New Jersey Devils
(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils appear to be rejuvenated as the calendar turns to 2020 and it’s resulting in some fun hockey on the ice.

Interim head coach Alain Nasreddine can finally smile during his postgame press conferences. Dreams do come true, after all.

The New Jersey Devils aim to win three games in a row for the first time this season when Jersey’s team faces off with the New York Islanders on Thursday night at “The Barn” on Long Island.

While the Islanders are 11-4-0 against New Jersey in their last 15 contests, the Devils and general manager Ray Shero are finally offering fans assurance for 2020.

It’s apparent there’s a different vibe amongst the players and with their energy on the ice and since the Taylor Hall trade back in December. The Devils woke up one day in December and realized they’re an NHL team that has nothing to lose.

New Jersey’s skaters are starting to find a rhythm on the ice. That was apparent on Tuesday afternoon when the Devils notched a shootout victory over the first-place Boston Bruins. Jersey fans have been waiting all season to see that type of heart and willingness.

It didn’t hurt that rookie goaltender, MacKenzie Blackwood, acted as the Bruins’ worst nightmare. The 23-year-old gave New Jersey a chance to win with his commendable performance and timely saves.

In fact, it was the best and most entertaining game all season for New Jersey and the crowd appreciated every second of the team’s efforts.

Jack Hughes and Jesper Boqvist aren’t the only players lacing up the skates recently with a sense of confidence and swagger. Just observe Blake Coleman, Wayne Simmonds, and Nikita Gusev. Sure, Coleman has been a positive constant in the lineup for most of the 2019-20 campaign, but he’s leading the squad with his fire and edge—just ask Bruins’ 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara after he was knocked down by the 5-foot-11 forward.

When a skater like Hall departs from a team, there’s an opportunity for others to rise and take the reins.

Potential trades for skaters such as defenseman Sami Vatanen or forward Kyle Palmieri will remain question marks until the trade deadline passes, but one thing for certain is that fans are now assured the Devils won’t go down without a fight.

The win over Boston was a statement victory that provided a sense of hope which was long overdue. Watching Devils hockey is fun again, no?

Kyle McKenna is a freelancer who covers the NHL for Elite Sports New York, Hooked On Hockey Magazine & Fansided. Follow him on Twitter @KMcKenna_tLT5 and use the hashtag #McKennasDigest to have your NHL questions featured in an article or answered over his weekly NHL podcast.