NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The young New Jersey Devils are making a name for themselves — in the team’s record book.
“I guess we’re up there with the history book,” Hischier said. “Nobody is going to take that from us now and it feels good. It proves that we’re a good team, that we can win hockey games, that we don’t have to hide anymore.”
“It’s awesome winning,” said Bratt, who leads the team with 24 points. “So is everything around the rink and being with the guys and playing these important games. That means a lot, and winning is the best thing possible in hockey.”
The Devils still have three quarters of the season to go, but they are well on the road to making the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
“We’ve had a great run. We know that we’re kind of the hunted now,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “We know that we’re going to expect probably the best every team can bring because we’re getting recognition. So that part we have to deal with. But 19 games in you can’t say, ‘We sent a message to the league.'”
Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for the Oilers, beaten twice by New Jersey during its run. Stuart Skinner made 23 saves, but had the puck taken off his stick by Hischier early in the second period to set up the go-ahead goal by Mercer into a wide-open net.
“Obviously a tough game. Tough loss,” Skinner said. “They’re obviously a great team. They’re obviously hot right now as well. They’ve got some great players that make some great plays and it was just tough to lose, especially two in a row to these guys. But all we can do is learn from our mistakes and move on.”
Severson stretched the margin to 3-1 on a counterattack minutes later.
Edmonton made a push early in the third. Nugent-Hopkins cut it to 3-2 at 4:52 and had a close-in chance to tie it, only to be stopped by Vanecek, who improved to 9-1.
Tatar gave the Devils breathing room about a minute later, gloving down the rebound of Mercer’s shot and beating Skinner. Sharangovich added an insurance goal with 5:15 to go.
Jack Hughes had two assists for the…