NHL 2017/18: New Jersey Devils scoring at a high rate but can they keep it up?
The New Jersey Devils have always been known for a being defensive team rather than an offensive one. The 2017-2018 season thus far for the Devils has been the complete opposite. New Jersey have scored 61 goals (4th most in the NHL) so far this season in 17 games played. They have given up 54 goals though.
The Devils are much younger this season when compared to previous campaigns and their speed causes problems for opponents. They were down 4-1 the other night against the Chicago Blackhawks but ended up winning 7-5. New Jersey would not have made that kind of comeback last season.
The Devils' record is 11-4-2 with 24 points so far this season. They currently sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division. It is important for the Devils to continue playing well because they got off to a good start last season but then fell off a cliff. Head coach John Hynes is in his third year of coaching with the Devils and it is very important they make it to the postseason. If New Jersey do not, it is possible that Hynes will not be back for a fourth season.
Taylor Hall has scored six goals and recorded 13 assists so far this season. Nico Hischier has scored three goals and recorded 11 assists. Hischier was the number one overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and is creating open spaces for other players on the team.
Rookie's Jesper Bratt (5 goals 8 assists) and Will Butcher (13 assists) each have 13 points so far this season. Brian Gibbons leads the Devils in goals scored, with eight. Miles Wood (6 goals 3 assists), Kyle Palmieri (4 goals 5 assists), and Adam Henrique (3 goals and 6 assists) each have nine points.
Brian Boyle has played in seven games so far this season after a Leukaemia diagnosis. He scored a goal in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Edmonton Oilers and cried after the goal.
Cory Schneider's record is 7-3-1 with a .922 save percentage and a 2.79 GAA, along with one shutout. Keith Kinkaid's record is 4-1-1 with a .899 save percentage and a 3.26 GAA.
The Devils traded goalie Scott Wedgewood to the Arizona Coyotes earlier in the year. If Schneider or Kinkaid get hurt, it appears as if Mackenzie Blackwood (2-4 record with a .866 save percentage and a 3.81 GAA) would get the call up first but it looks like he could use more work with the Binghamton Devils (AHL). Ken Appleby (2-2 record with a .909 save percentage and a 2.81 GAA) realistically would be the first goalie called up.
As long as the Devils continue to score goals they will be fine. It will be interesting to see how they respond when they play more divisional games.