The New Jersey Devils in the first half of a back-to-back took on the Montreal Canadiens. The Devils’ opponent played a solid game despite the Devils getting the win. Their goaltender had some big saves, and they played physical all night. However, the Devils big guns and speed were able to overcome thanks in large part to the same people and unit that had been good all year.
The powerplay scored another two goals in four chances. It is still rolling and carrying this team forward, and with this roster, it should be top five in the league by the end of the season. Once this team sorts out the rest of the game like they did last year they will be scary.
Jack Hughes has been the best player in the NHL this season. As of the time of this writing, he has more points than anyone in the league (he’s technically tied with Dylan Larkin, but Larkin has two more games played). Hughes makes it look so easy to generate chances for anyone lucky enough to be on the ice with him. That’s how he put up four assists Tuesday night. It is insane the value this team has for a long time with his contract.
Nico Hischier got it going Tuesday night finally. After his slow start, he got his first goal and point of the season. More importantly, he had incredible puck control and the other small parts of his game that he always did so well, and that makes him such a unique player for this team. He is one who can be amazing without getting points. It is also worth noting that he was 68% in the faceoff circle, and he has been on fire this season there.
Tyler Toffoli got himself a hat trick, and his shot has come as advertised. Last season’s 30+ goal season was clearly not a fluke. It was a weird choice to separate him from Hughes to start the game, but obviously, it did not last forever since Hughes got the primary assist on all three goals as the two’s chemistry is clear.
Vitek Vanecek had a .931 save percentage, made some big saves, and was exactly what this team needed him to be.
Timo Meier was mediocre despite his three assists in two games. Aside from not scoring, the other thing he was supposed to bring to this team, something that was lacking was physicality. Where has that been?
We had to check in the second intermission to make sure Dawson Mercer was playing. He would be taking a ton of grief from the fans if a guy making more was not taking it all for him because he has done nothing all season.