The New Jersey Devils played the type of hockey on Wednesday night that they should have been playing since day one. They flew up and down the ice and created numerous chances. Most importantly, they got the goaltending to back it up. Thanks to these occurrences, the Devils won their second consecutive game by the score of 3-1 against the Anaheim Ducks.
The scoring got started early, as Adam Henrique put home an Ondrej Kase pass on a two-on-none rush. Even though the Devils trailed after one, the period was extremely encouraging. The Devils dictated the pace of play and were seemingly using their speed all around the ice.
The second period is when the Devils were awarded for their efforts, as they tallied two goals. Nico Hischier lit the lamp about a minute-and-a-half into the second, as he let a wrist shot fly off a pass from Jesper Bratt and beat Ryan Miller. Kyle Palmieri scored the Devils’ second goal of the game (see above). He exhibited his skill as one of the more underrated snipers in the league, as he wristed home a beautiful shot to give the Devils a 2-1 lead going into the second intermission.
A minute into the third period, Sami Vatanen bought the Devils some insurance, as he let go a shot from the point and it pin-balled its way past Miller. This would be the last goal of the game, as the Devils held on for the two-goal victory. Mackenzie Blackwood continued his stellar play, stopping 26 of the Ducks’ 27 shots en route to victory. Ryan Miller was credited with the loss, stopping only 17 of the Devils’ 20 shots.
- Mackenzie Blackwood was once again terrific. As was mentioned in our pregame, he came into last night’s matchup red hot. With last night’s performance, he extends his streak with a save percentage above .943 to five and continues his dominate month of December (.941 SV%). He also gets his season save percentage up to .910, which is slightly above league average. The Devils may have just found their goaltender of the future.
- The Devils’ fourth line of Wood-McLeod-Boqvist was the teams’ best line last night, and head coach Alain Nasreddine noticed. The trio ended up playing the third-most minutes out of the four lines and only played 26 seconds less than the Hischier line at five-on-five. Below you can see the ice time and rating for each the Devils’ four lines at five-on-five.
- Jack Hughes played one of his better games of the season, and it came at the perfect time. Hughes has been struggling as of late as is evident by only having three points over his last fifteen games. However, Hughes held a Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 56.25 and an expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 71.83, which led the team. Fortunately, he was rewarded for his stellar play with an assist on the Devils’ third goal of the game. Hopefully, he can build on this success and get out of this scoring slump he finds himself in.
Next Game: Friday the 20th, vs. Washington Capitals