The Devils continue to prove that great teams find a way to win

“Great teams find ways to win.” – Alan Ray

On January 22 the New Jersey Devils stole two points when they Defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins The Devils have gone past regulation in three straight games for the first time this season in overtime. They beat the San Jose Sharks in one of the shells on Jan. 16 and fell to the Seattle Kraken in overtime three nights later.

Dougie Hamilton scored his fourth game-winning goal of the season and eighth career overtime game-winning goal in front of a sold-out crowd at the Prudential Center on Sunday afternoon. A little more than two minutes into overtime, the blueliner blasted a one-timer past the Penguins goaltender. Tristan Jarry to secure his team’s seventh win in January.

New Jersey is still looking for improvement

It’s no secret that the Devils haven’t been playing their best hockey of late. Kraken’s head coach Lindy then lost the team in overtime Raph said flatly, “We’re not happy with the way we’re playing.” Amidst the slow start and poor puck management, he kept saying that something needs to change and the team is trending in that direction.

Throughout the season the Devils have done a good job of holding each other accountable and holding themselves to a higher standard than in past seasons. The team members heard it 13-game winning streak, and again after earning nine points out of a possible 10 on their most recent five-game road trip. They are top of the league standings with 30 wins, the most of any team in the Metropolitan Division.

It is refreshing for fans to see the team so critical of their play considering where they are in the standings. Over the past few months, the Devils have evolved from a team that had a surprising start into a legitimately competitive club. Nevertheless, Ruff and his players are not entirely satisfied and it shows that a new standard has been set.

Pak Luck is finally working for the devil

The Devils had a 4-7-2 record in December. There were several games where the club deserved a good result, but the bounces weren’t working in New Jersey’s favor. Fans hear players and coaches use the term “puck luck” when things aren’t going the team’s way. It’s rarely heard when the team is on a winning streak, but anyone who has watched the Devils’ last few games knows that luck has been on the club’s side.

Dawson Mercer Jesper Bratt Nico Hisier New Jersey Devils
Dawson Mercer, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hisier celebrate a goal for the New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In the second period of last night’s game vs. the Penguins, Ruff’s team registered just two shots on goal Jasper Bratt And Ryan Graves. The visiting team dominated play and kept New Jersey hemmed in their own territory for most of the game. It was a game the Devils didn’t necessarily deserve to win, and throughout multiple stretches, the team looked tired. Afterwards, Hamilton spoke to the media and talked about how fatigue became a factor for his club.

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“There’s no excuse but I’ll say that, but we did a good job fighting back and Vanacek was unreal and kept us in it throughout the game,” he said.

Despite not being the club’s best performance, the Devils continue to find ways to win. As Damon Severson and Ruff have said before, not every night will be a Picasso. At the end of the day, this is a league that is all about winning and results oriented. As long as Ruff’s team can score a point or two on the night, the rest can be worked out accordingly during practice.

Reminding the Devils how important competent goaltending is

New Jersey’s game vs. Pittsburgh served as a friendly reminder of how important it is for a team to have decent goaltending. Vitek Vanacek Was the undisputed best player on the ice for the Devils with 25 saves on 26 shots and a .962 save percentage. He spoke to the media about that tough second period in which the Penguins had an 11-2 shot advantage.

“It’s always a time that’s tough and the goalkeeper has to step up and make the save,” Vanacek said after the game. “They helped me first and then overtime.”

The 27-year-old snapped a career-high seven-game hitting streak after last night’s win and became one of six goaltenders in franchise history to accomplish the feat. Through the first 46 games of the season, he has emerged as the team’s go-to player at the crease and the netminder fans have been waiting for.

The Devils will be off Jan. 23 and return to the Prudential Center on Wednesday, Jan. 24 for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate before hosting the Vegas Golden Knights, who have a 29-17-2 record. Top of the Pacific Division. New Jersey will look to find a way to win as it pursues its first playoff appearance since the 2017-18 season.

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