NEWARK, NJ – As the New Jersey Devils celebrated their 13th consecutive win in the franchise on Monday night, a sold-out home crowd rose to commemorate the moment.
“I think the team deserves a standing ovation. A run like this is incredible,” said Devils coach Lindy Ruff after his team’s 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
The Devils previously won 13 consecutive games from February 16 to March 23, 2001, a team that would go on to play for the Stanley Cup. Their current streak began on October 25 and has led to New Jersey’s stunning rise to the top of the Metropolitan Division (16-3-0) after finishing 28th in the NHL last season.
“We’re up there [in] the history book. Nobody is taking that away from us now,” said captain Nico Hischier, who had three assists in the victory. “It proves that we are a good team. That we can win hockey games. We don’t have to hide anymore.”
The Devils can set a franchise record for consecutive wins when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at home on Wednesday night. The all-time NHL record for most consecutive wins is 17 in a row, set by the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1992–93 – a streak that ended with the Devils tied in the final game of the regular season.
Monday marked the second time New Jersey defeated Edmonton on this current win streak; the Devils rallied to defeat the Oilers 4–3 in Edmonton on November 3.
New Jersey jumped out to a lead on Monday night after winger Jesper Bratt’s first power play goal, his eighth of the season. Edmonton answered with his own power play score from star Leon Draisaitl (11th). But the Devils built a lead they were unwilling to relinquish during the second period with goals from center Dawson Mercer – scored thanks to an error by Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner – and defender Damon Severson, set up by pointy passes from Bratt and center Jack Hughes ( two assists).
Edmonton came within one goal thanks to a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins count at 4:52 of the third period, but the Devils answered just under 2:15 later when Tomas Tatar put on his own rebound with gloves and then hit the puck past Skinner . Yegor Sharangovich closed the scoring on an Oilers turnover at 2:45 of the third.
Goaltender Vitek Vanecek, who has played in 10 of New Jersey’s 13 straight wins, made 27 saves to clinch the win. Vanecek was acquired from the Washington Capitals in the off-season.
“It’s great to be here. When you win, it’s more fun,” he said. “When you lose, it’s not fun, you know? So we’re winning now, and that’s really fun.”
Ruff praised the efforts of Vanecek and his entire team, but cautioned that any celebration comes with a sense of the long road ahead for the Devils.
“I feel like we haven’t proven anything yet. I think we’ve done a lot of good things. We’ve played good hockey. But we’re already 19 games in,” he said. “We’ve had a great run, but we know we’re rushed now. We can expect the best that any team can bring, because we’re getting recognition. We’ll have to tackle that part.”
For now, the Devils are enjoying a hot streak unlike any other in franchise history.
“It’s definitely one of the most fun stretches I’ve ever been a part of,” said Hischier. “I don’t want it to end. It’s definitely just fun. As we say, just keep riding away from the wave.”