New Jersey Devils vs. Anaheim Ducks Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 17th 2023

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The New Jersey Devils couldn’t stop making history on Saturday night.

The Anaheim Ducks would like nothing more than to start winning on Sunday night.

The Devils will bid to build off a noteworthy evening while the Ducks will look to end a lengthy skid Sunday when the teams meet in Newark, N.J.

The Devils are completing a back-to-back set after Jack Hughes notched a hat trick and scored his 100th career goal in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the host Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Ducks continued a four-game trip Friday by dropping a 5-1 decision to the New York Rangers.

The win was the eighth in the last 10 games for the Devils, who experienced some rare breathing room while collecting milestones Saturday night. New Jersey has won just three games by multiple goals during its current run and has seven multi-goal wins among its 16 victories this season.

The goals that provided the winning margin Saturday were tinged with history for the Devils. Hughes’ second goal made him the fastest New Jersey player to reach 100 career goals. He reached triple digits in his 267th game.

Captain Nico Hischier collected his 300th career point by scoring the Devils’ fifth goal on Saturday. Hughes closed his second hat trick by scoring into the empty net to conclude the scoring.

“They’re going to have a lot more going forward, and I hope to contribute to a lot of them,” said Devils left winger Jesper Bratt, who had the primary assists on Hughes’ second goal as well as Hischier’s tally. “They’re such a big part of our team. It’s awesome seeing those milestones.”

The wire-to-wire victory also was notable for coach Lindy Ruff, who earned the 850th win of his career to snap a tie with Ken Hitchcock for fourth place in NHL history.

“It means you’ve been around a long time,” Ruff said with a grin.

The past month likely feels like a long one for the Ducks, who lost for the 13th time in 14 games on Friday. It’s the second such long sliding stretch of the calendar year for Anaheim, which dropped 13 in a row to conclude the 2022-23 season.

The Ducks have yielded 58 goals during their last 14 games. They have led in each of their last three games after holding a lead in only three of the first 11 games.

The Ducks’ lead Friday lasted just 3:36 in the first period, but they were down 2-1 when defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was whistled for tripping with 4:21 left in the second. Chris Kreider scored 40 seconds later, and Mika Zibanejad ended any hopes of an Anaheim comeback by scoring another power-play goal at 15:26 of the third, 64 seconds after defenseman Radko Gudas was called for slashing.

“I thought we played hard, and then we get into penalty trouble again, and then it’s bingo ball — who’s going to get the next penalty?” said Ducks coach Greg Cronin, whose team has a league-high 406 penalty minutes. “It’s unfortunate. It’s a 2-1 game and then we take some penalties and before you know it, it’s 4-1.”

–Field Level Media

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