The New Jersey Devils made a statement last night ending the Nashville Predators ten game winning streak. The Devils, along with the Las Vegas Golden Knights have been a huge surprise this season in the NHL. New Jersey went from selecting first overall in the NHL entry draft last June to now sitting in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Since the calendar changed from 2017 to 2018 the Devils have done nothing but show they can play with some of the league’s top teams. Over the past two months, the Devils have wins over the Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Washington Capitals to name a few.
New Jersey was close to beating Nashville in regulation until the Predators tied the score in the closing moments of the game. It took goals from Taylor Hall and Brian Boyle in the shootout to knock off the red-hot Predators. In the month of February New Jersey defeated the defending Stanley cup champions twice. Once at home and once on the road in Pittsburgh. The Devils also beat the top team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning in mid February on the road. Finally, the other impressive win during the 2018 calendar year for New Jersey came against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals in overtime on January 18.
The Devils acquired forward depth in Patrick Maroon and Michael Grabner. These veterans should provide some stability for New Jersey come playoff time and might be the reason the Devils can compete with teams like Tampa Bay or Pittsburgh in a seven game playoff series.