Writer’s Twitter: @ChrisMottHockey
The New Jersey Devils followed up their victory against the rival New York Rangers on Thursday night with a 1-0 shutout victory on against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The Devils were aggressive for most of the game and while there were moments where they seemed to bend defensively, they did not break. The Canucks certainly had their chances, including hitting a crossbar from an Elias Pettersson shot. The contest also got pretty chippy after an elbow from Alexander Edler of the Canucks appeared to hit Blake Coleman in the face, which led to a Mirco Mueller fight and chippy play the rest of the way. Let us get into the highlights and discuss how the Devils earned this shutout victory.
Ladies and Gentleman, Jack Hughes has officially scored his first National League Hockey goal. The first overall pick from this year’s draft is also officially on a point streak of two games. Hughes not only scored on the power play but he was all over the ice. I counted at least three chances for him where his shot was either deflected, a puck bounced over his stick coming in from a pass to send him on a breakaway, and overall generating offensive zone time and chances.
Hughes has been growing each game and if there were a day and game he was going to score his first goal, the stars aligned for yesterday to be the day. This game was not just the Devils versus Canucks, but it was also the brothers Jack and Quinn Hughes battling against each other and both of whom are considered to be in their rookie season.
Quinn is a talented and skilled defenseman for the Canucks. The last time Jack and Quinn played against each other was when Jack was on the U.S. Development Team, and they played an exhibition game against the University of Michigan where Quinn was attending and playing. Not only did Jack Hughes score his first goal of the season against his brother Quinn and the Canucks, his goal also has a special timeline attached to it. On October 19, 2019, Jack Hughes, scored his first NHL goal. On October 19, 2017 Nico Hischier, the Devils number one overall pick from that summer’s draft, scored his first NHL goal.
Mackenzie Blackwood was just as much a reason the Devils won against the Canucks as Jack Hughes was. This was a team win, but there definitely some big saves Blackwood made to keep the Canucks off the scoreboard. Blackwood was the second star of the night, the first being Hughes, and deserved that honor. If Blackwood can keep up a high level of play like he showed today, and Schneider can figure out the small kinks that have occurred outside of some of his solid play, the Devils’ goaltending goes from a concern to one for the opposition. One of the biggest saves Blackwood made was on Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler, as he came in on a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box.
Highlights and Stats
The Devils’ goal was scored by Jack Hughes on the power play in the first period, with assists to Taylor Hall and Sami Vatanen. Blackwood also stopped all 25 shots he faced to earn his 3rd career shutout and first of this season. The Devils were 1 for 4 on the power play, while the Canucks were 0 for 7 with their opportunities. The Devils also had 24 shots in the contest. The Devils will be off for a little bit, as their next game is not going to be until Friday, October 25 at The Rock versus the Arizona Coyotes. While it is strange to have this size of a gap between games, this should be beneficial for the Devils, as Nico Hischier was close to being ready to play tonight so this should ensure the recently extended Hischier is 100 percent fresh and ready to go with no setbacks. Enjoy the highlights below!