The New Jersey Devils are approaching the one-month anniversary of their NHL-best winning streak starting and enjoying every moment of being the rare team to win 13 straight games.
They’ll have even more to enjoy Wednesday if they can get their 14th straight victory when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs in Newark, N.J.
New Jersey is on its second 13-game winning streak in franchise history. Monday’s 5-2 win over the visiting Edmonton Oilers impressively matched the franchise record set Feb. 26 through March 23, 2001, when they were defending the second of their three Stanley Cups and in the midst of a 24-season stretch in which they qualified for the playoffs 21 times.
“I guess we’re up there with the history book,” captain Nico Hischier said after getting three assists Monday. “Nobody is going to take that from us now and it feels good. It proves that we’re a good team, that we can win hockey games, that we don’t have to hide anymore.”
This winning streak, the NHL’s 13th different run of at least 13 games, comes less than two months following a modest offseason after the Devils missed the playoffs. New Jersey has made the postseason just once in the past 10 seasons since getting to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
If the Devils can move the streak to 14 games, it will be the seventh time in NHL history since the league expanded beyond the “Original Six” in 1967 and first time since the Columbus Blue Jackets won 16 straight Nov. 29, 2016 through Jan. 3, 2017.
During their impressive run, the Devils are outscoring opponents 56-24. While New Jersey owns six one-goal wins and three overtime victories, it also owns six wins by at least three goals.
On Saturday, the Devils held a two-goal lead after 20 minutes in Ottawa en route to a 5-1 win. Two nights later, they scored first, allowed the tying goal and scored twice in the second before pulling away with two more goals in the third.
Hischier, who has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) during the streak, set up goals by Jesper Bratt, Dawson Mercer and Tomas Tatar. Jack Hughes has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) during the streak and collected two assists by setting up Bratt along with Damon Severson.
Toronto’s contribution to New Jersey’s run was taking a 3-2 overtime loss last Thursday when Matt Murray allowed the game-winner to Yegor Shrangovich 57 seconds into overtime.
Toronto is 3-0-2 in its past five and 6-1-3 in its past 10. On Monday, John Tavares and Auston Matthews scored in the second and were 2:58 away from a regulation win until goalie Erik Kallgren misplayed the puck behind the net, resulting in the tying goal. Toronto then took its league-worst fifth overtime setback in a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders.
“Just a tough bounce,” said Toronto’s Mitch Marner, who extended his points streak to 13 games. “We felt good about our game, created a lot. We were sound defensively, didn’t give up a lot. We’ll fix what we need to fix.”
Perhaps more concerning than a miscue is the injury status of top defenseman Morgan Rielly, who departed in the third after a collision with New York’s Kyle Palmieri. Rielly grabbed his left knee after falling to the ice.
The Leafs placed Rielly on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), leaving them without three defensemen as TJ Brodie and Jake Muzzin are also injured. Toronto recalled defensemen Mac Hollowell and Victor Mete from its AHL affiliate.
–Field Level Media