Jack Hughes scored 57 seconds into overtime Friday night for the host New Jersey Devils, who overcame blowing a two-goal lead late in the third period to edge the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3.
The game was the season opener for the Devils while the Blackhawks lost their second straight to start the campaign.
Hughes teamed up with Ryan Graves to produce an impressive end-to-end goal after Chicago got goals from Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalik in the final 3:53 of regulation to force overtime.
Graves picked up the puck and dished to Hughes, who darted his way up the ice and shuffled the puck once he got deep into the Blackhawks’ zone. Chicago defenseman Erik Gustafsson sprawled to try stopping a shot, but Hughes maintained control of the puck, which he shuffled again as he hit the slot. With goalie Kevin Lankinen committed to the left, Hughes dumped the puck into the right corner of the net and past the extended stick of Patrick Kane.
It was the second goal of the game for Hughes, who punctuated the overtime winner by tossing his stick into the stands before he was mobbed by teammates.
Dougie Hamilton, playing his first game with the Devils after signing a seven-year deal as a free agent, scored just 17 seconds into the first period. Andreas Johnsson gave New Jersey a two-goal lead early in the third.
Devils goalie Jonathan Bernier made 24 saves.
Alex DeBrincat tied the game by scoring 51 seconds into the middle period for the Blackhawks. Lankinen, who was pulled with about five minutes left in regulation and was off the ice for the two Chicago late goals, finished with 25 saves.
Hamilton got his Devils tenure off to a fast start by scoring from the slot after Jesper Bratt forced a turnover by Jake McCabe. DeBrincat tied the game by taking a cross-ice pass from Kane and scoring on the power play.
Hughes put together an impressive individual effort on his first goal, at 17:58 of the second period. He outworked Connor Murphy for a puck behind the Blackhawks’ net, dashed to the crease to pick up the puck after it bounced between teammate Yegor Sharangovich and Chicago’s Tyler Johnson. Hughes then did a 180 as he fired the shot under Lankinen’s glove.
Johnsson extended the lead 6:34 into the third when he put back a loose puck in the paint behind Lankinen.
After Dach’s power-play tally with just under four minutes left, Kubalik leveled the score with 26 seconds to go.
Kane and Johnson each had two assists for the Blackhawks.
–Field Level Media