ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)Jack Hughes had two goals and an assist, and Jesper Bratt also scored two goals in the New Jersey Devils’ third straight victory, 6-2 over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Hughes got his 50th point of the season by scoring in New Jersey’s three-goal first period. He added his 28th goal of the season in the final minutes of a blowout win in the first stop of the Devils’ four-game West Coast road swing.
”Thought we rolled them pretty well in the first (period),” Hughes said. ”Came out fast there. Needed a game like that.”
Vitek Vanecek made 31 saves, while Jesper Boqvist and Dougie Hamilton added a goal and an assist in only the Devils’ second victory in their last eight trips to Anaheim. New Jersey improved to a stunning 16-2-1 on the road this season with its fifth straight victory away from home.
”The whole team effort was working,” Bratt said. ”When we have the team playing like this and paying attention to details, it’s good for us. … We didn’t really give them too much, except for the last few minutes of the second period.”
Adam Henrique and Trevor Zegras scored and John Gibson stopped 33 shots for the last-place Ducks, who finished the longest homestand in franchise history at 3-6-1, winning just once in regulation.
Anaheim hasn’t played on the road since Dec. 20, but the struggling club was outscored 19-5 while losing the final three games of a homestand that tied for the third-longest in NHL history.
”Obviously we haven’t seen the improvement,” Ducks forward Ryan Strome said. ”I think it’s real easy to hang your head and feel sorry for yourself, but it’s not a league where anyone cares. … Right now, it feels like everything is going against us, but this is how you learn. You’ve got to go through hard times like these. To come to the rink every day and dust yourself off after the performances we’ve had is tough, (but) these are hopefully moments we learn from.”
Hamilton, Bratt and Hughes scored for New Jersey in the first period. Bratt made it 4-0 with a wraparound goal in the second period, but Henrique finally got the Ducks on the board moments later, cleaning up a rebound of Troy Terry’s breakaway attempt. Henrique was drafted by New Jersey in 2008 and spent parts of eight seasons with the Devils before getting traded to Anaheim in late 2017.
Boqvist got his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway after an exceptional long pass by Damon Severson, who had three assists.
”They’re playing high-octane hockey,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said of the Devils. ”They’ve got a lot of speed. They stretch the ice out very quickly. They’re a very, very good team. They’ve got a lot of skill, a lot of speed, and they’re very hard to handle.”
Zegras’ third-period goal improved the Ducks’ power play to 4 for 32 on the homestand.
Jakob Silfverberg played in his 700th career NHL game for Anaheim. The 32-year-old Swede is having the worst offensive season of his 11 years in the NHL by far, averaging just 0.24 points per game.
Devils: At Los Angeles on Saturday.
Ducks: At Pittsburgh on Monday to open a six-game road trip.
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