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The Devils have won six of their last seven games and grabbed the to spot in the Metropolitan division by blowing out the Blue Jackets 7-1 this afternoon.
I did not think I would be writing a blog like this after the first two games of the season. Since then, the Devils have looked dominant and had two separate three game win streaks, including a 1-0 shutout victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions and today’s blowout over Columbus. The Devils are firing more pucks on net than any other team while allowing among the fewest shots against their own net minders. Every player on the team looks like they are absolutely flying up and down the ice right now and everything is coming up Devils.
Jesper Bratt is not only the story of the Devils right now, but maybe the story of the whole league. With 15 points (4G 11A) through 9 games, Bratt is 4th in the NHL in points right now. Coming off of his breakout year last season, there were people questioning if Bratt could repeat that level of production or if he was just a one year wonder and a flash in the pan. Bratt has silenced any and all doubt that he is in fact a super star in this league. Bratt has 27 shots on goal through 9 games as he is constantly creating opportunities for the Devils in the offensive zone. The twitter movement of “Jesper Bratt Is The Best Player In The NHL” is really just a statement of fact at this point. He has been a dominant player for one of the leagues hottest teams.
Devils captain Nico Hischier has been absolutely fantastic this year. With two points today, he now has 9 points (4G 5A) in 8 games to go along with being a beast in the face off circle. Hischier dominated the face off dot in the Devils 1-0 win over Colorado winning 16 of 17 face offs and has won over 60% of his draws so far this season. Hischier is also paying out standing defense in the Devils zone, being a big part of why the Devils allow so few shots on goal. Hischier is fully healthy and making an early case for the Selke trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL.
There is really nothing to critique about this team right now. Even the goaltendng has been solid. Mackenzie Blackwood was the third star of the NHL last week with a record of 3-0-0 and a save percentage over .920. Vitek Vaneck shut out Colorado on Saturday night and stopped 20 of 21 Columbus shots to help get the win this afternoon. The team in front of them are limiting the shots they face, but the goalies are stepping up and making saves when needed to keep the Devils alive. It is still very early and alot of hockey is left to be played but the Devils are absolutely rolling right now. This upcoming week will be a huge test as the Devils head out to Western Canada to play Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. If the Devils can get at least 4 points out of that trip, that would be sign for this team moving forward. Its never easy to fly across the continent and play three games, but when some of the opposing players include Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Johnathan Huberdeau, and Nazem Kadri, it gets even more difficult. I’m excited to see how the Devils respond and I am confident they can keep this hot streak going. You can follow me on Twitter at PatBoooooth