Hughes bests older brother as Devils rout Canucks 7-2
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist to win a showdown with his older brother, and the New Jersey Devils routed the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 on Monday night.
Nico Daws made 36 saves and the Devils scored three times in each of the first two periods, chasing goaltender Jaroslav Halak with six goals on 14 shots.
Yegor Sharangovich, Dawson Mercer, Jesper Boqvist, Ryan Graves, Jesper Bratt and Dougie Hamilton also scored for the Devils, who put up seven goals for the third time in seven games. Nico Hischier had two assists.
“The team is doing well offensively,″ Boqvist said. ”We’re winning a lot of battles, strong on pucks, and we’ve scored a lot of goals lately. So it’s a lot of fun, for sure.”
Quinn Hughes, a defenseman for the Canucks, was held off the scoresheet. Vasily Podkolzin and Tanner Pearson scored for Vancouver.
The Devils have a 12-game winning streak against Vancouver. The last time they lost to the Canucks was Nov. 25, 2014.
“We’ve found a little momentum with the lines we’ve been using and guys can feed off each other,″ New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. ”Their goalie had a little bit of a tough night. We got a little fortunate on some of the early goals, but it’s nice to have the table turned our way.”
The 21-year-old Daws, a third-round draft pick by the Devils in 2020, improved to 3-1-0 this season and won his second straight. He also beat the Penguins 6-1 last Thursday.
“We’re super happy for him,″ Boqvist said. “He’s competing hard and wants to stop every puck, so it’s fun to see him doing that in the games as well, too.”
The Canucks, who beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, lost for the third time in nine games.
“I don’t get the whole back-to-back thing, why it’s tiring,″ coach Bruce Boudreau said. “That excuse goes out the window.”
The Devils opened the scoring at 9:15 of the first when Jack Hughes fired a wrist shot past Halak for his 16th goal this season. The 20-year-old Hughes, the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, has a seven-game point streak.
It was also his fourth straight multipoint game. The only active players to have longer runs at age 20 or younger are Patrik Laine (five games in 2017-18) and Steven Stamkos (five games in 2009-10).
“He’s got himself in a nice little run. Really, really skating well,” Ruff said of Hughes, who has five goals and eight assists in his last seven games. “He just continues to grow. There’s plays inside the game that really only he can make. Some of the stuff that he does, is because he’s so explosive.”
Sharangovich made it 2-0 at 15:24 with his 13th of the season, with assists to Hughes and Mercer. Sharangovich extended his point streak to seven games (five goals, six assists).
“The first line is playing with a lot of confidence right now,″ Ruff said. ”They like playing with each other. They’ve been able to find each other, and inside, Sharangovich has been able to find the hole, and they’ve been really good at low triangle to get guys in a good position to create inside opportunities.”
Mercer made it 3-0 on the power play with his 13th at 17:44.
The Canucks outshot the Devils 13-9 in the first period but left the ice down three.
“With how fast they play, we didn’t match it at all. It’s unacceptable,″ Canucks forward Conor Garland said. ”We have to play the right way to win. When you’re chasing games, it’s not a recipe for success in the NHL.”
Podkolzin broke through for Vancouver at 1:36 of the second when he deflected a shot from Travis Hamonic past Daws for his ninth goal.
Boqvist answered at 3:08 to restore the three-goal lead for the Devils. The goal was his fifth of the season.
Graves made is 5-1 at 5:07 before Bratt scored again for New Jersey at 6:19. Bratt’s team-best 19th goal ended Halak’s night as Thatcher Demko replaced the 36-year-old netminder, who headed straight to the dressing room.
Demko made 18 saves in relief.
“To not come out as well as we are supposed to come out is shocking to me,″ Boudreau said. “The speed they had, they were coming at us pretty good, and we weren’t adjusting to it.”
Bratt, who also assisted on Mercer’s goal, leads the Devils with 50 points.
Pearson narrowed the deficit to 6-2 with his 11th goal at 8:14. Pearson has nine points, including five goals, in his last 12 games.
Canucks leading scorer J.T. Miller assisted on Pearson’s goal. Miller has a six-game point streak and has five goals and 11 assists in his last nine games.
Hamilton completed the scoring for the Devils with his eighth goal at 11:42 of the third. It was Hamilton’s first goal since Dec. 29. He was playing his third game after missing 17 with a broken jaw.
NOTES: The Devils haven’t lost to the Canucks at home since Oct. 24, 2013, in a shootout. The teams meet again March 15 in Vancouver. ... It was the 4,000th regular-season game in Canucks history, dating to their first season in 1970-71. ... The Devils are 6-12-2 against Western Conference teams. ... The Devils scratched defensemen Ty Smith, Mason Geertsen and Christian Jaros. … The Canucks scratched Madison Bowey and forwards Jason Dickinson and Phillip Di Giuseppe.
Canucks: At the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Devils: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
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