Seeing a slightly different look would not be unorthodox as the New Jersey Devils have implemented their burly Sasquatch defensemen into the playoff lineup. Yes, the New Jersey Devils should play Luke Hughes at some point versus the New York Rangers. Lindy Ruff needs to know the immediate chemistry of the fraternal talent Luke and Jack Hughes has on the ice, the level of confidence, and the absolute poise they showed against the Washington Capitals. It would be extremely hard for the New York Rangers to tell which brother to cover and how to strip the puck away from them.
The Rangers dealing with Luke Hughes as a young future two-way forward with the high-octane offense will be a major thorn for the Rangers’ defense. It’ll be a major conundrum for Gerard Gallant‘s defenders to play a north-south strategy. If Luke plays like a 4th forward and stays strong on defense, then it’ll be hard for the Rangers to deal with a guy who’s already as good as brother Quinn and can be a future stud. The Devils already have so many young studs that they can make life harder for the Rangers when trying to slow them down. Add in the veterans, and this is a recipe for success.
Speed does kill, and drawing penalties would then put the New Jersey Devils on the power play more frequently. They need to remain disciplined themselves but let the Rangers head to the penalty box as much as possible. If Vitek Vanecek has Akira Schmid as his backup, don’t be surprised to see Akira Schmid take over a few games as well. Schmid performed better, with 8.2 Goals Saved Above Expected this season. Vitek Vanecek this season had a 5.1 GSAx.
Don’t be surprised after the Devils finish up going through the playoffs that Tom Fitzgerald keeps solidifying the defense by getting stronger, more physical, and stingier. This would help the Devils possibly get even closer to Lord Stanley again. Speaking of which, the New Jersey Devils will need to be playing more physically in a clean way to intimidate and reduce the Rangers’ odds of scoring.