When the New Jersey Devils started the season, not many people pegged them to be a playoff contender. More people probably expected them to come in last place or second to last place in the East Division. Right now, they are 6-3-2 with 14 points in the standings. Because of COVID-19, they have a lot of ground to make up in terms of games played, but they certainly have a chance to be a playoff team as of right now.
The New Jersey Devils’ second win over the Boston Bruins is their signature win.
The reason you can say that this team is a playoff contender right now is the way that they are playing. Of course, you need the record and they have that so far as well. Their win last night over the Boston Bruins is the latest big game of the season and it may even be their signature win. If they go on to make the playoffs (or even come close), we will look back at this game as the one that showed us they are for real.
It is fair to fear the Boston Bruins. They were 10-2-2 going into this game so it is clear that they are the class of the league. They have some all-world forwards, one of the best defensemen in the league with a really good group around him, and two elite goalies. They are hard on the forecheck, highly skilled, and defend well.
The Devils, from the first period on, were clearly the better team in this one. They did a good job creating offense by pinning the Bruins in early and they kept good pressure on all game long. In order to beat a team like the Bruins, you need to play hard all game long. The Devils needed their skaters to be hard on pucks and make it hard on the Bruins in their own end. They did a good job of those things in this one.
Mackenzie Blackwood was also very good in the goal as usual. He made 25 saves on 27 shots that come from a very skilled Boston group. As good as the Devils played, the Bruins are going to get some high danger chances every game and Blackwood stood tall. The first goal he gave up was on a turnover right in front of him and the second one was a deflection very late in the game. Blackwood is literally the MVP of the team so far.
One player that deserves mention in this one is Kyle Palmieri. This season has been hard so far for him as the two goals he scored today were the first two of the season for him. We know Palmieri is a very good goal scorer but he was off to a bad start. When he got his first on a nice play made by Jack Hughes, you knew that more might be on the way. Right on queue, his second goal came about nine minutes later. Now we need to see Palmieri keep that up.
The Devils now have six straight games against either the Buffalo Sabres or Washington Capitals coming up. Four of those six are at home so it would be nice to see them take advantage. It should be a stretch loaded with confidence coming off the signature win of the season. The first one comes on Saturday afternoon at home against the Sabres.