While the New Jersey Devils blew a 4-0 lead to the Winnipeg Jets and lost in a shootout, there are positive takeaways.
NEWARK, NJ—The New Jersey Devils entered their 2019-20 home opener having only defeated the Winnipeg Jets once since 2015-16 (1-5-2). Though that stat line didn’t seem to bother the loud and excited fans at the Prudential Center on Friday night, well, until the Devils blew a 4-0 lead and lost 5-4 in a shootout.
Still, there are a few positives that the sold-out (16,514) crowd should and can appreciate.
Here are a few notable names that stood out in the losing effort:
Prior to leaving the game in the third period, Cory Schneider looked good. Baring a potential injury, there’s hope.
He wasn’t tested often, but when he was challenged, he recorded the big save that helped swing the momentum in the Devils’ favor for a majority of the night. His side-to-side movements were exceptional, and his glove flashed signs of the old No. 35 that fans came to appreciate when he took over for the great Martin Brodeur.
His confidence is the key here – and playing the way he did on opening night in front of the home crowd goes a longer way than most might think.
The fan-favorite, Blake Coleman, embraced the Prudential Center’s atmosphere, and to the fullest. Both of his goals were scored in the second period and large part because he kept his feet moving and was persistent.
His second goal on the night seen above does the talking. He seemed comfortable and dynamic playing with Travis Zajac and Wayne Simmonds. Additionally, he took full advantage of having the room to create time and space to be effective in the offensive zone.
No. 76 arguably received the loudest ovation when he was introduced during the pregame ceremony, and every time he remotely did something positive – controlled the puck or lined up for a shot on goal – he brought life to Jersey’s fans.
It was apparent that Subban impacted the team’s puck movement and transition up the ice with his stickhandling and footwork. Simply, it just seemed that he always found a way to create offense.
Also, keep an eye out for Zajac and Simmonds – they appeared to be clicking early on. Note that Miles Wood found a way to give the Jets defenders trouble for a majority of his shifts, too. His role should increase if he continues to skate the way he did on Friday night.
Yes, the Devils blew a 4-0 lead, but there were positive signs from some fresh faces. New Jersey’s players all seemed to know their roles and were borderline dominant when they were buzzing.
In the words of head coach Jon Hynes – the Devils should probably take this opening night loss as a “learning lesson,” overall.