Rejoice, Devils fans! The NHL preseason is finally here and New Jersey Devils hockey is BACK!
My name is Ryan McCarthy and I’ll be your New Jersey Devils beat writer this season. I’ll do my best to bring you the best Devils coverage this side of the New Jersey state line. I’ll summarize the week that was in Devils hockey as well as give you some topical news items that are Devils related. So, without further ado, let’s look at the week that was in New Jersey Devils.
A Perfect Week
Granted it’s the preseason, but the New Jersey Devils had a perfect week, winning all three of their preseason games. Two of those games were won in overtime with the first win coming in Washington on Wednesday night. Forward Nico Hischier scored the game-winning goal with 1:22 remaining in overtime. One of the highlights was this silky-smooth goal from forward Jack Hughes (but it wasn’t my goal of the week).
On Friday, the Devils were at the friendly confines of the Prudential Center against the New York Rangers. The Devils rushed out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 7-1 win over their rivals. Forwards Pavel Zacha and Tomas Tatar and defensemen Dougie Hamilton and P.K. Subban each scored two points in the Devils win. On Saturday, the Devils traveled to Bridgeport, CT to face the New York Islanders. The Devils surrendered a goal just 3:23 into the game. Forward Mark Jankowski tied the game with 4:15 remaining and Yegor Sharangovich scored the game-winning goal with 1:24 remaining and the Devils took the game, 2-1.
Four On Their Way to Utica
The New Jersey Devils announced their first camp cuts on Saturday morning following their big win against the New York Rangers. The team announced that the following players were headed to Utica: forward Ryan Schmelzer, defensemen Jeremy Groleau and Michael Vukojevic, and goaltender Mareks Mitens. Neither Schmelzer nor Mitens appeared in either of the first two preseason games. Groleau and Vukojevic were each a +1 in the Devils win against the Rangers. More cuts are expected as the preseason reaches its climax this week.
Goal of the Week
The goal of the week comes from forward Dawson Mercer. Mercer was drafted 18th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2020 draft, courtesy of the Taylor Hall trade with the Arizona Coyotes. Mercer had 36 points in 23 in a truncated QJMHL season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. He’s impressed so far in camp with goals in each of the two games he’s played so far. But this goal by Mercer in garbage time against the Rangers capped off the route (which made up for the flub on an open net earlier in the game).
ANOTHER ONE pic.twitter.com/n50gycKXZf— Devils on MSG (@DevilsMSGN) October 2, 2021
Save of the Week
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier was signed to give Mackenzie Blackwood some needed time off between starts. He had an inauspicious debut in Washington on Wednesday, allowing four goals in two periods. On Friday, however, Bernier had a much better game with 25 saves. One of those saves came with just 10 minutes remaining in the game. While this may not win Save of the Year (because preseason), this save on Rangers forward Lauri Pajuniemi is Save of the Year-worthy.
HOW DID HE SAVE THAT 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/2A2DuevTHM— Devils on MSG (@DevilsMSGN) October 2, 2021
The Week Upcoming
The New Jersey Devils wrap up their preseason this week with three games. On Monday, they host Washington. On Wednesday, they head across the Hudson River to face the New York Rangers before coming back home Thursday to face the Islanders.
Only Bill Guerin more days until puck drop, Devils fans. Season preview coming next week.