After a 4-1 thrashing at the Nassau Coliseum, the New Jersey Devils exacted their revenge Sunday night, defeating the Islanders 2-0. The story of the game was backup goalie Scott Wedgewood stepping up big time for starter Mackenzie Blackwood who is on the COVID-19 list.
The first period started going back and forth until Scott Mayfield took a hooking penalty 16:23 into the game. After that the Devils began to assert their dominance. On the power play, Jack Hughes sniped an absolute laser past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin to make it 1-0 New Jersey.
Two minutes later, Pavel Zacha doubled the Devils lead as he pounced on a rebound from a Nikita Gusev shot and put it home.
In the second period, the Devils controlled much of the play. However nothing came of it and they went into the third.
In the third, the Islanders ramped up the pressure. Much of the third period was played in the Devils’ zone, but Wedgewood stood tall. In total, he made 28 saves, but that does not account for the difficulty of some of them. Shot after shot, Wedgewood was able to get into a good position to make saves. After a poor performance on Thursday night, Wedgewood and the Devils were able to get revenge on the New York Islanders and now move to 3-1-1 on the season.
Here are a few takeaways from the Devils third win of the season.
- Ty Smith is a Star in the Making
Ty Smith recorded two assists tonight and has proven to be an impact player on the ice. In five games this season he has recorded at least a point in each game. Devils fans were excited for Smith to get called up these past two seasons only for him not to make the team. This season he has, and has quickly proven his worth.
These past few seasons New Jersey has had a very poor defense and already this season it has looked much better. While Smith is an offensive defenseman, and still has a ways to go, he is going to be a rock for the Devils for a long time.
- The Devils Power Play is Beginning to Click
Last article I wrote, I spoke on how New Jersey’s power play was a concern. Three games later, the power play looks much better. The Devils still do not have great numbers on the season, only two total goals with the man advantage so far, but they are creating a ton of high quality chances. The puck is getting in dangerous spots and good shots have been taken. It is only a matter of time until more pucks go into the back of the net. In fact, both Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier should be returning soon and both will likely be on the power play. The power play will improve a lot once those two join the unit.
- The Future is Bright
This season may not amount to much in Newark, New Jersey, but soon the Devils will be making deep runs in the playoffs. The Devils already have four core pieces in Hischier, Hughes, Smith, and Blackwood. If other prospects like winger Alexander Holtz and defender Shakir Mukhamadullin reach close to their ceilings, New Jersey will be one of the top teams in the league within five years.
Obviously a lot can happen up to that point, but what Lindy Ruff has already done with this Devils team in his short time as coach, it is hard not to gaze ahead and see a very bright future in Newark.