New Jersey Devils Win Opening Night Game On Back of Jack Hughes

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils started off the season with a spirited game against the Detroit Red Wings, who are a team slowly getting better and could be pushing for a playoff spot this year. The Wings had a hot start, good forechecking, and solid goaltending, all very impressive on Thursday night. If they play like that all season, they have a good chance of competing for the final playoff spot. However, they were not able to overcome the Devils, who expect to be one of the best teams in the NHL.

The Good

Jack Hughes did a bit of everything tonight, including losing the Lady Bing (half joking) by getting four penalty minutes. The first penalty was a bit odd since Mortiz Seider was trying to hit him, but it was nice to see some aggressiveness. The second penalty was clearly a slash, but maybe it is against the rules to stand over a guy obviously interfering. We love to see Hughes stand up for himself and the fire in his game, it will only make him better.

When it comes to his goals, the first was absolutely insane and only a few people in the world can score from behind the goal line at that speed. We are blessed to have one of them in Jersey for a long time. On the second goal, the way he drew players and the goalie one way before snapping the puck the other is a straight goal scorer’s goal. It will be fun to watch if he can push near 50 goals.

Vitek Vanecek was a monster on the night and way better than his .914 save percentage says. Detroit came out hot, and the game could have been ugly after the first, but he let the team get out of it scoreless. He made massive saves on big players, stopped a big odd-man rush, and bailed the team out on a two-on-one shorthanded opportunity so not a lot more could have been asked of him.

The defense core as a whole was solid pretty much all night and deserves a shout-out. Hamilton scored, Siegenthaler had three assists, and Luke Hughes had a very good start to his rookie year.

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Up next, the Devils get right back at it on Friday against the Arizona Coyotes, who should be an awful team looking at the draft lottery.  The Devils can’t go into it looking for an easy night, though.