The Devils avenged their loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago on Friday, a loss that saw two Hawks players end up completing hat tricks, by putting up a 7-spot on the Vancouver Canucks tonight. They won 7-2 over Vancouver tonight at Prudential Center.
The Devils set a franchise record with their 12th straight win over the Canucks, the most in a row they have ever had against one opponent. More impressive since these teams only meet twice a year now and did not play at all last season.
Their last meetings came in the early part of the 2019-20 season when Jack and Quinn Hughes were also had their first two meetings against each other.
Jack is now a perfect 3-0 against his brother and Quinn will be a little lighter in the wallet as well.
The brothers had just bought a house together and made a bet that the loser tonight will purchase a new paining for the house that they had wanted. The news was reported to the Vancouver media by Quinn and Erika Wachter of MSG+ said that the price of the painting is staying confidential between the two.
(Hopefully Jack is getting a little more out of his brother and their style does not skew towards “Dogs Playing Poker” or a second-hand swap meet edition of velvet Elvis.)
The Devils also snapped a five-game home losing streak – a season worst for them.
The Canucks were riding a three-game winning streak, having defeated the Rangers last night at Madison Square Garden.
The Devils made only two lineup changes from the game at Chicago. Defenseman Colton White inserted in on the blue line, paired with PK Subban and replacing Ty Smith. Smith watched from the press box along with Mason Geertsen and Christian Jaros.
The other change was in goal as Nico Daws the nod tonight over Jon Gillies.
Daws recorded his third NHL victory by making 36 saves on 38 total Canucks shots for a .947 save percentage on the night. He was equal to Vancouver’s lone shorthanded shot and their only power play shot. At five-versus-five, he made 34 saves on 36 shots. The Canucks went 0-for-1 on the power play.
For the Canucks, Jaroslav Halak started and stopped just eight of the 14 total Devils shots he faced for a .571 save percentage for the game. He let in the only Devils power play shot that came his way and at even strength stopped eight of 13 shots.
After the Devils’ sixth goal, Vancouver head coach Bruce Boudreau had to go back to his number one, Thatcher Demko, to alleviate some of the bleeding.
Demko stopped 18 of the 19 shots he saw total (the Devils ended the game with 33 total shots on both Canuck goalies) for a .947 save percentage. He stopped all four power play shots he faced – the Devils ended the game with five power play shots and were 1-for-2 as a team on the man advantage. At even strength, Demko stopped 14 of New Jersey’s 15 shots.
As mentioned in a post from earlier this evening, the Devils wore special warmup jerseys designed by PK Subban to commemorate Black History Month.
The Devils played a near perfect first period as they once again jumped out to a three-goal lead.
Jack Hughes got the upper hand in his sibling rivalry when he scored 9:15 into the game unassisted.
Hughes got the puck in the Devils zone and broke in on a 2-on-1. He took the shot himself, pulling up a bit on the rush and shooting glove side on Halak, beating him just inside the near post. That made it 1-0 Devils.
Yegor Sharangovich doubled the Devils lead at the 15:24 mark of the first period when he scored.
Daws had just made a save at the other end and the Devils took the puck down towards the Vancouver end.
There, Hughes moved it down low to Dawson Mercer, who immediately found Sharangovich camped out on the doorstep. Sharangovich let go with a quick release and scored to make it 2-0.
The Devils went on their first power play of the evening at the 16:22 when Luke Schenn was called for interference against Nate Bastian.
The Devils did give up a shorthanded 2-on-1 relatively early in the man advantage when Quinn Hughes and Tyler Motte cut in with Damon Severson the lone Devil back, but Motte missed the net and the Devils were off the hook for the moment.
They would convert at 17:44 of the period when Nico Hischier connected within the Canucks zone to Jesper Bratt. Bratt found Mercer near the near-side faceoff circle and he was able to take the pass on his forehand (being a right-handed shot) and scored. It was a good passing play and made it 3-0 Devils before the first intermission.
Hischier hit the post in the last minute of the first period to narrowly miss making it 4-0.
Instead, Vancouver would get on the board just 1:36 into the second period.
