Devils 5, Islanders 4: Hughes steals the show
Jack Hughes put the Devils on his back and carried them to a much-needed victory.
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A few observations following a dramatic victory for the Devils:
Turning the tide
Things have gone about as poorly as realistically possible for the Devils this season. They have consistently found themselves behind the eight-ball early in games and struggled to dig their way out. They have made too many eye-popping mistakes defensively. The goaltending has often been horrendous. And they have dealt with so many key injuries.
It doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say every time the Devils get an important player back from injury, they lose someone else the very next game. From Jack Hughes to Nico Hischier to Timo Meier to Erik Haula to Dougie Hamilton, the injuries have just not stopped.
The Devils really needed a break and something to go their way for once. That’s why last night’s win was so important.
After seeing a lead quickly turn into a two-goal deficit, and losing a near point per game defenseman in the process, it would’ve been easy for the Devils to fold like a tent and lose in regulation.
That would’ve put them a handful of points out of the closest playoff spot and – depending on how tonight’s game goes in Columbus – as low as 15th(!!!) in the Eastern Conference by the next time they play.
Instead, the Devils put on their hard hats and converted a dominant 3rd period effort into a regulation win over a team just above them in the standings.
The Devils now sit only two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers – who they just so happen to face on Thursday – for the 3rd playoff spot in the Metro Division.
It’s still early, I know, but the fact the Devils can erase all the early season struggles, and earn themselves a clean slate, with a win on Thursday has to be extremely exciting. Everything remains right there in front of the Devils.
The MSG broadcast talked a lot about how this kind of win could be one you look back on as a moment that truly propelled a season and I couldn’t agree more.
For the Devils to pull off their first comeback win of the season when trailing after 40, and do so in the fashion they did, has to be a huge momentum boost and feather in their cap.