NEWARK, N.J. — Two rookies were brought in to help the offense and made immediate contributions for the Detroit Red Wings — but not enough to fend off one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.
The Wings dominated the first period against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, withstood a momentum swing in the second quarter and used their high-powered offense to force a tie in the third quarter at Prudential Center. However, the Devils scored with less than five minutes to play and a sixth penalty of the night doused the Wings’ chances of coming back. The final score was 4-3, and the Devils won.
Alex DeBrincat added a goal midway through the third period, following freshman Daniel Sprong’s first-period goal. But another freshman, Jeff Petry, made the trip twice; four other wings made the same trip.
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Former U.S. National Team Development Program star Jack Hughes showed off his prowess in the second quarter, scoring two goals, but he was also sent into the penalty area twice.
Dougie Hamilton scored with 4:21 left, Erik Haula added an empty-net goal and Robby Fabbri A power-play score with 33.7 seconds left sealed the win.
The Wings will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday in their first game of the 2023-24 season at Little Caesars Arena.
It was also the Devils’ season opener, but the Wings did a good job of calming the crowd with a fast start and keeping the game in New Jersey’s zone. David Perron fired a quick shot into the net; so did DeBrincat, and so did Sprong on the next play. The Wings wiped out Jake Wollman’s penalty early and put three goals in the back of the net on the power play near midway through the first period. Lucas Raymond missed a scoring opportunity late in the quarter, giving the Wings a 14-6 lead in shots.
Sprang, an offseason signing to help the offense, scored at 12:14 of the second period when the puck sailed past him as he sprinted toward the net. The lead didn’t last long as the Devils converted in the Perron zone. Hughes scored at 13:40 and Christian Fisher was ejected for tripping at 14:23, the Wings’ fourth skater down.
Hughes scored his second goal of the game a minute into the second half and, subbing on the left wing in the second period, beat Ville Husso with a brilliant shot that had the crowd chanting “MVP.” , MVP”. Hughes is a product of the USNTDP and was the No. 1 pick in 2019 (the year the Wings had the sixth pick, when then-new general manager Steve Yzerman selected guard Moritz Seider). In November 2021, the Devils signed Hughes to an eight-year, $64 million contract; two years later, it appears to be a good deal for one of the top players in the game.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings lose 4-3 to New Jersey Devils