Devils get second straight victory after starting NHL season with six straight losses

NEWARK, N.J.—This time, Jack Hughes got the better of his older brother, Quinn.

He had plenty of witnesses, too.

The 18-year-old Hughes scored his first career goal in his first NHL game against his 20-year-old brother Quinn Hughes, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 on Saturday.

Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 25 shots in his third career shutout, sending New Jersey to its second straight victory after starting the season with six straight losses.

Jack Hughes played in his eighth NHL game after he was selected by New Jersey with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.

He became the first player to score his first NHL goal in a 1-0 regular-season game since Andreas Athanasiou for Detroit against Washington on Nov. 10, 2015. At 18 years and 158 days, he’s also the second-youngest player to score in Devils history — only Craig Wolanin (18 years, 135 days) was younger.

“I’ve felt good in every game,” Hughes said. “Each game has been a building block for me. I think it was a little overdue.”

Quinn Hughes was a first-round selection by Vancouver in 2018. There were approximately 80 Hughes family members and friends on hand for their first NHL matchup.

New Jersey went ahead to stay on Hughes’ power-play goal 14:08 into the first period. Taylor Hall kept the puck on his stick while eluding two defenders and fired cross ice to Hughes, who beat Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko.

“It’s such an awesome feeling,” Jack Hughes said. “To come out here and play in front of my family and friends. It’s nice to be able to beat Quinn. The two games we’ve won, we’ve played much better hockey.”

Demko finished with 23 saves for Vancouver, which had won four in a row.

Blackwood was especially stingy in the second period, when he turned aside 14 shots, including three in a frantic 43-second stretch.

With seven minutes left, Elias Pettersson fired a high shot that Blackwood pushed off the crossbar. Then he stopped Alexander Edler on a breakaway after Edler left the penalty box. The rebound bounced out to Edler, who fired it through the crease.

“Everyone is out there playing for each other,” Blackwood said. “No one is being selfish. Everyone is out there doing their jobs. We feed off each other’s energy. When one guy is going well, then the other goes well and it becomes contagious. That helps the goaltender a lot.”

The Devils’ penalty killers had another solid performance, killing off six power plays two days after killing off seven straight chances against the New York Rangers. The Devils allowed eight power-play goals over their first six losses of the season.

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Devils centre Nico Hischier sat out his second straight game with an upper-body injury, after agreeing to a seven-year, $50.75-million U.S. contract extension Friday.

“I’m happy it’s a long-term deal,” said the 20-year-old Hischier, who could have become a restricted free agent at season’s end. “I’m happy with the direction the team is going in. I’ve been treated well here. I have felt welcomed here since day one. I have no reason not to sign here long term. I don’t have to worry about that now.”

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