Bratt, Butcher Power New Jersey To A Pair Of Wins; Hischier Has His Moments To Start Rookie Campaign

By John Schweibacher
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The Devils are off to a good start to the regular season with a pair of victories and 10 goals scored.

New Jersey is coming off a 6-2 victory at Buffalo on Monday afternoon in its first road contest of the young season. The Devils did not win a road game last season until Nov. 6, their 11th game of the season. They also went winless in each of their last 11 road games in 2016-17, dating to Feb. 4.

Rookie Jesper Bratt, who is all of 19, continued his impressive start with two goals and an assist in Monday’s win, becoming the first player in franchise history to record five points through the first two games of his NHL career.

Jesper Bratt, Will Butcher

Devils forward Jesper Bratt celebrates his first NHL goal with teammate Will Butcher during the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Prudential Center on Oct. 7, 2017. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The last veteran Devils player with as many as five points in the first two games of a season was Stephane Richer, who had three goals and two assists to start the 1991-92 season.

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The Devils began their 35th anniversary season with a 4-1 win Saturday afternoon over the Colorado Avalanche.

Will Butcher had three assists in his NHL debut, becoming the first player in franchise history with three points in his first career game.

The only other Devils defenseman to have three assists in a game against the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise was Bruce Driver, who did it twice. He had four assists against Quebec in an 8-3 win on Dec. 15, 1984 and three in a 9-3 victory on March 10, 1990.

Jimmy Hayes and Bratt scored their first goals as Devils in the victory Saturday.

The last time two Devils newcomers scored goals in the season opener was back in 1991, when Richer (two) and Tom Chorske each had goals in a 7-2 win over St. Louis at the Meadowlands.

Cory Schneider made 40 saves on 41 shots in the win over the Avalanche. It was the most saves and shots faced by a Devils goalie in a season opener, topping the 38-out-of-40 performance by Chris Terreri on Oct. 5, 1989, in an opening night win over the Flyers in Philadelphia.

Nico Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, had six shots on goal in his NHL debut on Saturday and registered his first career point with an assist on Brian Gibbons’ goal on Monday.

Hischier became the fifth-youngest player to appear in a game for New Jersey:

— Scott Niedermayer, 18 years, 1 month, 15 days
— Craig Wolanin, 18 years, 2 months, 13 days
— Kirk Muller, 18 years, 8 months, 4 days
— Brendan Shanahan, 18 years, 8 months, 16 days
— Hischier, 18 years, 9 months, 4 days

The Devils’ season opener on Saturday afternoon was the club’s first in the daytime since the start of the 1995-96 season. New Jersey celebrated its first Stanley Cup victory on the afternoon of Oct. 7, 1995 with a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers at the Meadowlands. John MacLean scored twice and Martin Brodeur made 17 saves..

John Hynes is in his third season as New Jersey’s head coach. The only other coaches in Devils’ history to begin at least three consecutive seasons were Jacques Lemaire (five) from 1993-94 through 1997-98, Doug Carpenter (four) from 1984-85 through 1987-88, and Pete DeBoer (four) from 2011-12 through 2014-15.

Plus/Minus:

Plus: Balanced attack. Thirteen different Devils have at least one point through two games.

Minus: Injury bug. Forwards Drew Stafford and Kyle Palmieri both went down with lower-body injuries in season-opening win. They are considered day-to-day.

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