3 Takeaways From Devils’ 5-3 Win vs. the Rangers – 11/28/22

On Nov. 28 the New Jersey Devils secured a comeback victory against the New York Rangers and earned their spot at the top of the league standings accumulating 38 points in 23 games. Additionally, they became the first team in NHL history to win 13 games in the month of November.

Devils fans flocked to Madison Square Garden [MSG] on Monday night to watch their team face one of their biggest rivals. They made their presence known as several “Let’s Go Devils” chants echoed throughout the historic arena. At one point the visiting fans taunted the Rangers’ starting goaltender with chants of “Igor”. It was something that has never happened at MSG. Rangers fans took to social media to share their shock saying they never heard anything like that in their own building before.

Vitek Vanecek New Jersey Devils
Vitek Vanecek, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Here are three takeaways from the Devils’ comeback victory over the Rangers.

Devils’ Resiliency Again on Display

The Devils’ start at Madison Square Garden was disastrous. The Rangers scored two quick goals on four shots in the first three minutes of the game. It had the makings of a disaster and for a brief moment head coach Lindy Ruff thought about calling a timeout.

“I think sometimes you call a timeout, you’re sending the message ‘holy crap, we’re in trouble’ and I didn’t think we were really in trouble,” Ruff said after the game. “All I said on the bench was let’s go get the next goal.”

The team seemed unbothered that they fell behind in the first 3:01 and it was Tomas Tatar who got the scoring started for his team 7:33 into the game. His backhand shot got past Igor Shesterkin who entered the contest with a 6-3-0 record against the Devils.

Yegor Sharangovich tied the game with 6:35 left in the first frame. After a bit of a slow start, the Minsk native has been consistently finding the scoresheet and has five points in his last five games and previously was on a five-game point streak. He also scored the Devils’ fifth goal of the night, an empty netter, to secure the win late in the third period marking it his third multi-point night of the season.

All 4 Lines Finding Success

The Devils’ depth was once again evident as all four lines contributed to the scoresheet. In two cases it was a full line effort as both Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt assisted on Tatar’s goal and Miles Wood and Fabian Zetterlund collected the assists on Michael McLeod’s third goal of the season. The only three forwards to not register a point at Madison Square Garden were Erik Haula, Jesper Boqvist, and Alexander Holtz.

Coach Ruff has tinkered with the lines quite a bit recently, but it has not affected the performances of the players on the ice. For the past few weeks Zetterlund has helped cushion the blow of losing Ondrej Palat and seamlessly fit into Nathan Bastian’s spot Monday night on the team’s impact line. Each trio of players has been dangerous in the offensive zone and have been making an impact for their club.

Another Character Win for the Devils

The Devils have now won 19 of their first 23 games. Monday night fans saw their team put together their third comeback victory of the season when trailing by two goals in a game. The two points haven’t always come easy, but the club keeps finding different ways to get it done.

After the game, Hischier said despite being at the top of the league standings, his team is still looking for more.

“Feels good [to win 19 of our first 23 games], but like we said we aren’t where we want to be yet,” he said. “We’ve still got tons of hockey left. We are really happy with our start, but we’re not even halfway through so can’t buy anything with that. We’ve got to keep improving, keep getting better and that’s our goal.”

Related: Devils Getting Solid Leadership From Nico Hischier

It was easy for some to come up with excuses for the team’s early success like their schedule and lack of playoff opponents. Many dismissed Ruff’s squad expecting them to follow in the footsteps of the Buffalo Sabres who came back down to earth losing eight straight after their impressive start. As December approaches the Devils have continued to keep their pace and prove their start and 13-game winning streak was not a fluke. They are collecting character wins that show they are the real deal this season and should not be taken likely by any opposing team.

The Devils are off today and will return to the ice on Wednesday for practice. Their next home game is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 1 at Prudential Center when the team hosts the Nashville Predators. They will look to build upon their current winning streak and collect their fourth consecutive victory.

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