New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes Redemption Tour Begins In New York

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 19: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils scores his second goal of the second period at 8:38 against Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 19: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils scores his second goal of the second period at 8:38 against Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Jack Hughes has officially arrived for the New Jersey Devils and is ready to win.

Of course, when you look at the New Jersey Devils victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, there are plenty of things to break down. Mackenzie Blackwood has been the best goalie in the NHL so far this season, Miles Wood has been awesome, and they didn’t blow it at the end of the third period. However, all of that pales in comparison to the way Jack Hughes played in the big win over their most hated rival.

Coming into this game, Hughes had three assists in two games. He looked like a completely different player as he makes something happen in the offensive zone on a regular basis. He was underwhelming (statistically) in his rookie season, but there was plenty of evidence to show that he would be an elite offensive player one day.

In this game against the Rangers, he gave just a taste of what he can do. He scored two goals to get his offensive night started. The first one was in the blue paint where he found a loose puck and jammed it into the net. It was a “dirty goal”, but it is something that Hughes needs to do if he is to score more. His second goal was more of the “pretty” variety. He found himself on a breakaway and made a nifty move to score through the five-hole.

Late in the game, he set up what would be the eventual game-winner for Miles Wood. He was a nice little pass through a bunch of defenders that found the stick (and boot) of Wood and ended up in the back of the net. That gave Hughes his sixth point of the season which has him in a seven-way tie for first in the entire National Hockey League.

"“Obviously Lindy (Ruff) has a lot of faith in me so I gotta deliver. We’ve been able to do that so far.” — Jack Hughes"

He almost had the league lead all by himself when he earned an assist on a P.K Subban goal, but it was waved off for being offsides. That would have been a four-point night. That doesn’t take away that it was one of the best shifts that Hughes has had in his young career so far. If he keeps this up, we could have a superstar center on our hands (if we don’t already).

Hot. Devils lineup changes when Hischier and Bratt come back. light

Lindy Ruff has not been shy about telling us that he is not sheltering Jack Hughes. His system is very up-tempo and that is great for a player like him. He knows how to manage a game in the offensive zone and create as well as anyone on the team. As he gets older, it is certainly possible that he becomes one of the best players in the NHL. New Jersey made the perfect selection when they took him number-one overall in 2019.

What can Hughes do to keep this up? Well, it would be nice for Ruff to keep giving him this much ice time. He said postgame that he wanted to give him even more ice time. Penalties kept Hughes off the ice, leaving him with just 15:22. It was the first time this season he had less than 20 minutes of ice time.

Yegor Sharangovich and Kyle Palmieri have been great linemates for him on the top line. Things might get even easier when Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt come back as well as teams will have to pick their poison when defending. He will have his chance to keep it going again on Thursday night when they head back to New York to take on the New York Islanders.