Devils 5, Penguins 2: Safe is death
No firepower, no problem. The Devils played with great aggression and urgency against the Penguins – and it paid off.
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A few notes following New Jersey’s impressive road win over Pittsburgh:
And then there was one
The Devils have four undisputed star players up front and three of them are currently injured.
Jesper Bratt is the lone soldier remaining from that group, meaning the weight of the world was on his shoulders against a strong Penguins team that had been playing its best hockey. He was up to the task and then some.
In a game featuring several future Hall of Famers, I thought Bratt was the best player on the ice.
He wasn’t just asked to do the heavy lifting in terms of creating offense. He was asked to do all of the lifting.
Bratt had the puck on a string from start to finish. He was weaving his way around Penguins defenders and finding teammates in space for chance-after-chance. He assisted on three or four quality shots over his first couple of shifts and it just felt like it was going to be one of those games. It certainly was.
No. 63 recorded 11 shot assists at 5v5 alone. 11! That’s the highest output from any Devils player all season, beating the 10 he mustered up a few games ago.
He scored the eventual game-winning-goal, assisted on a Tyler Toffoli dagger late, and was just a shifty pain in the ass all night long.
A two point night is nothing to sneeze at and, quite honestly, he probably deserved more. He was terrific and stepped up in a game the Devils really needed him.