Devils Take Home Opener From Avalanche
The Devils open the 2017 campaign with a 4-1 victory over Colorado
After what has felt like an eternity for Devils fans since the conclusion of the preseason, The Devils finally opened the 2017-18 season with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche in front of a sellout home crowd.
An offseason of change following a disappointing 2016-17 campaign was highlighted by the addition of the eighteen-year-old Swiss prodigy and first overall draft pick Nico Hischier. Hischier isn’t the only new attraction at the Prudential Center, as the world’s largest in-arena scoreboard made its regular season debut as well.
It was college free-agent and former Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher, however, who put together the most impressive start to the new season. Butcher became the only player in franchise history to earn three assists in his first career game.
The electric atmosphere at The Rock propelled the Devils to a quick start with an Adam Henrique power play goal just four minutes into the game. New Jersey’s offensive attack overwhelmed the Colorado opposition for much of the opening period, as the Devil's displayed outstanding speed and pressure to fire off seventeen shots on goal before first intermission.
The Devils carried over their relentless offensive aggression into the second period where an early goal off the stick of Jimmy Hayes put New Jersey up 2-0. The Avalanche responded quickly with a power play score of their own from Carl Soderberg. Rookie Jesper Brett recaptured the momentum for New Jersey with his first career NHL goal on a power play in the last minute of the second to give the Devils a 3-1 advantage heading into the final period.
The Avalanche came out firing in the third period but failed to get one past goalkeeper Cory Schneider, who ended the game with forty saves, as the Devils pulled off an impressive four-minute penalty kill. Even when shorthanded, the Devils kept on the attack with a John Moore goal to bring the score to 4-1.
While the Devils emphasized flexing their muscles on offense, their fast-paced play eventually seemed to catch up with them, opening the door for a late surge for the Avalanche. If the Devils intend to continue this relentless offensive style, balancing lineups and managing minutes and fatigue will be a key challenge for coach John Hynes moving forward. For now, the performances of the Devils’ young talent and the team’s offensive chemistry are reasons to celebrate starting 1-0.