The New Jersey Devils had a very up-and-down weekend. They played Saturday and Sunday while spending time with their dads/mentors.
The first leg of the weekend was spent in Ohio. The Devils defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena 6-3. Jack Hughes led the way with his first hat trick of the season.
Hughes's second goal of the three was the 100th in his NHL career. He is the fastest player in New Jersey Devils history to reach that milestone as he did it in 267 games. His ability to score matches his ability to make plays which makes him extra dangerous. There is a lot more where that came from.
Everyone did their part in this win behind Hughes but Jesper Bratt deserves a little extra praise. He had three assists and played a big role in the team scoring six goals.
Akira Schmid was the starter in the net and collected the win. He made 23 saves on 26 shots. It wasn't this brilliant performance but he was good enough for his team to win.
The Devils were unable to sweep the weekend thanks to a bad Sunday.
When Sunday came around, the team was back at home where their dads (mentors) could check out a game at Prudential Center. They were going up against the Anaheim Ducks but were defeated 5-1.
Before the game started, we learned that Vitek Vanecek was going to be missing from the game. He was supposed to get the start but they were forced to call up Nico Daws from Utica. Akira Schmid started his second game in as many nights.
It went badly as you'd expect. The Devils are not good in the second half of back-to-back games. They are now 1-5 in those types of contests. It is especially hard when they use the same goalie in both games. This time it was more of an emergency than a bad decision.
Losing a game to the Ducks doesn't feel good. They are one of the bottom three teams in the NHL. With that in mind, they have players getting paid a lot of money to try and win so they will now and again. Almost every victory they have will come against a team better than them.
Former Devils fan-favorite Adam Henrique was the biggest reason that Anaheim won the game. He scored three goals in the same game for his first career hat trick. It was very poetic to see Henrique earn that against his former team.
Outside of a good first period that ended in a 0-0 tie, the effort was terrible all around and Henrique took advantage.
New Jersey needs to bounce back from this terrible loss this week. They have the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night in New Jersey. They already beat them earlier in the year and that came on the road.
Despite the bad loss on Sunday, the Devils are still 8-3-0 in their last 11. Things have been going well but they can't win these second halves of back-to-backs.
They must move on from this and be ready for a very stingy Flyers team. Getting right back up and earning a win is very important for a team in their position.