There was some history made last night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. With their 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers, the New Jersey Devils tied a franchise record winning streak originally set during the 2000-01 season. Their star players were their star players, as they had stellar performances against Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and co. in capturing their 13th straight win.
Devils’ Stars Took Over the Game
There was no shortage of star power in town last night. In addition to McDavid and Draisaitl, the Devils boast their own trio of Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier. Those three led the way for the Devils, as they all had multi-point games en route to the 5-2 win.
We’ll start with Bratt and Hughes, who have been linemates for most of this 13-game winning streak. Along with Erik Haula, this trio ran circles around the Oilers at five-on-five. The Devils had a 16-4 shot attempt advantage and controlled 69.95 of the expected goals (xG%) with them on the ice. One example of their dominance came in the second period on a slicking set of passing from Bratt and Hughes to set up Damon Severson for a 3-1 Devils lead:
And not only did Hughes, Hischier and Bratt dominate at five-on-five, but they connected in the opening minutes of the game on the power play to get the Devils out in front 1-0. Hughes finished the night with two assists, while Bratt totaled a goal and an assist. Hughes is now on pace for 91 points this season, while Bratt is on pace for 104.
Their performances shouldn’t overshadow Hischier’s, either. He ended up with three helpers, the third three-assist game of his career, putting him on pace for 100 points as well. After a so-so first period for the team in general, head coach Lindy Ruff made some tweaks to his line combos, moving Fabian Zetterlund to the third line and having Dawson Mercer join Hischier and Tomáš Tatar. The move paid off, as Hischier had the primary assist on Mercer’s goal, while he and Mercer assisted on Tatar’s highlight-reel tally. The Devils had a 77.5 xG% with these three on the ice, so expect them to stick together tomorrow against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In all, you can’t ask for much more from the Devils’ Big 3. They’re playing like star players and can even hold up against McDavid and Draisaitl — arguably the two-best hockey players in the world.
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