NEWARK, NJ - Oh, what a week it has been!
Patience, sometimes it's hard, I know. But here we are, a week later from when we last met and New Jersey has posted two consecutive victories. There have been some success stories this week, first points, goals and how many blocked shots exactly?!
It's been a good week for New Jersey, who only play again on Friday, hosting Arizona.
Let's have a look back on the week that was with the 10 Takeaways brought to you by Ticketmaster.
The Week of Jack, it was a big one on many counts. I'll try not to make this all about the rookie, but it just so happened that the schedule makers put together a string of games that would be meaningful to the 18-year-old and his game rounded out just in time. For starters, the Devils and Rangers rivalry has been taken to a new level, dating back to April 9, 2019. That was the day of the NHL draft lottery, from there we all knew it was Devils picking first, Rangers second. And the Hughes versus Kaapo Kakko debate began.
On Thursday night, the Devils hosted the Rangers for the first time this season, which also marked the first time the two players met on an NHL ice surface. During the preseason, when one was playing the other wasn't, so this was a first.
Hughes picked a good time for his first point - it came against the Rangers, assisting on a Miles Wood goal. Kakko did not factor into any Rangers scoring.
Video: POST-GAME | vs. Canucks
Just a game later? The questions turned from Hughes versus Kakko to Hughes versus Hughes. With the Vancouver Canucks in town, Jack would face off against his brother Quinn for the first time in their very young NHL careers. Quinn was drafted seventh overall by the Canucks in 2018.
And so, Jack picked an ideal night for his first NHL goal. It was a snipe from atop the circle on the power play and stood as the game-winner. In fact, it was the only goal scored that night as the Devils shutout the Canucks 1-0.
I don't know why but I've been very obsessed with this stat, so I thought I'd share it. Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier scored their first career NHL goals exactly two years apart. Nico scored his on October 19th, 2017 while visiting Ottawa, while Jack had his on October 19th, 2019. It probably doesn't mean a thing, but I like the coincidence, and now you have this stat to tell your friends.
While we're discussion Nico, he will be around with the Devils for the foreseeable future. On October 18th, the 20-year-old agreed to an extension with New Jersey that extends his entry level contract by another seven seasons for $50.75 million-dollars. That sum of money officially goes down as the richest contract handed out to a Swiss-born NHL player.
It was not only a big day for Nico, but one for general manager Ray Shero and his staff. This is a very proud moment, having drafted Nico first overall in 2017, to see him commit to the team on the long-term as a "home-grown" talent.
"Our own pick, home grown player," Shero said. "Some players like this…some players are signing shorter extensions, maybe waiting for the salary cap to go up… when he's happy he knows it. And he knows how he can have success here."
"The confidence they give me is all a player can ask for," Hischier said. "We have a young, exciting team, and I am driven to try my best to help the team succeed every day. I was really welcomed here from day one, and I have always felt that I wanted to be part of the Devils."
When the Devils were away in Boston last weekend, Olympian Lindsey Vonn, who happens to be P.K. Subban's fiancée, was out visiting local animal shelters. It appears Vonn made a spur of the moment decision to take home four foster dogs. Keep in mind, Lindsey and PK already have four dogs of their own!
Maybe it was a little more than PK and Lindsey could handle, but a couple of teammates stepped in to help out. Kyle Palmieri and his wife Ashlee stepped in and will adopt one of the dogs, who will join the pup they already have, Penelope. The Carrick's, Connor and his wife Lexi, are currently fostering one of the dogs named Indie.
Someone tweeted me the other day, asking why Mackenzie Blackwood always throws the water bottle above the goaltender's net to the bench before the start of every period. I got to the bottom of it this week. Turns out, in Junior Blackwood once let in a goal that popped the water bottle. It bothered him, he didn't like seeing that physical reaction, so, that was it. It wasn't going to happen again. Ever since then, he's gotten rid of the bottle on top of the net, just a precaution to make sure that embarrassing moment doesn't happen ever again.
I'm not sure video exists, I went looking.
This past week, the Devils posted their first two victories of the season. The victories didn't just include four points in the standings, it also gave us our first glimpse of the "Player of the Game" prop. In 2017 it was a jacket, provided to the club from their trip to West Point, in 2018 it was that glorious, flashy helmet gifted to the club from SC Bern during the Global Series. This year, it's another jacket and it's fantastic. Actually, it's a whole outfit - a 'Top Gun' jacket along with the aviators.
First winner? Will Butcher, which was handed to him by team captain Andy Greene after the first win of the season against the Rangers.
The second winner, Jack Hughes, after his first NHL goal stood as the game-winner and only goal against the Canucks.
From here on out, the previous winner hands the jacket and glasses to the next winner after each win.
Can you stay up until 11:35 p.m.? Because I can't. But I made the extra effort on Sunday night. Our very own NJ Devil made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The two made a Twitter bet during the Devils and Rangers matchup this week and well, not only did the Devils win the game, but NJ himself also won. He got to make an appearance on Fallon's show, where he got to smash a pie in the late-night host's face.
This is going to escalate quickly, isn't it?
The Devils and Rangers play three more times this season.
Did you know that the Devils, in one game alone blocked 23 shots last week. Against the Vancouver Canucks, the Devils blocked a whole lot of shots, which might be a microcosm of the number of penalty minutes in the game. The Canucks had seven power plays, but the penalty killers and their shot-blocking prowess managed to keep the Canucks 0-for-7.
No surprise here, captain Andy Greene lead the team in blocked shots with five.
"We don't want to take that many penalties, obviously," Greene said. "But when you're killing for 12-plus minutes you're going to start to get tired and then you have to be forced into position to make more blocks. I think if we can cut those penalties down to three, you won't get as many blocked shots probably."
Compare that number in the win against the Rangers, the New Jersey had just six blocked shots.
Last week John Hynes had a meeting with PK Subban. He asked Subban to simplify his game, he didn't need PK to do everything. That message seemed to have really positioned Subban to success. In the following game, the 30-year-old defenseman was a force to be reckoned with on the ice against the Rangers. He tallied his first goal, an empty net clearing attempt and tied a career-high with nine shots on net. The last time Subban had nine shots on net was with Nashville in February of 2018.
Check out this fantastic video from the Binghamton Devils. They're hosting a Star Wars night and if you ask me, some of these guys given their impressions have no idea what Star Wars is!