The New Jersey Devils knock off the Islanders Thursday night, winning their third-straight game, something they haven’t done all season.
- New Jersey Devils 2 (15-19-6, 36 pts)
- New York Islanders 1 (25-11-3, 53 pts)
- NHL, Final, Box Score
- Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
Who are these players and what have they done with the last-place New Jersey Devils that were the biggest bust in the NHL?
New Jersey extended its winning streak to three games for the first time this season, after the Devils defeated the New York Islanders, 2-1, on Thursday night at The Barn. While it’s unfortunate that it took New Jersey until Jan. 2, 2020, to earn its first three-game winning streak, this team is playing rejuvenated hockey with a new identity.
A confident and relentless identity.
What’s more impressive is the resilience the team has portrayed over the past two games. New Jersey entered Tuesday’s contest vs. Boston with a 1-10-2 record when trailing after the first period. The Devils trailed Boston for the first two periods, but played their best game to date and stunned the Bruins in a 3-2 shootout victory.
Jersey didn’t execute the best start to Thursday night’s contest but managed to tie the game late in the second period thanks to a P.K. Subban slapshot from the point. Yes, you read that correctly. Subban finally appeared somewhat back to form and was firing away clappers all night.
Brock Nelson picked up the Isles’ only goal of the night.
Keep in mind that New Jersey was without rookie forward Jack Hughes (upper-body injury), yet the power-play was arguably the best its flowed all season. Scoring chances or hitting the iron in the victory were not rare sights against Islanders’ masked man, Semyon Varlamov.
Devils’ goaltender MaKenzie Blackwood deserves a new nickname after he’s transformed into this team’s most valuable player. Lately, the rookie goaltender has been an opponent’s worst nightmare while providing the Devils a chance to win or steal games on a nightly basis.
The 6-foot-4 goaltender hasn’t played like a rookie during the winning streak. Just check out the highlights and witness his athleticism and side-to-side movements. Those aspects are all-star caliber, and Blackwood’s tracking the puck down like none other.
For the record, the victory marked the fifth occasion that New Jersey defeated a Lou Lamoriello team since the Hockey Hall of Famer departed from the Devils back in 2015-16. New Jersey has also defeated two playoff contenders on the streak while scoring clutch third-period goals.