June 5, 2023

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Rookie Luke Hughes delivers “Fantastic Night,” Devils Win Game 3

Greg WochinskyESPNMay 7, 2023 at 08:24 p.m. ET6 minutes to read

The Devils continue to dominate with two goals in just over two minutes

Miles Wood and Jack Hughes each scored within 2:09 as the Devils increased their lead to 7-2.

Newark, NJ – Luke Hughes is 19 years old. His third game as an NHL defensive tackle was Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoff series between the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes, as his club tried to climb out of the hole 2-0.

However, if there was pressure, he would not feel it. If there are concerns, he doesn’t have them.

said Hughes, who provided two assists in 12:55 of ice time, helping energize the Devils in their 8-4 home victory Sunday.

“I thought the fans were great,” he said. “I loved chanting ‘Luuuuuu’. But no stress today.”

Hughes was drafted fourth overall in 2021 and signed with the Devils to join his brother Jack Hughes after his season with the University of Michigan ended. He had a goal and an assist in two regular season games but never saw ice in the playoffs. With defenseman Ryan Graves injured, and his team needing an offensive spark after scoring two goals in two games in Raleigh, coach Lindy made Ruff Hughes one of the seven defenders to dress against the Hurricanes.

“I thought Luke had a great night,” said Rove. “From the first shift to the end of the game, for the young man to step in the way he did and play the way he did…you expect maybe to have a good game. He gave us a great game.”

Defenseman Brendan Smith said Luke is an “amazing” skater.

“He skates like his brother. It’s really elite,” said Smith. “Obviously the more he plays the better he is at making decisions. But he can get himself out of trouble and there are few players who can do that in this league.”

Luke accounted for two Devils goals. His powerful checking led to a chance that put defender Damon Severson behind Carolina goaltender Piotr Kochetkov for a 5-1 lead. Later, he caught a secondary pass on Ondrej Palat’s game-clinching goal to make it 8-4, the Devils’ first goal against the Hurricanes this season in 22 attempts.

But not everything was smooth sailing for Luke. He had a brutal turnover on the Devils’ power play, sending a pedestrian pass across the blue line that was intercepted by the Hurricanes who received a penalty on the play. Jordan Martinok beat goalkeeper Vitek Vanicek to make it 5-2 at the time.

He said “It was not a great play by me. I put this play in depth”. “But mistakes happen and you learn from them. And that’s kind of the next play mentality that happens.”

Smith said he occasionally gave Luke some advice during the game.

“As a youngster, I was lucky to have great mentors,” said Smith, a former Detroit Red Wings linebacker. “I can share some things I’ve learned from players like Niklas Kronwall and Niklas Lidström, I’ll tell him how I see the game and hopefully I can help his game.”

While Luke energized the demons with his gliding and pinching move, his brother Jack was stirring up the crowd in other ways.

“I mean, he got into a fight today. That was new,” said Luke. Then Jack shook his head. He replied, “This is not a fight.”

In the second period, Jack absorbed the frequent passing inspections of Hurricanes center Sebastian Ahu. In the end Jack caught him and wrestled the Carolina star onto the ice as the crowd cheered.

“Listen, he’s a really good player,” said Jack. “I think both teams would like us to be on the ice and help us out there, but that was just him checking my pictures and giving it to me and I’ve had enough of that. So, it’s the playoffs, it’s competitive, it’s intense. I don’t know if you can anticipate that.” Again, but that’s just hockey there.”

His colleagues appreciated the effort.

“You may kiss Mrs. Bing [Trophy] Away,” Smith joked, referring to the NHL award for “gentleman’s play” in which Jack was a finalist. Aho is a tough customer, and it kind of pushed him. He defended himself.”

Jack and Aho received minor penalties for roughness, while Aho received an additional penalty for accidental checking.

When he wasn’t participating in a wrestling game on ice, Jack had two goals and two assists, becoming the twelfth player in Devils series history to have four points in a playoff game.

One of those assists was a slick between-the-legs pass from behind the net as winger Timo Meyer set up the Devils’ first goal just 5:58 into game three. After the Devils made it 4-0 in the second period, for their first point in the playoffs.

It was Mayer’s first attempted punt and shot in the game. Going into Game 3, Meyer had 61 shot attempts and 32 shots on goal in eight games. His averages per 60 minutes in both categories ranked third among all players who played in the last 100 minutes.

Meyer admitted that the goal raised his mind a bit.

“A little bit, but whether you’re signing up or not, you’re just trying to make a difference every shift,” he said. “It’s playoff time. Every game counts, and sometimes if you don’t score goals you have to do other things, and those things will drive the goals.”

As the score indicates, Game 3 has been a wild ride. Mayer’s first point. The game of power of demons finally scores. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes became the first team in 35 postseason scores to score three shorthanded goals in one game: a penalty kick by Martinock, plus shorthanded goals by Jordan Staal and Seth Jarvis to narrow the lead to 7-4 in the third period. Since the NHL began tracking power plays and killing opportunities in 1933-34, this was only the fourth time a team had recorded three shorthanded hits in a game.

But the achievement was little consolation for coach Rod Brind’Amour after the loss.

“We were awful,” he said. Perhaps that makes it mild. Because of what they were doing. They were the better team, without a doubt. “

The Devils are trying to bounce back from a 0-2 series deficit for the second straight round, after winning Games 3 and 4 over the New York Rangers before winning seven games. This experience helps the demons, Jack said, but only a lot.

“Completely different teams, different methods,” he said. “You guys throw ‘inexperience.’ We’ve been in this situation before where we were down 2-0. You don’t want to say you’re comfortable there. You know there’s still a long streak to go. But we’re back on that thing now.” “

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