The New Jersey Devils are proving they still have fight left in their game, regardless if the team trades notable players.
- San Jose Sharks 1 (26-30-4, 56 pts)
- New Jersey Devils 2 (23-27-10, 56 pts)
- NHL, Final, Box Score
- Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
It’s been dark more times than not this season for the New Jersey Devils and its fan base.
While the Devils kicked off this past week by selling two notable players in trades, they portrayed perseverance on Thursday night at Prudential Center. New Jersey surprisingly defeated the San Jose Sharks, 2-1.
The Devils began the day with two recalls from its American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Devils, after goaltender Cory Schneider and defenseman Dakota Mermis were promoted back to the NHL.
Without the likes of former captain Andy Greene and Sami Vatanen on defense, it seemed that New Jersey’s blue line would struggle against a hungry Sharks squad. That might have been the case, but MacKenzie Blackwood shined between the pipes and earned a career-high fifth-straight win.
Blackwood, 23, recorded 36 saves against the Teal and allowed fewer than two goals for the 15th time this season. No. 29 now has 20 wins on the year—the future is bright for another “MB” in Jersey.
San Jose opened the scoring when Tim Heed scored 7:22 into the opening frame. Hope was restored during the second period after Jesper Bratt earned his 11th tally on the year. It’s safe to say that fans have been in an uproar with the team’s coaching staff, considering that the Swedish native has been a healthy scratch often this season.
If the Devils want to “rebuild” effectively, inserting Bratt in the lineup on a consistent basis is a key aspect moving forward.
The defense might have been the team’s weak-point on Thursday, but P.K. Subban decided it was time to score a goal again. The 2012-13 Norris Trophy winner netted his second power-play goal on the year (2:56, third period), after executing a nifty side move on the point and simply throwing the puck on net.
No. 76’s seventh tally on the year was the game-winner and marked Subban’s 10th game-winning goal for his NHL career.
The contest might have been the last in a Devils sweater for the likes of Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Palmieri, but only time will tell. Interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald has been busy of late and the trade deadline arrives on Mon. Feb. 24.