For the first time in over 310 days, the New Jersey Devils finally played a hockey game. While they lost to the Boston Bruins in a shootout, there are some pros and cons in this game. But there are some issues that many saw in last night’s game, but that gets expected when playing against the president trophy winners. It’s great that the Devils performed well against the Bruins, who are a strong possession team. So let’s look at the pros and cons of the opening game.
Pro: Ty Smith and Yegor Sharangovich Provide Good Debuts
One big pro is that the best two rookies coming into this game had a lot to say about their debuts. With Yegor Sharangovich playing his first game in the NHL, one of his assets that makes him good is his speed. While he may not have scored, he managed to use his speed to draw penalties to help get the Devils on three power plays.
Despite getting hit by Charlie McAvoy, he still was able to stay in the game. Ty Smith’s debut was more remarkable, as he ended up scoring his first NHL goal on a weird bounce. The goal was also the game-tying goal, which tied the game, 2-2. They were pretty impressive debuts by both players considering they were just in Devils training camp just a few weeks ago. They could become significant contributors to this team in many games in the future.
Pro: Mackenzie Blackwood and Jack Hughes
Many players on the Devils put in a lot of effort to try and come back against the Bruins. Mackenzie Blackwood was perhaps the biggest Devils pro and the key to why the Devils stayed in this game. The Bruins are probably one of the best teams when it comes to the offensive attack. Seeing Blackwood saving passes left and right when the Devils couldn’t get the puck out of the zone is exciting if you’re a Devils fan.
Despite his problems that’ll get addressed later, Miles Wood still provided his points in the game with a goal. Perhaps the other big player in the game was Jack Hughes. Hughes started his second season well with two assists on both Wood’s goal and Smith’s goal. Hughes may have missed several opportunities to score, especially in overtime and in the shootout, but he still looks a lot better on the ice already than last year.
Con: Inconsistency from Miles Wood
Miles Wood contributed to both the pros and cons for the Devils in this game. He was a confusing player during the first game of the season. In the first period, Wood took his early penalty of the game. He was driving to the net and accidentally crashed into Tuukka Rask. Later in the game, he took the same penalty. The aggressiveness and desire to score are nice to see, but if the Devils and Wood want to have a successful season, they will have to start controlling his body better. These penalties will eventually be killer and contribute to losses.
Miles Wood had some positive impacts on the game. For starters, his net drive and scoring ability were on display. It sounds like a contradiction, but he drove the net hard all night and set up chances for his teammates to try and score. He was also the player that was assigned to stand in front of and screen, Tuukka Rask. He made Rask have to move around his crease to try and see the puck. When Woods is doing his job and blocking Rask’s view without taking a penalty, then he is at his most effective.
Wood also displayed his scoring ability when he broke in the Bruins defensive zone and ripped a shot over Rask’s right shoulder and under the crossbar for the Devils’ first goal of the season. It was a terrific goal and displayed all of Wood’s skill and hard work on the play as he outskated the defenseman that was chasing him to the puck and into the Bruins zone.
Overall, Wood had an excellent game as he was a bother to the Bruins defense. He also scored the first New Jersey Devils goal of the season. The only downside of his game was the penalties. If he can fix this part of his, he and the Devils will have a successful season.
Con: Slow Start to the Game
One con that many people noticed was the Devils start to the new season was horrendous. The Devils failed to get any severe chances, and they allowed a goal during the first period. The Devils bad start included them taking two penalties in the first period. Unfortunately for the Devils, the Bruins cashed in on the power play opportunities as Brad Marchand scored after Miles Wood’s first penalty of the game.
The Devils were given two power plays of their own and could not get any good chances. They were only able to produce four shots on goal in the first period. They’ll need to get more scoring opportunities and tighten their defense if they want to have a successful season. If they can’t figure out how to do this, they will find themselves in the league’s basement once again.
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