New Jersey Devils, NHL
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils won their biggest game in recent memory last night defeating the New York Rangers 4-3 in the shootout.

The New Jersey Devils played their most complete game of the season last night defeating the Rangers in the shootout 4-3. The Devils are playing better than anybody could have ever expected, and I’ve remained reserved basically all season saying that the Devils would be a bubble team, and I’m not so sure that is the case anymore. This team is here to stay, and earlier than anybody could have ever thought.

This is the most complete team the Devils have had since the 2011-12 season. They have the perfect combination of size and speed up front. From Taylor Hall to Jesper Bratt all the way down to Blake Coleman and Brian Gibbons, the Devils are faster than a lot of teams. Parlay that with the size of Brian Boyle, Pavel Zacha, and Kyle Palmieri and you’ve got a very dangerous forward group.

New Jersey Devils

Speaking of Zacha, he has been head and shoulders better than he was even three weeks ago. After being benched for a few games in a row, his confidence is rising. He is starting to win puck battles and move the puck. He is making it difficult for John Hynes to bench him again, even though he hasn’t scored since October. He is also helping up front, having two assists on this current six-game homestand.


As for Thursday night, the New Jersey win came in the shootout. The Devils basically dominated the entire game. They outshot the Rangers 48-28, and if it weren’t for Henrik Lundqvist and two Rangers goals that came from the crease, the Devils could have won four-or-five-to-one.

The Devils were resilient, as they have been this entire season. They came back from two one-goal deficits in the second and third period. No goal was more important than this one from Brian Boyle with about eight minutes left in the third.

Boyle has been a huge addition to this team. He seems to be a great locker room guy and he also brings it on the ice. Boyle missed the beginning of the season with a form of Leukemia but since then has played 24 games and registered 15 points (nine goals, six assists). He is a bigger addition that anyone could have ever thought. Last year with Toronto he registered just three assists and nothing else. It was an appropriate thought that he could have been done.

Injuries

The Devils have been bitten by the injury bug this season and are very close to getting back to full strength. Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and Marcus Johansson all have missed time due to injury. Mojo has been on IR three times already this season, while Palmieri has already been on there twice. Young sensational forward Jesper Bratt missed Thursday’s game after blocking a shot in the Devils win over the Ducks. If Bratt can come back on Saturday it will be the first time in a long time that the Devils are playing at 100 percent.

On the defensive side of the puck, Mirco Mueller is the only player missing time right now after breaking his clavicle. Mueller began skating again so it is only a matter of time until he is back in the lineup.

The Devils have one more game until the Christmas break Saturday night when they will host the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks are coming off of a 4-0 loss to Dallas and will be looking for revenge after the last time the Devils beat them 7-4 at the United Center earlier in the season.

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