The month of December was a brutal one for the New Jersey Devils.
After getting off to a sizzling start and going on a long winning streak, the team cooled off in a big way. They finished the month of December with a 4-7-2 record, and many in the hockey world if the Devils were coming back down to earth.
The team has since gone on and shown that their hot start was no mirage. The Devils have won four straight games and are now 6-1-1 in their past eight.
Thanks to their recent strong play, the Devils are now (Sunday, January 15) second in the Metropolitan Division and third in the NHL with a 28-12-3 record and 59 points. The team also sits just two points back of the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.
One reason why the Devils are back to playing winning hockey is because of their strong play on the road. Thanks to their 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, January 14, the Devils became the first team in NHL history to win 17 of their first 20 road games.
The team is currently in the midst of a five-game road trip. They won the first three by beating the Hurricanes, Ducks, and Kings by a combined score of 17-7.
Speaking of scoring, the Devils continue to get production from the likes of Jack Hughes (54 points), Jesper Bratt (43 points), and Nico Hischier (41 points). Night in and night out, these three players are the team’s best and most reliable, and they have gotten the job done all season long.
The rest of the team’s offense has also really stepped up. The Devils are fifth in the league in scoring, as they have scored 152 goals in 43 games (3.53 goals per game).
Lastly, the Devils are doing a great job of keeping the puck out of their net. The team is second in the league in goals allowed, as they have given up just 112 goals (2.60 goals against per game) this season.
One main reason why the Devils have done such a good job of keeping their goals against down this season has been the play of netminder Vitek Vanecek. Vanecek, 27, is 17-5-0-2 with a 2.35 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Vanecek has especially been good in his last five starts. He has won all five games, has allowed just 11 goals, and has stopped 144 of the 155 shots he has faced.
Do not look now, folks, but the Devils are not only for real this season, but they are beginning to look like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.