It was almost the perfect weekend for New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes. Hughes was in his first NHL All-Star game and from all indications, was enjoying every bit of it. That is until this afternoon when the All-Star landed in the NHL’s Covid Protocol.

Skills Competition

On Friday night, Jack Hughes took part in the Breakaway Challenge of the NHL All-Star skills competition. Players who take part in the Breakaway Challenge in recent years have put a little flair in to their shots. It’s very similar to the Slam Dunk competition in the NBA. In his first skills competition, Hughes embraced his inner Harry Potter and gave the audience this number:

Hughes finished in second place in the Breakaway Competition – only because Jon Hamm, for some reason, gave Alex Pietrangelo a 19. (Pietrangelo missed the net on his breakaway, FYI.)

Metropolitan vs. Pacific

In the first game of the All-Star classic, Jack Hughes netted two of what Devils fans hope are many All-Star game goals. The first goal was scored with 3:44 remaining in the second period and the game tied at three. Hughes joined New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech on the rush. Pelech delivered a perfect saucer pass to the middle of the ice and Hughes deposited the puck past Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko. Hughes later scored an empty net goal to put the mini-game away for the Metropolitan Division as they moved on with a 6-4 win.

Metropolitan vs. Central

In the “championship” game of the All-Star format, Jack Hughes continued his scoring prowess. At the 4:50 mark of the period, Hughes skated on the right side with New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider skating to the net. Hughes passed the puck through Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat’s legs and Kreider put the puck passed Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot. The goal gave the Metropolitan Division a 3-1 lead. Later in the period, Hughes collected a pass from Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho and broke away. Hughes went top shelf past Talbot to give the Metropolitan Division a 4-2 lead. The Metropolitan would eventually go on to win, 5-3, the third win for the division since the format changed in 2016.

Hughes scored three goals and an assist in both games during the All-Star games. Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux was named the All-Star Weekend’s Most Valuable Player, though both players had the same points (3 G, 1 A). It was the second time Hughes was ripped off in two days, but that’s okay. Giroux seemed like he needed the Honda Pilot more anyway. And, Hughes walks away with his share of $1M.

And Now the Bad News

Jack Hughes’ first All-Star experience – by all accounts – was a great one. However, all good things must come to an end. On Sunday, Hughes was placed into the NHL’s Covid Protocol. This latest news is one in just a long series of bad things for the New Jersey Devils lately. The team is on a six-game slide leading up to the All-Star game, including two bad losses to Toronto. They sit in last in the Metropolitan Division and this week, they’ll have four games. The Devils will be without Hughes until he gets a negative test result. He could miss two games, or he could miss ten. Hopefully, Hughes doesn’t miss too much time to give a positive for a season filled with negatives.

I’m Ryan McCarthy and I cover the beat for the New Jersey Devils. Thanks for reading my season preview. Be sure to look at our other NHL coverage on Belly Up Sports. If you want to chirp at me on social media, my Twitter is @whoisryanmcc.
About Author

Ryan McCarthy

Ryan is a veteran of sports blogging since Al Gore invented the Internet. He has spent time with SportsHungry, e-sports.com, and ArenaFan. Ryan is a 2020 graduate of Regent University as a Journalism major. He is also the host of the No Credentials Required podcast.

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