Welcome back Devils fans! It’s been a long time since we last saw our New Jersey Devils play a live NHL game. In case you forgot, the league shutdown in mid-March in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast word to this week in 2021 and hockey is back for the Garden State’s favorite hockey team. Sadly, we are unable to be in the stands cheering on our favorite team or for me to cover them in person. Anyway, let’s recap how the first week back went for the Devils. They played and hosted the Boston Bruins twice this week while home at the Prudential Center. Here’s what happened:
Opening Night vs the Boston Bruins (1/14/21)
On opening night, it was the Bruins who opened up the scoring first as Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the season. That goal would come on the power play and assisted by David Krejci, and newly appointed captain Patrice Bergeron. That would be the only goal scored for a while as it was a tight defensive battle between the Bruins and Devils.
In the third period, Miles Wood would get a fast break and scored which evened things up for the Devils. However, at the 13:12 mark Nick Ritchie would score on the power play to give the B’s their lead back. One problem though. Devils rookie Ty Smith would score his first National Hockey League goal seconds later to tie the game at 2-2. The score would remain that way as this game went all the way to the shootout. Brad Marchand would score the game winner in the shootout to give the Bruins the victory over the Devils 3-2.
Saturday Matinee vs the B’s (1/16/21)
New Jersey would get on the board first this time as Miles Wood added his second goal of the season on a redirect off of a shot from the point from rookie Ty Smith. Jack Hughes would also get an assist on the play as well. The Devils would lead 1-0 after the first period.
However, Boston would tie things up 1-1 as Patrice Bergeron would score short handed as he wristed a shot that would go behind Devils goalie MacKenzie Blackwood. The score would remain tied after the second and third periods to force overtime again between the two teams.
In overtime with a two seconds to spare, Devils rookie Yegor Sharangovich would score the game winner on a semi breakaway to give the Devils their first win of the young 2021 season. Sharangovich’s game winner is also his first goal in the National Hockey league. New Jersey wins by a final score of 2-1.
How they doin’? Devils weekly analysis
I have to say the Devils had a great first week as they picked up three points in the standings against a tough opponent in the Boston Bruins. They didn’t win on opening night but were able to salvage a point anyway. In the matinee, it was another close game that required OT but this time they were able to finish and get the W.
I’m really impressed by how this young group has played so far in these first two games. In particular I was really impressed by Yegor Sharangovich, Jack Hughes, and Ty Smith. Sharangovich and Smith are both rookies while former number one overall pick (2019) Hughes is in his sophomore season. All three of them displayed their speed and showed they have the skills to belong in the NHL. Sharangovich showed so far he is a potential steal as he was formerly a fifth round draft pick back in 2018. Former 1st rounder also in 2018 Ty Smith is showing why scouts raved about him. He picked up a goal and assist this week. Jack Hughes looks like a totally different player than he was in his rookie season. He looks more confident, composed, put on more muscle, showed more strength, and his skill set as a playmaker was on full display as he picked up three assists this week. Overall, this was an exciting week for the New Jersey Devils.
Action for next week:
1/19/21: New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers 7pm EST
1/21/21: New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders 7pm EST