First Place Devils Tie Franchise Record With Historic Streak

The Devils have tied a franchise record by winning their 13th consecutive game and are beginning to run away with the Metropolitan division.

What! A! Team! The New Jersey Devils are now tied for the 7th longest win streak in NHL history and are only four wins behind the all time record of 17 straight victories, set by the Penguins during the 1992-93 season. On Wednesday night, the Devils will host Toronto with a chance to set a new franchise record. The Devils defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime in Toronto last Thursday. With 16 wins in the last 17 games, the Devils now have an 8 point lead over the second place Hurricanes in the Metropolitan division and are only two points behind the Bruins for first place in the entire NHL.

Yegor Sharangovich started the season slow but has really started to heat up recently. With goals in three straight games, Sharangovich is tied with Miles Wood with for fourth on the Devils with 6 goals. I said in my season preview that Sharangovich is capable of scoring 30 goals. His start to the season put that total in question, but Yegor is getting hot now and the rest of the league is in big trouble. I still do not understand why Sharangovich isn’t utilized on the Devils second power play. Moving the puck around to set up Sharangovich to unleash one timers would make the Devils second power play unit far more threatening than it currently is and add to Sharangovich’s totals. Sharangovich, a fifth round pick from 2018 is an RFA after this season and could be in line for a nice pay raise from his current salary of $2 million. If he can score 25 or more goals and get 50 or points, I could see a fair contract being something like 4 years for around $4 million per season. Sharangovich has been a little too inconsistent so far to be relied on as a top line wing, but is still very valuable on the second or third line, as well as on special teams.

I don’t know what that caption means but the video speaks for itself, as do the stats. Vitek Vanecek is an absolute beast in goal. The Devils acquired Vanecek this summer, along with a second round pick, in exchange for a second and third round pick. Tom Fitzgerald then signed him to a contract extension worth $3.4 million through 2025. In his last 10 games, Vanecek has a save percentage of 93.3% and a goals against average of 1.88. This trade and extension alone might be enough to win a general manger of the year award for Tom Fitzgerald. Vanecek is only 26 years old so it looks like the Devils may have found their starting goalie for the next five plus years at least.

As Yogi Berra might say, its getting late early. The Devils still have 63 games left to play, but they are in a perfect position right now. In the salary cap era, about 75% of teams that are in the playoff picture at American Thanksgiving are in one of those top eight spots at the end of regular season. Not only are the Devils in a playoff spot, but they are building a considerable lead in the division. Whenever this streak ends, whether that ends up being tomorrow, next week, or next next month, the Devils will have some room for error. If the Devils earned only half of the points possible from here until the end of the year, they would finish with 95 points, which is almost always enough for a playoff spot. If the Devils play just slightly better than .500 hockey the rest of the season, they can finish with well over 100 points and the top spot in the division. After the last decade of mostly losing, we as fans deserve to watch success like this. While expectations are high, we can’t forget to appreciate what we are seeing. Remember, it was not all that long that the Devils were bottom feeders and had guys like Nick Lappin and Drew Stafford in the top six. The franchise has come a long way already and we need to enjoy this team as much as we can. You can follow me on Twitter at PatBoooooth.

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