New Jersey Devils: Janne Kuokkanen Leads Way To Victory

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 19: Janne Kuokkanen #59 of the New Jersey Devils skates against Kaapo Kakko #24 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: Janne Kuokkanen #59 of the New Jersey Devils skates against Kaapo Kakko #24 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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The New Jersey Devils are finally back from their COVID-19 pause. They had as many as 19 players on the protocol list leading to a more than two week pause in the schedule. They finally played a game against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. They won the match by a final score of 5-2. Beating your arch-rival in your return to play is the best way to get the momentum going into the rest of the season. They have to play a lot of games in a short amount of time now, so this was a good start.

Janne Kuokkanen did a good job of leading the New Jersey Devils to victory.

When you think of the Devils roster, some of the stars like Jack Hughes, Kyle Palmieri, and Nico Hischier come to mind, but there are also some really good depth pieces as well. The Devils have a lot of hope for Janne Kuokkanen and he delivered in this one. Coming into this game, he had one goal and two assists for three points. He doubled his season point total in this game as he notched three assists to help the Devils to victory.

Kuokkanen assisted on goals scored by Pavel Zacha, Will Butcher, and Nick Merkley. If he can be a highly skilled bottom-six winger for them for a long time, he will prove to be a big find.

Sami Vatanen is set to come back over the next few days and he was the one they sent over to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Kuokkanen. It is looking like a really nice trade for New Jersey as they are going to have them both back in the lineup pretty soon here. We don’t know what Vatanen’s future is beyond this year, but Kuokkanen is looking like a big piece to the future puzzle. They even got a 3rd-round pick that turned into Nico Daws as a sweetener.

We can talk highly about Kuokkanen all we want, but you can talk about this Devils/Rangers tilt without at least mentioning Mackenzie Blackwood. He was the first Devils player to hit the COVID-19 protocol list and this was his first game back. He made 37 saves on 39 shots in the contest. The Devils played well in front of him for a lot of it but he bailed them out when they were stuck in their own end at times throughout the game.

light. Hot. There is a lot of positivity surrounding the Binghamton Devils

If the Devils are going to be a playoff team this year, they are going to need all of these guys to keep it up. Adding Nico Hischier and Sami Vatanen back into the mix should really help them and their depth. The fact that they are winning without some of these guys is incredible. When they are fully healthy and ready to go, nobody should be excited to play this team. Kuokkanen and the Devils are back in action on Thursday night when they take on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.