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Devils See Stars After 5-1 Loss to Dallas | GAME STORY

Devils concede quick goal to start game, unable to recover against the Stars

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils were seeing stars, and not just of the Dallas variety on Tuesday night at Prudential Center. 

New Jersey gave up the opening goal just 14 seconds into the game, the first of two that Stars Joe Pavelski would score in the game, and after 20 minutes of play the Stars were up by a three-goal margin. The beginning of the second period proved just as difficult, this time a goal by Dallas 15 seconds into the middle frame. 

Jesper Bratt opened the scoring for New Jersey when he cut the Stars lead to 5-1 on a power-play goal in the second period. 

The game within the game also saw the change of goaltenders for New Jersey, who opened the matchup with Akira Schmid in net, before switching to Jon Gillies to start the second and finish out the game. 

The club was also forced to play shorthanded, without Michael McLeod in the third period after a fight with Luke Glendening towards the end of the second period. He did not return to the game after the fight, held out of the game by medical staff. Lindy Ruff said post-game that McLeod will be further evaluated tonight.

The game against Dallas marked the mid-way point of New Jersey's season, where they sit with a 15-21-5 record, good for 35 points and sixth in the Metropolitan Division.

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Important Conversations | 10 TAKEAWAYS

This week was filled with important conversations and recognizing the maturation of the Devils core

by Amanda Stein amandacstein

After tonight's game against the Dallas Stars, the Devils will have hit their halfway mark of the season.

It's been a year of ups and downs, dealing with COVID and injuries, all the while going through a growth and maturation process. These things are gradual, but they're underway. And that is where we begin this week in 10 Takeaways, presented by Ticketmaster, with the growth and maturation of Jack Hughes. 

1. 

For the past couple of games, you may have noticed that Hughes has had an 'A' stitched on his jersey. In the absence of Dougie Hamilton, Damon Severson has been the only player wearing the 'A', which he normally does alongside Hamilton. Recently there's been a change, as the 'A' has been placed on Hughes' jersey, starting with the game on Long Island on Jan. 13. 

Right now, with Hamilton out, the team is rolling with Severson and Hughes, alongside Nico Hischier's captaincy. It feels like a natural progression, with Hamilton out. If you'll remember, last year Lindy Ruff identified his 'leadership core', which included players beyond those wearing a letter on their jersey. In the latter half of the year, Hughes joined that group once Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac had been traded. And with the way his play has risen to another level this year, this feels like the natural progression of a franchise player. 

Tweet from @amandacstein: ������ #NJDevils Jack Hughes is wearing an 'A' tonight on his jersey. I can't believe I didn't notice this until right now.

 

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Devils Host Coyotes | PRE-GAME STORY

The Devils begin a four-game homestand, hosting the Coyotes on Wednesday

by Amanda Stein and Sam Kasan amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils begin a four-game homestand when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.

The two teams meet for the first time this NHL season. 

You can watch on MSG+ or listen on the Devils Hockey Network. 

Video: It's Been A While | Devils Minute

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A Week Like No Other | 10 TAKEAWAYS

This past week saw the Devils embrace a new teammate, and a couple of prospects on Olympic roster short-lists

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

Sometimes storylines just write themselves, and for someone with my role, those are always the easier days. But they can also be some of the most exciting and ones where you get to tell heartwarming stories. I was certainly not devoid of them this week and I take you through some of my favorite storylines in this edition of 10 Takeaways, presented by Ticketmaster.

 

1.

I can't imagine anyone better, in skill, attitude, and personality than Jack Hughes to represent the franchise at the All-Star Game in February. He will just eat up the entire weekend and be an incredible representative. He'll also be the youngest of NHL players to appear at an All-Star Game since 2011, when Jeff Skinner, then with the Hurricanes, and at 18 years old, was selected for the game that was held in Carolina. Jack will be 20 years, 267 days when he takes to the ice in Vegas.

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Bratt, Severson Return to Practice | BLOG

Both players were removed from the Covid Protocol list today

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

The number of players on the New Jersey Devils list of players in Covid Protocol is starting to ease up. 

Two more players today were removed, as the list shortens to just Janne Kuokkanen, Mason Geertsen, and Dougie Hamilton.

Video: Two Key Players Return | DEVILS NOW

Jesper Bratt and Damon Severson were back on this ice this afternoon with the team, with five days to prepare and recondition themselves until the next Devils game. 

"I feel like we're pretty fortunate with the schedule," Bratt said, "I mean, unfortunately, I missed two games, but it seemed that we could have missed four. So, in this schedule we have coming up, I'm excited that we have almost a week now of practice and it's gonna be good to get back into these (practices)." 

Bratt said he only had mild symptoms for a few days, and spent his time in quarantine watching "everything on Netflix and Disney+"

Severson, too, was thrilled to be back out with his teammates, but also to see the list of players in protocol start to dwindle. "I'm excited to come back, and we're getting some bodies healthy again, a couple more guys, hopefully, the next few days come back off the protocol, with a few days before our next game."

Severson will spend the next few days getting his legs ready for when the team hosts Arizona on Jan. 19, having not been able to do very much activity while stuck at home.

"Just putting a little extra work on the ice," he said, "Just making sure you put a few extra drills in between, making sure the hands are ready to shoot, just kind of little things like that maybe. I haven't been able to really do that just sitting at home. So, yeah, a couple of little extra things here and there to make sure that I'm sharp."

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Hughes Honored By All-Star Recognition | BLOG

Hughes to be Devils representative at All-Star Game in February

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald called Jack Hughes while the team was on Long Island to meet him in the team's lounge. 

There Fitzgerald had the honor of telling Hughes that he would be the Devils' representative at the 2022 NHL All-Star Game - the first appearance of his career. 

