The Devils ended the 2017-18 preseason with a bang as they topped the Capitals 4-1. Rookie-phenom Nico Hischier once again led the way, as he tallied 3 points (1G, 2A), with his first goal being on the power play that opened up the scoring for the Devils. His goal was promptly followed up by a wrist shot that found the back of the net for rookie defenseman Will Butcher’s first career professional point. However, the Devils weren’t done with their first period scoring as Jimmy Hayes and Drew Stafford were each able to contribute another power play goal.
Ultimately, the Devils finished 3 for 3 on the power play and outshot Washington 12-6 in the first period. Washington’s only goal of the game came in the 2nd period courtesy of Tyler Graovac. Cory Schneider was credited with the win after stopping 22 of the Capitals 23 shots. Capital’s netminder Braden Holtby was credited with the loss after only stopping 29 of the 33 shots that came his way. The Devils finish with a preseason record of 5-1-1 and will hope to build off this success come their opener on October 7th vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
• Since Ray Shero came to New Jersey, his plan has been to create a team that wears you out with speed and that was apparent for the Devils last night. The Capital’s broadcasting crew caught on as they explained at one point how the Devils looked a lot faster than last season. Led by rookie Nico Hischier and veteran Taylor Hall, the Devils speed was certainly on display last night which resulted in relentless forechecking and the creation of many scoring opportunities.
• The New Jersey Devils’ 5-on-5 play was brilliant once again. The Devils led the Capitals in shot attempts 50-38. Individually, Adam Henrique (+11/-4), Nico Hischier (+10/-5), and Mirco Mueller (+19/-11) were just a few of the Devils that had a great night. This trend was also apparent throughout the whole preseason, as the Devils led their opponents on even-strength shot attempts in every game but their 3-0 loss to the Islanders on September 25th.
• The defense pairing of Mirco Mueller and Steven Santini were brilliant as they were a combined +39/-25 in shots attempts. John Hynes and his staff should take a note and look to pair these two together once the regular season starts. Each defenseman has been thoroughly impressive during the preseason.
• Early indications show that the additions Ray Shero made during the offseason are valuable ones. Each of the goal scorers in last night’s game weren’t with the Devils last year. Nico Hischier was drafted 1st overall by New Jersey, Will Butcher was signed straight from college, Jimmy Hayes was brought in via a PTO, and Drew Stafford was signed to a 1-year deal during the offseason. Shero’s offseason moves are paying early dividends thus far for the Devils.
Next Devils Game: Season Opener @ The Rock, 2:00 PM, Oct 7th vs. Colorado Avalanche