December 24, 2019 / 4:36 AM / a month ago

Blackhawks score first, but Devils turn it into rout

EditorsNote: adds day in lede

Dec 23, 2019; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New Jersey Devils center Pavel Zacha (37) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Hughes snapped a nearly two-month goal-scoring drought in the first period to begin a stretch of seven unanswered goals by the New Jersey Devils, who enjoyed their most lopsided win in more than a year by routing the host Chicago Blackhawks 7-1 on Monday.

P.K. Subban scored the go-ahead goal 51 seconds into the second period for the Devils, who also received goals from Damon Severson, John Hayden, Travis Zajac, Blake Coleman and Pavel Zacha.

New Jersey hadn’t won a game by six goals since blanking the Washington Capitals 6-0 on Oct. 11. 2018.

Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood made 32 saves for the Devils, who improved to 3-6-1 under interim head coach Alain Nasreddine.

Zack Smith scored early in the first period for the Blackhawks, who had a two-game winning streak snapped while absorbing their most lopsided loss since falling to the Florida Panthers 7-0 on March 25, 2017.

Corey Crawford started in goal for Chicago but was pulled after allowing four goals on 20 shots. Robin Lehner finished up and stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced.

Smith opened the scoring after Blackwood made a pair of point-blank stops on shots by Blackhawks center David Kampf. The rebound from the second shot bounced to Smith, who skated around the net and scored on a wraparound at the 3:21 mark.

Hughes ended an 18-game goal drought a little more than 11 minutes later, when he shuffled the puck while approaching Crawford from the left side before tucking a shot home with 5:14 left.

Subban’s shot from in front of the blue line went past a screened Crawford, who had four players in front of him as the puck sailed past him. Severson ended his own goal drought at 11 games at the 7:22 mark of the second when he cut in at the right goal line and shuffled the puck before beating Crawford from point-blank range.

Hayden chased Crawford and extended the lead to 4-1 with 9:20 left in the middle period, when his shot from the right faceoff circle flew under Crawford’s glove and into the far corner of the net. Zajac ended a two-on-one short-handed rush by the Devils by putting back the rebound of Coleman’s shot with 2:38 remaining in the second.

Coleman scored a spectacular goal just 18 seconds into the third, when he bore in on Lehner and scored with a diving shot. Zacha capped the scoring with 1:39 left.

—Field Level Media

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