved it. He saved 27 shots, including a few great chances down the stretch. Without Blackwood’s efforts the Devils probably would have lost that game. His play has even improved from last year when was one of the very few bright spots on the team.
If Blackwood keeps this type of play up (which I expect he will) the Devils will be competitive in a bunch of games this season, even when they shouldn’t be on paper.
- The Power Play Needs to Improve
This year, the Devils brought in Mark Recchi to help with the power play this season. It is still early, and the Devils are missing some key players, but the unit looks bad. So far this season the Devils power play is 0/8, and cost them in the first game when they went 0/5.
The Bruins have a very good penalty kill, and the Devils have looked a bit better with the man advantage on their last few power plays, but New Jersey desperately needs to convert on some of these soon. The Devils offense is going to be what will hold them back this season, but if they want to compete deep into the season, they will need to be efficient when they have the man advantage.
- Jack Hughes Has Taken a Leap
Jack Hughes entered the NHL as the number one overall pick in 2019 and his rookie campaign was a bit disappointing. This season Hughes looks great, tallying three assists already and was instrumental in many of New Jersey’s attacks. Hughes has been aggressive on offense and defense, and thanks to his 14 pounds of muscle he put on in the offseason, he does not get pushed around so often anymore.
The one aspect of his game that isn’t there yet is his goal scoring. He had a few opportunities that he failed to put away, but he has been working on that. When his scoring touch comes to him, he will be one of the better players in the NHL, and it’s only a matter of time.
- The Devils Will Get Better
The Devils taking three points in two games is impressive considering it came against last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winners. It becomes even more impressive when you factor in that the Devils were missing their top line center in Nico Hischier, one of their better goal scorers in Jesper Bratt, and a quality defensmen in Sami Vatanen. These three players are expected to return to the team at some point, with Hischier’s return likely coming at the end of January or early February.
When these three players return the Devils will get better on offense and defense. While this team will likely not be competing for the playoffs, they will not be at the bottom of their division.