NEWARK — Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey played for the Devils last season and got an up-close look at Jack Hughes. And after Hughes scored two goals Saturday to help beat the Rangers, 4-3, in overtime, Vesey spoke about his former teammate.
“I thought he was pretty good last year,’’ Vesey said of Hughes, who leads the Devils in scoring with 49 points (26 goals, 23 assists). “I saw something on social media [asking] is he going to score 100 points in the next five years? I think he might do it this year. He’s a generational talent and kind of hitting his stride now and staying healthy.’’
“He’s a great player,’’ Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “He’s a talented kid, a great player. He takes advantage of opportunities and we gave him a little bit too much ice the second half of the game.’’
Vesey, who scored the Rangers’ first goal, made the Devils last season after a training camp tryout and played 68 games for them. He had eight goals and seven assists.
He made the Rangers after a training camp tryout this season and played well enough to earn himself a two-year contract extension, which he signed Wednesday. His goal Saturday was his seventh.
How many shots on goal?
Officially, the Devils outshot the Rangers 43-34, including 19-9 in the first period, when the Rangers led 1-0 on Vesey’s goal. But Gallant was skeptical of the accuracy of the shot totals, especially in the first period.
“Honestly, I looked up [at the scoreboard], it was 11-3, and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ’’ Gallant said. “So maybe the guy upstairs had an itchy finger . . . because I was shocked when I looked up.’’
Same lineup for Gallant
Gallant dressed the same lineup as he used in Montreal, with D Libor Hajek the only healthy scratch. Forward Jonny Brodzinski was not back yet after leaving the team to be with his wife, who went into labor on Thursday.