New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes is something to watch and admire every time he is on the ice.
This is something that I noticed when I attended Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden between the Devils and New York Rangers. In that game, Hughes, 21, was all over the ice as he had one goal, five shots on net, and logged 21:08 of ice time.
This was also the case in Game 3 of the second round at the Prudential Center between the Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, May 7th. With the Hurricanes up 2-0 in the series, Hughes put the team on his back and recorded four points (two goals and two assists), had four shots on goal, and even got into a skirmish in his club’s 8-4 victory.
Going into Game 4 on Tuesday night, May 9th, the Devils superstar leads the team with nine points (five goals and four assists) in the postseason. For someone who is experiencing the NHL’s postseason for the first time, Hughes has looked like a veteran.
For starters, he has not been afraid to put the puck on the net. He currently (Monday, May 8) leads the team with 42 shots on goal, and with the way he can fire the puck, he is a threat to score from anywhere on the ice.
In this year’s playoffs, Hughes has beaten goaltenders on breakaways, shots from the slot, and by also putting himself in the right area to put the puck in the net. Given the way he has been able to put the puck on goal, he should have a lot more than five goals.
Secondly, Hughes had also come up big when his team needed it the most. As I mentioned above, his performance in his team’s crucial win in Game 3 is a perfect example.
He produced, stuck up for his teammates, and showed that he can be a leader on the ice despite his young age. Hughes showed that he has a killer instinct and that, when used properly, he can devastate opponents in multiple ways.
Lastly, Hughes is showing that he knows what it takes to be an impactful player in the playoffs, which is not easy for everyone. He knows where to be on the ice, he knows that he has to play responsibly at both ends of the ice, and he knows how to ramp up his intensity.
The Devils have an absolute gem in Hughes, and right now, he is showing that he can shine bright on the NHL’s biggest stage.