The Devils were unable to clear their zone and Travis Hamonic kept it alive for the Canucks. He got it to Bo Horvat, who blasted a shot from the point. The shot was then tipped in front by Vasily Podkolzin and by Daws to make it 3-1 and potentially get the Canucks back into the game.
The Devils would respond right away, however, with three unanswered goals.
The first came less than 2:30 later at the 3:08 gone by mark when Andreas Johnsson got the puck up to Jesper Boqvist, who battled with Quinn Hughes to gain position, hustling to get in front of him and one-on-one with Halak. Halak was playing very deep in his net and Boqvist beat him to make it 4-1 Devils. Ryan Graves had the secondary assist on the goal.
Graves would then notch his own at 5:07 gone by in the second when Sharangovich won an offensive zone faceoff back to Graves at the point. Graves shot and the puck deflected in off of Schenn’s leg and past Halak to make it 5-1 Devils.
The final part of the Devils’ roughly three-minute onslaught came at the 6:19 mark of the second when Hischier dug the puck out from behind the Vancouver net and it jarred to Pavel Zacha.
Zacha dished off to Jesper Bratt at the right side of the Canucks net and he skated it just above the goal line. He then roofed a shot above Halak to score and make it 6-1 New Jersey.
It was after this goal that Halak would be pulled in favor of Demko and the Canucks would respond almost immediately.
At the 8:14 mark of the second, the Canucks made it 6-2 when JT Miller came out of the cycle in the Devils zone, passing to Brad Hunt, who was pinching down from the blue line.
Hunt quickly hit a wide-open Tanner Pearson with a pass, as Pearson was in the middle of the ice in the Devils zone. He got a clear shot off and scored putting the Canucks on the board again just before the second break.
The third period would see each team with chances early.
Zacha was stopped on a partial breakaway at the beginning of the period, but shot wide as he ended up getting the shot off in way too close to Demko.
Motte was turned aside minutes later on his own partial breakaway thanks in most part to a fantastic backchecking effort by Sharangovich.
The Devils would finally ice the game at the 11:42 gone by mark of the third when Tomas Tatar won a board battle just inside the Devils blue line. Boqvist recovered from there and skated the puck into the Vancouver zone.
He passed off to Dougie Hamilton, who was rushing up to join the play in the Canucks end. He shot and scored to make it 7-2, our final for the evening.
Hischier (two assists), Sharangovich (one goal and one assist), Mercer (one goal and one assist), Bratt (one goal and one assist), Boqvist (one goal and one assist), Jack Hughes (one goal and one assist) and Graves (one goal and one assist) each registered multi-point games for the Devils.
The Devils were outshot 38-33 and won 48-percent of the game’s faceoffs. Michael McLeod led the New Jersey centers with a 69-percent personal winning percentage.
As a team, the Devils took two penalty minutes while the Canucks took four total penalty minutes. The Devils were outhit 35 to 26 and had eight blocked shots to Vancouver’s nine. Team giveaways saw the Canucks finish with ten while the Devils doubled them up with 20.
Severson led all Devils skaters with 21:39 of total ice time (which included 3:07 on the power play and 27 seconds of shorthanded time). Graves and Jonas Siegenthaler each had 1:33 of penalty kill time to lead the defensemen in that category. Graves out of his 20:08 of total ice time while Siegenthaler totaled 21:28 of ice time and also had one second on the power play.
Ice time was spread pretty evenly. Hischier led the forwards with 17:44 of total time on ice (which included 3:09 on the power play – a high there). McLeod spent the most time on the PK amongst the forwards with 1:33 logged out of his 17:16 of total time on ice.
Hischier led in shots on goal with five. Hits were led by Bastian with seven. Graves led in blocks with two. Personal giveaways were led by Tatar and Hamilton with three apiece while personal takeaways were led by Johnsson, Hischier, Jimmy Vesey, Sharangovich, Mercer, Bratt, Jack Hughes, Tatar and Siegenthaler with one each.
Next up, the Devils will kick off March tomorrow as they travel to Columbus to play the Blue Jackets in a divisional matchup. Puck drop for that game is 7 PM and the game will be on ESPN+.
We will have coverage for you right here following the game tomorrow night. Until then, have a great 24 hours everyone!