New Jersey Devils Show Their Work As They Strike Fear In Wild

New Jersey Devils right wing Alexander Holtz (10): Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils right wing Alexander Holtz (10): Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the first seven games of the New Jersey Devils season, they failed to score first. That changed in a home-and-home series with the Minnesota Wild, scoring first in each matchup. The Devils have also been without captain Nico Hischier in both games, forcing players like Jack Hughes, Timo Meier, and countless other cast members on the team to lead them to a win. Earlier in the season, a lot of Devils discourse questioned the ability of Alexander Holtz to get into a groove, and today he got to use his shot on net to pot his third goal of the season.

Alexander Holtz Progression

Holtz has absolutely gotten into his stride. We discussed his potential in a previous article. This is the most confident Alexander Holtz has looked since joining the league. He has been playing with enthusiasm, swagger, and the skating game on top of his shooting is starting to show why the Devils drafted him. His ability to get shots off quickly and fit in on the Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian line has seemed to work.

Having guys like McLeod and Bastian on his line brings speed, agility, grit, crash, and puck battle possession that converts into offensive zone time. With Luke Hughes behind him, Holtz has a plethora of guys that allow him to skate freely and get him the puck passed in a heartbeat. Getting the young Swedish sniper rolling after a game like this will get him motivated to play his very best every other game.

The Bratt Effect

Jesper Bratt finished Thursday night’s game with a power-play goal and four total points. He was very creative and very dynamic in keeping the puck moving swiftly and has been shooting on quicker releases wasting no time. He does everything to dictate the pace of play moving around like a shark smelling blood in the water. Defenses can’t recognize Jesper Bratt’s movement, more often than not leading to goals. This game in Minnesota was pretty much set on a tee because Bratt was able to pull apart Minnesota’s defense play-by-play and shift-by-shift.

Timo Meier and Jack Hughes

Sometimes superstar players get off to a slow start and need time to find a good rhythm. Jack Hughes had a phenomenal setup pass that banked off Timo Meier and in the back of Filip Gustavsson’s net. If Timo Meier can keep playing near the goalie crease and playing with Jack Hughes very much on a consistent basis will increase the Devils odds of winning games now and in the playoffs. Timo Meier’s game is to play where funny bounces, and tough puck battles are usually won so it makes sense for him to keep grooving in what he does best.

Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton has been nothing short of offensive brilliance. He now has three goals and six points and has been on the hunt to set the franchise goal-scoring record by a defenseman. The New Jersey Devils were feeling the breath of the Minnesota Wild just being one goal within tying the game, however, the plot would change.

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Dougie Hamilton scored on a 5 on 3 power-play. That would be the nail in the Wild’s coffin. Hamilton is embarking on another journey to lead this Devils team to a big leap forward in another successful season.