The New Jersey Devils got another two points and have kept up the momentum since Nico Hischier returned and are doing a great job at keeping themselves in the playoff race. While it seems far off, every point can matter at the end of the season so lets take a quick look at the good and the bad of the game.
The team scored first again and might not actually let in the first goal 70 times this season. It’s great they woke up on time because you can’t play from behind all year.
Alexander Holtz’s goal streak continued, and he is showing that he belongs in the NHL and probably in the top six. He was one of the best players on the ice this game, and while he was credited with four shots on goal, it looked like he might have fired off close to 10 attempts. His shoot-first mentality is going to take him far. That one step he improved upon in his skating is massively visible this season. Teams need to watch out for him now since he can shoot from everywhere and look like he will be a threat from anywhere.
Jack Hughes had a Jack Hughes game with nine shots, one goal, and two assists, including setting up his brother in overtime for the game winner. He just does everything right, and when he is on the ice, everything goes through him.
Luke Hughes had a crazy game, getting hurt early and giving Devils fans collective heart attacks as he grabbed his arm while going off from a super dangerous hit to scoring the overtime winner. He was engaged all night no matter where the puck was, was firing everything at the net like the two players mentioned before, and ate up the second-most minutes. With Dougie Hamilton out for the foreseeable future, that’s imperative.
Akira Schmid gave this team great goaltending all night, and he looked like last year’s version of himself, confident in his positioning and movement on the ice. He’s not really to blame for any of the goals against. He came up big multiple times, especially late in the game to keep the lead. The team needs to give him a good run as the starter to reward his recent play.
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NHL officials, what are you doing? On the Luke Hughes hit and near serious injury, the play should obviously have been blown dead. It almost cost the Devils a young star who could have missed almost the whole year. That being said, the worst call was the Brendan Smith penalty situation late in the game. It was a penalty on him, but the cowardly play beforehand by the Flyers player to crosscheck him in the upper arm where there is no padding from behind on a line change should be called every time as not only a slash, but they should put serious thought into it being unsportsmanlike as well. Plays like that need to be removed from the game to protect players and while Smith’s slash was viscous and a penalty, the other guy probably thinks twice about doing that again.