Photo courtesy of Mark Fischgrund.

Devils Takeaways: Devils dominate in win over Sharks

Now, that's the way the New Jersey Devils needed to start their California road trip. The Devils took care of business in San Jose, taking down the Sharks by a score of 7-2 Tuesday night. This is a game the Devils had to win as they are fighting for their playoff lives. The Devils put up seven goals in this game, which tied their season high for goals scored. New Jersey lacked dominant wins this season, so getting one to start their three-game road trip was nice.

Nico Hischier Leading By Example

When Nico Hischier was named captain of the Devils in 2021, they expected to get big-time performances from him in big games like Tuesday night. Hischier recorded four points in the game, which tied his career high. He tallied three assists and later added a goal in the third period.

Hischier has been on a tear lately, putting up 17 points in his last 13 games. He has been flourishing on the top line with forwards Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier.

Some fans were questioning if Hischier could be a captain at such a young age, but he has undoubtedly shut down that narrative. Hischier is a great leader, not just on the ice but also in the locker room. Hischier knows what is at stake right now, as every game matters now for the Devils.

"We know we need to get some wins," Hischier said. "Now we got one. We move on from here, take a good feeling from this game and do it again."

The Devils are a much better team when their captain is producing on the scoresheet.

Nico Daws Changed The Momentum

Without goaltender Nico Daws, the Devils may not have won this game. That is crazy to say after the Devils won by five goals.

The Devils' defense was far from perfect, with some bad turnovers in their zone and getting outbattled by the Sharks' forwards in many situations. Daws had to bail the defense many times during the game as he saved 29-of-31 shots he faced. Daws finished the game with +1.53 goals saved, above expected, according to MoneyPuck.

There was one save, though, that changed the game's complexion. Unsurprisingly, the Devils were down 1-0 at the beginning of the second period. Devils defenseman Luke Hughes had a bad turnover in the Devils' zone when making a blind spin pass that landed on the stick of a Sharks forward. After a few passes, the puck got to the Sharks' Alexander Barabanov wide open in front of the net. Daws stayed composed and made a big pad save on Barabanov.

Thirty-five seconds later, Devils forward Jesper Bratt scored off a great feed from Timo Meier to tie the game. Thirty-seven seconds later, Devils forward Jack Hughes intercepted a pass and took it to the other end of the ice. He scored five-hole on Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to give the Devils a 2-1 lead.

This game could've been 2-0 with the Sharks leading if it wasn't for the remarkable save Daws made. Instead, New Jersey gained some momentum from that save and scored two goals 37 seconds apart to take the lead.

The Devils Can Build Off This Win

It is no secret that the Devils have been highly inconsistent this season. They have not been able to string wins together, leading them to be scratching and clawing for a playoff spot. The Devils have not had a win streak eclipse three games this season. It sure has to be frustrating for Jersey after they had a franchise record of 13 wins in a row last season.

But, if there is any game the Devils will be able to build off of, it has to be this one. The Devils dominated play for the majority of the game. The Devils looked in sync and played cohesively for the first time in quite a while. Everyone contributed, from their captain, who had a four-point night, to Defenseman Kevin Bahl, who scored his first goal of the season. It was a full team effort in San Jose, and that is what the Devils need going forward in every game remaining this season.

Looking Forward

New Jersey need the same effort Friday night when they take on the Anaheim Ducks in their second game of the California road trip, as the Devils can't afford many more losses this season. They need to start stringing wins together, and hopefully, Tuesday's win over the Sharks was the beginning of that.