NEWARK, NJ (NWN) – Jack Hughes scored his second goal of the game in less than a minute in overtime as the New Jersey Devils beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 after a two-goal lead late Friday night.
Dominic Kubalik and Kirby Dachs forced overtime, scoring in the final 3:53 of regulation with the Blackhawks’ net empty.
Dougie Hamilton scored on his first shot as the Devil and Andreas Johnson gave his team a 3–1 lead in the third round. Jonathan Bernier made 24 saves for the Devils, who are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
Alex Debrincat also scored for Chicago, who is starting 0-2 after improving his roster. Kevin Lankinen made 25 saves after losing 17 seconds to Hamilton after the opening faceoff.
Hughes secured his game winner on the Odd-Man Rush. He fired a close shot to put Lancinon out of position and slid the puck into an open net.
Dach narrowed the margin to 3-2 with Chicago on the power play after rookie Dawson Mercer was called for a four-minute high-sticking penalty at 12:49.
Dach achieved his goal on a rebound pass, while Kubalik left his second in game two in regulation with 25.5 seconds.
Hamilton, who signed a $63 million contract as a free agent, provided an immediate dividend for New Jersey. He took a pass from Pavel Zacha in the middle of the circles and gave a shot to Lankinon.
The goal was the fastest to start the season for the Devils. The old mark by Zach Parise in 2006-07 was 26 seconds.
DeBrincat tied it in the second period of 51 seconds on the power play. Standing low in the left circle, he made a perfect cross-ice pass once to Bernier by Patrick Kane, who signed with New Jersey as a free agent.
Hughes led New Jersey in this period with a 2:02. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft collected a loose puck in the left circle, spun and beat Lankan.
Johnson, who had missed the net on the first-period breakaway, loosened the crease after rookie Dawson Mercer hit the goalpost.
The Devils wore the number 10 jersey and the Blackhawks wore the number 39 during their pregame skate to honor the late Jimmy Hayes. He died unexpectedly in August at the age of 31. He played for both the Devils and the Blackhawks. The first period featured a video of a tribute to Hayes, who was cheering everyone in the building. His wife, Kristen, and family members took part in the game.
Chicago gave goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury a knight off to face Pittsburgh. He started his career with the Penguins and won the Stanley Cup with them. … Devils were without forward Miles Wood and defensemen Ty Smith and Damon Severson, all with lower body injuries. … This was the first game between the teams since the Blackhawks defeated the Devils 2-1 on December 6, 2019.
Blackhawks: Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
Devils: Host the expansion Seattle Kraken on Tuesday night.
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