"I'm really happy to be going and representing the Devils," Hughes said on Friday, "It's different, I missed 17 games, you know? But I've been playing really well, so I'm glad I got that recognition."

Its recognition that Hughes understands is a big part of what is expected of him as a pillar of this franchise for the foreseeable future. 

"They brought me here to make All-Star Games and do things like that," Hughes said. "So to be a part of that now is pretty fun."

The All-Star Game also brings the skills competition, and Hughes has his eyes set on a particular competition if it is once again involved. 

"Growing up, there were pretty sick obstacle courses," Hughes said with a big smile, "Stickhandling through pilons and stuff, making sauce passes. I'd probably want to do one of those."

Tweet from @NJDevils: https://t.co/9WMmKAfBif

The NHL All-Star Game will take place in Las Vegas on Feb. 5, 2022. 

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Devils Begin Five-Day Stretch of Practice | BLOG

New Jersey get in some extra practice time with a Canadian trip postponed this weekend

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils are back at their practice rink at RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House this afternoon as they begin a stretch of five days without a game. After the postponement of a Canadian trip with stops in Montreal and Toronto, the Devils remain in New Jersey for some practice time ahead of welcoming the Arizona Coyotes to New Jersey on Jan. 19. 

Some more good news came the Devils way this morning as Jesper Bratt and Damon Severson both returned to practice. Meanwhile, forward A.J. Greer did not participate in practice, after leaving Thursday's game against the Islanders.

Tweet from @NHLPlayerSafety: NY Islanders��� Ross Johnston will have a hearing today for an Illegal Check to the Head on New Jersey���s A.J. Greer.

Practice on Friday heavily revolved around a skills practice, with shooting drills and plenty of stick handling. 

Video: Two Key Players Return | DEVILS NOW

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Dominant Performances | THREE THINGS

Thirty-six games into the season, several players are leaving their marks with big performances

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

The 36-game mark, where the Devils currently sit, is a large enough sample size to get a taste of what's in the cupboard. And while this season has been filled with multiple ups and downs, there are certain performances that have begun to stand out and are making continued impacts. 

Whether it's a first-overall pick coming into his own or the current longest-serving Devil playing his best hockey yet, we've got you covered in this edition of Three Things, presented by Geico.

1. Jack's Big Minutes

He might not be physically intimidating yet (although, you probably don't want to be caught on the ice trying to defend against him), but Jack Hughes' intimidation factor has arrived. His craftiness, his quick decision-making, his accuracy all work in a rhythm to make him a dominant threat every time his skates hit the ice. 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Jacked Hughes. pic.twitter.com/XXZNlwwdoh

And as the season moves along and as his growth continues, there's less and less of a chance that an opponent's top defensive units won't find themselves on the ice without Hughes there. On Jan. 8, at Columbus, Hughes played a career-high 25:43 time on ice and although held without a point (for the first time in a five-game stretch), in a game based on a matter of inches, he hit the post several times and registered five official shots on net. In his last six games, he's had 26 shots on net and converted at a 15.4-percent rate. 

"I'm shooting the puck, putting things towards the net," Hughes said. "At the same time, I'm only 20 years old so by the time I'm 25, I want to be a completely different player and much better."

Don't take it from me, take it from the captain. Of Jack, Nico Hischier said: "He's a star."

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You Have a Friend In Me | 10 TAKEAWAYS

Jack Hughes has served as an inspiration to his friend Cole Caufield playing north of the border

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

Jack Hughes is making it harder and harder as the days go on not to have a notebook filled with stories of stats that I want to bring up in 10 Takeaways. There certainly are a few this week, but more so than that it was a story north of the border in Canada about Jack that really drew my attention, and I get into it in multiple takes in this week's 10 Takeaways, presented by Ticketmaster...

1. 

Welcome to a week of career highs.

Starting with Jack Hughes, his ice time, with so many of the Devils' top six out of the lineup has skyrocketed. On Jan. 8, he played his career-high 25:47 time on ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

Rookie Dawson Mercer hit a career-high in ice time with 21:31time on ice in the same game. 

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Entering the New Year | 10 TAKEAWAYS

2022 started with a winning streak, and a brand new opportunity bred out of a season-ending injury

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

The news came pouring in on Tuesday. An array of injuries, stacking up for the New Jersey Devils. Some less concerning than others (Nico Hischier could be back with the team on Thursday against Columbus), while others have vaguer timelines right now (Dougie Hamilton) and then the dreaded 'done-for-the-year' ones. 

That's where we are left as we pick up 10 Takeaways for the first time in 2022, because one 'done-for-the-year' scenario paves way for incredible opportunity. On Wednesday, Lindy Ruff handed the ball and firmly placed it in a players court, and wants to see him run with it. 

Find out more on this week's 10 Takeaways, presented by Ticketmaster.

1.

Jonathan Bernier did literally everything he could to avoid surgery on his hip. It's a difficult situation to come to terms with, with a veteran presence to play in a tandem with Mackenzie Blackwood. Bernier had been battling through his hip injury since the pre-season, a point at which the 33-year-old goaltender took maintenance days away from practice. 

Behind the scenes, you could see how hard Bernier was working to try and fight through the injury, to be present for the team. He took every measure, tried all the alternatives to surgery. He had regular rehab sessions, stretching, and we frequently saw on-ice management, which was to limit his skating on practice days and morning skates. Surgery was, unfortunately, the last option, but the necessary one after all these avenues were exhausted. 

"That's a pretty important joint for a goaltender," head coach Lindy Ruff said addressing Bernier's attempt to stick with it. "When you look at some of the struggles he had, you can understand, playing with pain, playing with aggravation, the effect that can have on your game. It's a physical effect, but mentally you have to battle through all of that."

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