After putting their games on hold for two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the team, the New Jersey Devils returned to action this week. The Devils were busy as they played four games is six days. Three games were on the road and one game back home in Jersey. Let’s look and see how the Devils did after the layoff:
Hudson River Rivalry renewed @ New York’s Rangers (2/16/21)
The two Hudson River rivals were scoreless until the second period where things started heating up. Pavel Zacha got the Devils on the board first on the power play which was assisted by Damon Severson and Janne Kuokkonen. Moments later, Colin Blackwell got the game tied up for the Rangers scoring his second goal of the season. Will Butcher who was making his season debut for New Jersey scored his first of the season as he fired a puck off a Rangers defender that went into the back of the net to regain the lead for the Devils. However, a late goal by Pavel Buchnevich tied the game up as the score would be even 2-2 heading into the third period.
In the third period, the New Jersey Devils were able to score three times to push themselves towards victory over their rivals in the New York Rangers by a final score of 5-2. Third period goals came from Yegor Sharbgovich, Nick Merkley, and an empty netter from Mikhail Maltsev.
Battle in Beantown @ Boston Bruins (2/18/21)
New Jersey had a strong performance against the East leading Boston Bruins. Kyle Palmieri scored twice in the second period, one his was goal was a key short handed goal on the penalty kill. Palmieri needed these goals as he’s been off to a slow start goal scoring wise this season. Jake DeBrusk did get the score within one for the Bruins as he added his first of the season. However, moments later Pavel Zacha got the two goal cushion back as he added his fourth goal of the season. After two periods, the New Jersey Devils would lead the Boston Bruins 3-1.
David Pastrnak and the B’s would add a late third period power play goal but, it wouldn’t be enough as the Devils were able to shut them down and hold on for a 3-2 victory.
Welcoming the Buffalo Sabres to Prudential Center and a new captain (2/20/21)
Before this game,the New Jersey Devils named Nico Hischier the 12th captain in team history. Congratulations goes out to Nico as I’m sure he’ll do great things as the Devils captain for years to come! Unfortunately, this game wasn’t a great one for the new captain and is one I’m sure he and the team want to improve on playing a better 60 minute effort. Colin Miller gave the Sabres an early 1-0 lead that stood through the first period.
In the second period, Sam Reinhart scored twice giving his team a commanding 3-0 lead. Those were his fourth and fifth goals on the season.
New Jersey was able to get the score within one as Kyle Palmieri scored his third goal of the season very early in the third period. Then PK Subban at the 16:44 added his first of the season. However, the Devils couldn’t complete the comeback effort and fell to the Buffalo Sabres 3-2.
Heading to the Nations Capital @ Washington Capitals (2/21/21)
New Jersey got off to a great start against the Washington Capitals as they showed off their youth, speed, and skill. Andreas Johnsson got the Devils on the board first with a power play goal. The Devils would take that 1-0 lead into the second period.
Jack Hughes added his fourth of the season as he backhanded the puck behind Caps goalie Craig Anderson to add to New Jersey’s lead. Unfortunately, penalty trouble and the veteran skill of the Capitals caught up with the Devils as TJ Oshie got his team back in the game with a power play goal. New Jersey held onto a 2-1 lead until the third period.
In the third period, the Washington Capitals showed this young Devils team who’s boss as they unleashed their will on them. John Carlson, TJ Oshie (his second PPG of the game), and an Alex Ovechkin power play goal gave the Caps a 4-2 lead. Nikita Gusev did add a late goal but it wasn’t enough as the Devils would lose in D.C by a final score of 4-3.
How they doin’: my thoughts on the week
I would have to say the Devils had a pretty good first week back. They won twice this week in regulation against really good teams in the Rangers and especially the Boston Bruins. The victory against the B’s was a very gutsy and hard earned win for this young team. Kyle Palmieri got off the goal scoring shnide and scored three time this week.
This week also saw the return of star center Nico Hischier from injury and battling COVID-19. Also, Hischier was named the 12th captain in New Jersey Devils team history. That was some exciting news for him and the franchise as a whole. Unfortunately the game against Buffalo wasn’t so great as the Devils didn’t have a good start and started coming back too late in the game.
Continuing with good news, Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals was the 1,000th game in center Travis Zajac’s career which have all been with the New Jersey Devils. The Devils got off to an amazing start against the Caps but couldn’t finish them off. Washington came back to win 4-3 after trailing 2-0 for a while. This game showed that this young New Jersey Devils team is one that is on the rise and has a bright future ahead. However, this game also showed they’re still not ready for the big time just yet. Overall, this was a very interesting and exciting week for the team.
2/23/21 New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres
2/25/21 New Jersey Devils @ Buffalo Sabres
2/27/21 & 2/28/21 vs Washington Capitals