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Hughes scores twice for Devils in preseason debut

No. 1 pick in 2019 NHL Draft wins game against Bruins with OT goal

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jack Hughes couldn't have scripted his first NHL preseason game any better, scoring his second goal of the night 41 seconds into overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center on Monday.

Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, won it with a goal off a give-and-go with Nikita Gusev before being mobbed by teammates.

"It was really good to get out there, and I thought I played good," Hughes said. "It was nice to get two goals, but it's only preseason, so there's still a lot of work to be done."

Defenseman P.K. Subban, who played 18:56 in his Devils preseason debut after being acquired in a trade from the Nashville Predators on June 22, was on the ice with Hughes and Gusev to begin overtime.

Video: GOAL VS. BOS | Hughes' OT Winner

"I was just pushing the pace, getting up the ice and jumping in as much as I could to try to create," Subban said. "It's easy to kind of sit back and play defense all game, but I tried to challenge and thought we did a pretty good job.

"Jack showed why he's the first overall pick, it's pretty simple. If you watch his highlights, he made some pretty good plays out there, and you have to give him credit."

Hughes scored a power-play goal off a one-timer from the right face-off circle that beat goalie Kyle Keyser short side just under the crossbar 12:06 into the second period to tie the game 1-1.

"I think the first period was more of a feeling-out process for me, trying to get my feet wet and start to figure out the pace of the game," Hughes said. "I think on that first goal, that's when I got more comfortable wanting the puck on my stick more. So that was kind of the turning point.

"That [power-play goal] put a big smile on my face; that was a lot of fun to score. It was a lot of fun to play for the fans who came out."

Video: GOAL VS. BOS | Hughes Scores First

The 18-year-old center is the second No. 1 pick in three years to score in his first preseason game for the Devils. Nico Hischier, selected No. 1 in the 2017 NHL Draft, scored in his preseason debut, a 4-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Sept. 18, 2017.

Hughes played 16:04, had three shots on goal, and was 4-for-16 on face-offs.

"I have to start winning some [face-offs], and another thing I need to improve is my movement on the power play," Hughes said.

Hughes skated on a line with Gusev, who was acquired in a trade from the Vegas Golden Knights on July 29 before signing a two-year contract the same day. Gusev played 17:34.

Hughes exhibited great vision and speed 6:20 into the third period when he skated behind the Boston net before sending a pinpoint backhand pass in the slot to Gusev, whose shot was saved by goalie Dan Vladar.

"I guess you couldn't draw it up any better ... two goals in this game," Subban said of Hughes. "I take credit for his OT winner because prior to the overtime, I said to him, 'I heard the rumor that you get one goal and then shut it down, so are you full or do you want more?'

"He told me, 'That's not me,' and I said, 'I've got to wait and see,' and he scored the winner, so he's already listening and learning."

Video courtesy: New Jersey Devils

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