I watched the New Jersey Devils dismantle Ottawa 5-1 Saturday. The Devils made it look easy. The host Senators were badly outskated and outclassed.
The Devils have won 12 in a row. They’re 15-3.
The Devils are blurry fast and 100 percent are going to make the playoffs. That’s after not doing so the last four seasons and qualifying just once in the last 10.
They have youth. They have speed. They have energy.
They have young standouts like forwards Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier: All 24 or younger, all over a point per game.
They have an impact fourth line, the “BMW” line: Nathan Bastian, Michael McLeod and Miles Wood.
Who are they? 15-3, that’s who they are. When you’ve got a fourth line with identity, you’ve got a good team.
Goaltending might be a problem. But it isn’t yet. (Mackenzie Blackwood has a name like an MTV VJ from the '80s.)
Forward Erik Haula was on the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights. They made the Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s expansion season. Haula says these Devils have the feel of those Golden Knights.
The Penguins host the Devils on Dec. 30 in the first meeting of the teams this season. That evening will tell a tale.
The Devils are visited by speedy Edmonton tonight. That game will be like a track meet.
The Devils play entertaining, high-octane hockey. That’s the oddest part of their rise. It’s strange to see those uniforms doing that.