New Jersey Devils 3 Stars of The Week: Win Streak Edition


The New Jersey Devils are streaking.

Not that kind of streaking. Thankfully. They’ve managed to win four games in a row, which matches their season-high win streak. The question is, can they break their record for the season when they go to Pittsburgh to take on the recently-troubled Penguins? If they win and take the streak to 5 games won, they’ll enter the All-Star Break in a playoff spot.

They’ve won these games with the help of my three stars of the week, and these guys deserve some recognition.
So, without further ado, here we go.

Star Number 3: Travis Zajac

Until last Wednesday night, Travis had been in a 27 game goal drought. He had stunned the entire Devils fan base earlier in the season when he was actually putting up points and netting goals consistently. It’s no secret that Zajac has had a very, very tough time on the ice since ex ZZ Pops linemate/best friend/Devils captain, Zach Parise left for Minnesota. In 2013, Zajac signed an 8 year, $46 million contract with the Devils. He has since failed to consistently put up points. It’s been 3 years.

New Jersey Devils
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This current season, however, Zajac entered and began putting up points, almost immediately. It was a promising start and a refreshing change.
When Lou Lamoriello left the Devils to become the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a bunch of trade rumors surrounding Zajac began to appear. Fans weren’t too concerned because they were kind of sick of him being overpaid and not putting up the points that he needed to provide.
So, when Trav began to consistently put up points this season, everyone was relieved and the rumors disappeared.

Then, the inevitable happened. In typical Zajac fashion, Travis entered a 27 game goal drought. Sure, he’d pick up an assist or two every now and again, but he just couldn’t seem to make the puck hit the back of the net. Again, typical.

Well, Travis broke that goal drought during Thursday’s game versus the Ottawa Senators. But wait, not only did he break his goal drought, but Zajac managed to rack up 4 points in the first period, with 1g and 3a. He’s the first Devils player since Kovalchuk (I feel like I may as well have just written Voldemort right there) to do so. Because of that, he’s my third star of the week. Good lord, I just hope that this kickstarted his goal scoring abilities. God knows we need him.

Star Number 2: Joseph Blandisi

It’s no secret that the Devils have been plagued with injuries this season. I’m personally calling it the curse of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m convinced that since we now have Shero, Hynes and Bobby Farnham, they’ve put a plague on our house because they’ve done wonders for the New Jersey Devils organization, but that’s just my take on things.

New Jersey Devils
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Because of the Devils recent injury issues, they’ve had to make a series of call-ups from their AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils. The first of those call-ups being forward, Joseph Blandisi.
The kid has been unstoppable since being called-up. He goes out and he plays every shift as though it could be his last. He’s clean with his moves, he’s sharp with his skating and he’s persistent and precise with his shooting.
The kid has gotten points in every NHL game that he’s played this season and he scored his first career NHL goal on Thursday against Ottawa. For these reasons, he’s my second star of the week.
I genuinely believe that Blandisi has a spot for the rest of the season on the roster with the big boys. He goes out and proves his dedication to the Devils every single night. I have a great feeling about him.

Star Number 1: Lee Stempniak

Not only is he my first star of the week, but Stemper is also the NHL’s second star of the week! Let me tell you how refreshing and exciting it is to see that a Devil is actually being recognized by the NHL based on his playing ability. IT’S SO REFRESHING AND EXCITING! It’s been so long since the Devils have been relevant, and it’s thanks to consistent scorers like Stempniak.
I’ll be honest. At first glance, Stempniak wasn’t appealing to me. I wasn’t totally for or against having him on the Devils, but I wasn’t sure what Shero and Hynes saw in him. I was cautious, as were many other Devils fans.

New Jersey Devils
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But holy cow, he’s proven us wrong.
In only half a season, Lee Stempniak has quickly become one of the Devils best forwards. He’s one of their most reliable players, especially in situations such as overtime or shootouts. He’s sitting at 14 goals and 22 assists, with one game left before all-star break. He tends to average at least one point every two games, and that’s really all that we can ask for. Not to mention that he’s quickly becoming our go-to guy in the shootout.
For these reasons and many more, he’s my first star of the week.

The Devils have one game left, Tuesday in Pittsburgh before the all-star break. Reminder, the last two times Cory Schneider has faced the Pittsburgh Penguins, he’s gotten a you-kn0w-what. Keep that in mind as the Devils look to go into the all-star break in a playoff spot.