New Jersey Devils (1-0-0 2pts) vs Chicago Blackhawks (0-1-1, 1pt)
Alright Devils fans…tonight is the first of 82 games after two back to back shortened seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Jersey Devils host the Chicago Blackhawks in their season and home opener at the Prudential Center. It wouldn’t take long for New Jersey to get on the scoreboard as prized free agent acquisition Dougie Hamilton would score his first goal of the season and as a member of the Devils seventeen seconds into the beginning of the game. Hamilton’s goal was assisted by Pavel Zacha who picked off the puck from the defenseman in the Blackhawks end and passed it to help get the Devils on the board first. That would be the only scoring of the period as the Devils would lead the Blackhawks 1-0 going into the second period and being shorthanded to begin the next period.
Going along with the quick goals theme to begin a period, the Chicago Blackhawks would tie the game on that early power play as Alex DeBrincat would bury a shot on a nice cross pass from Patrick Kane to beat Devils goalie Jonathan Bernier. Later on in the period, Jack Hughes would help the Devils retake the lead. Hughes forced a turnover behind the net, got the puck in front, and span round while firing the shot that would beat Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
The third period saw some drama unfold. New Jersey thought they had the game locked down as Andreas Johnsson scored his first of the season off of a rebound shot by rookie Dawson Mercer who added his first National Hockey League point on the play. However, it wasn’t enough as the Blackhawks scored two goals with the extra attacker to tie the game up late in the third period as Kirby Dach (power play goal) and Dominik Kubalik each scored to force overtime. Fortunately for the Devils, Jack Hughes scored fifty-seven seconds into the extra period to win it as he absolutely man handled the Blackhawks defense and nearly shook goaltender Kevin Lankinen out of his goalie gear to win the game by a final score of 4-3. New Jersey is back in action on Tuesday night as they welcome the expansion Seattle Kraken to the Garden State for their first matchup ever between the two teams.
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils vs Seattle Kraken, Tuesday 10/19/21 @ 7pm EST