New Jersey Finishes Off Philadelphia Behind Strong 4-1 win
A long, tough season for the New Jersey Devils may be kind of ending how it began. New Jersey, before their COVID outbreak, looked like a pretty good team. They won games maybe New Jersey should not have but the Devils found ways to make due.
Now, New Jersey has won three straight games. Granted, this was against a Philadelphia Flyers team that was all but out (and is now out) of the playoffs, but wins are wins. New Jersey is the youngest team in the NHL by far — especially when it comes to their forward core.
Playing the Philadelphia Flyers helps any team’s bottom line from an offensive standpoint the past couple of months. Just ask fantasy hockey owners of Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox. They will attest to that very fact. All that being said, three straight wins given how poorly New Jersey had fared themselves, carries significance. There is some hope.
|05:00||NJD||Jesper Bratt (7)||Pavel Zacha, Kevin Bahl|
|00:52||NJD||Janne Kuokkanen (7)||Jack Hughes, Yegor Sharangovich|
|05:14||NJD||SH||Nico Hischier (6)|
|14:59||NJD||Yegor Sharangovich (15)||Jack Hughes|
|18:42||PHI||Joel Farabee (16)||Shayne Gostisbehere, Nicolas Aube-Kubel|
This New Jersey Devils team led by Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes is in good hands. Now, it is up to management and Tom Fitzgerald to surround the core with the depth and talent needed. There are questions and those will be asked in time — both on and off the ice.
For now, New Jersey got four goals from its youth and MacKenzie Blackwood stopped all but one shot in the win. They took three out of four versus Philadelphia, ended a ten-game losing streak, and started a winning streak. New Jersey may have blown a couple of multiple-goal leads along the way but Saturday night was a more complete effort.
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Next up is the Boston Bruins
A back-to-back home miniseries with Boston will measure the temperature especially with Taylor Hall and a red-hot second line from Boston. How does a young team handle that kind of intensity?
Most know the history with Brad Marchand and New Jersey as well. It will be an electric two games. Boston is battling for the East Division title while the Devils are learning. Every lesson is valuable. Every bit of development is important.
The draft position would have been nice with the new lottery rules but the confidence built over the final weeks is of far more importance. Players like Ty Smith and Yegor Sharangovich needed to see the positive once more after months of the negative.
Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes needed time to just be able to play. For Hischier, it was about coming back from injury and rounding into form. For Hughes, it was about keeping on keeping on. The points will come with all the chances and they have.
These next two games against Boston will also allow players like Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha to show continued growth. Now, this is not all roses here. New Jersey has a ton of structural and developmental flaws but this is a far more entertaining version.
The next two games and really the final five overall should feature one simple edict. For all the mistakes to be made and the positives, simply…
Let them play.
The offseason will be for sorting out what is needed and what is not.