Jack Hughes shines in season debut

·4 min read

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Jack Hughes scored seven goals and 14 assists across 61 games during his rookie season. He improved to 11 goals and 31 points over 56 matches in 2020-21. The No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft was a popular candidate for a breakout in his third campaign. The 20-year-old forward has gained some valuable experience and his possession metrics were strong a year ago. Hughes’ role on the Devils has been increasing and he should take a big step forward.

Hughes gave his backers plenty to cheer about in New Jersey’s first game of the 2021-22 campaign with a pair of goals in a 4-3 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks. His speed and skill will make him a difficult player to handle for the opposition. Hughes just needed to finish his chances more and it looks like he is primed to do just that.

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CHICAGO 3 NEW JERSEY 4 (OT)

The Devils squandered a 3-1 lead late in the third period, but still managed to win their season opener in overtime. The defeat drops the Blackhawks to 0-1-1 on the year.

Jack Hughes scored a pair of goals, including a highlight-reel game winner just 57 seconds into the extra period.

Dougie Hamilton, who signed a massive seven-year, $63 million contract with the Devils in the summer, opened the scoring a mere 17 seconds into his debut with the organization. He concluded the contest with a plus-3 rating, two penalty minutes, three shots, three hits and two blocks.

Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach scored power-play goals for Chicago in the contest.

Dominik Kubalik tied the match at the 19:34 mark of the third period with his second goal of the season.

Andreas Johnsson gave New Jersey a 3-1 advantage 6:34 into the third period.

Patrick Kane and Tyler Johnson registered two assists apiece, while Brandon Hagel, Seth Jones, Yegor Sharangovich, Dawson Mercer, Pavel Zacha, Janne Kuokkanen, Tomas Tatar and Ryan Graves posted one helper each.

Kevin Lankinen stopped 25 of 29 shots in the loss during his first start of the year.

Jonathan Bernier, who made his Devils debut along with Mercer (NHL debut), Graves and Tatar, turned aside 24 shots in the victory.

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VANCOUVER 5 PHILADELPHIA 4 (SO)

The Canucks got a shootout win over the Flyers despite blowing a two-goal lead late in the third period. Vancouver has picked up three points through two games (1-0-1) to begin the 2021-22 campaign.

Joel Farabee opened the scoring 6:15 into what was a dominant first period for the Flyers.

However, the Canucks bounced back in a big way in the second stanza. Vasily Podkolzin scored his first NHL goal to even the score. Elias Pettersson and Alex Chiasson scored power-play goals shortly later.

Cam Atkinson, who made his Philadelphia debut following an offseason trade from Columbus, got one back afterward, but J.T. Miller restored Vancouver’s two-goal advantage late in the period.

Travis Konecny (power play) and Claude Giroux scored in the final minutes of the third to force overtime.

Sean Couturier, Keith Yandle, Ryan Ellis and Miller registered two assists apiece in the match. Yandle and Ellis made their Philadelphia debuts on Friday night.

Chiasson, Pettersson and Farabee also chipped in one assist each for multi-point performances.

Conor Garland, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Quinn Hughes, Tyler Myers and Ivan Provorov accounted for one helper apiece.

Carter Hart stopped 35 of 39 shots in the defeat, while surrendering two goals - by Pettersson and Miller - on three attempts in the shootout.

Thatcher Demko made 31 saves on 35 shots for his first win of the 2021-22 campaign.

MINNESOTA 2 ANAHEIM 1

The Wild won their season opener in the final seconds of regulation in a low-scoring affair against the Ducks. Minnesota outshot Anaheim by a 43-29 margin in the contest.

Jakob Silfverberg got the game’s first goal 17 seconds into the second period during a Ducks power play.

Kevin Fiala got Minnesota on the board with a power-play marker late in the second stanza.

Marcus Foligno tallied the game winner with 7.2 seconds left in the third frame with helpers going to Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin on the play.

Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler, Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov picked up an assist each with the man advantage.

Anthony Stolarz turned aside 41 shots in a superb season debut performance, but came up short in the loss. He played because of a lower-body to John Gibson.

Cam Talbot shielded 28 of 29 shots for the win in his first start of 2021-22.

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