CHICAGO – Travis Zajac capped New Jersey’s dominant second period with a short-handed goal, and the Devils pounded the Blackhawks, 7-1, on Monday night.
P.K. Subban, Damon Severson and John Hayden also scored in the second as New Jersey won for just the third time in 12 games. Jack Hughes picked up his fifth goal in the first, and Blake Coleman and Pavel Zacha scored in the third.
Nikita Gusev had three assists and Mackenzie Blackwood made 32 saves, helping New Jersey bounce back from consecutive losses to Washington and Columbus by a combined score of 11-4.
It was the highest-scoring game of the season for the Devils, and the worst loss of the year for the Hawks.
The Hawks had won three of four, including consecutive victories at Winnipeg and Colorado before the matchup with New Jersey. Zack Smith scored in the first period and Corey Crawford made 16 saves on 20 shots before he was pulled in the second.
Brothers Jesper and Adam Boqvist faced off for the first time in the NHL, and each of them left in the first period with unspecified injuries. But not before Jesper was sent off for high-sticking Adam just 37 seconds into the game – handing the Hawks the first of its seven unsuccessful power plays.
Subban put New Jersey ahead to stay when he drove a slap shot from the top of the slot past a screened Crawford 51 seconds into the second.
The Devils were just getting started.
Severson drove to the net and stuffed the puck between Crawford’s legs at 7:22. Hayden chased Crawford at 10:40, and Zajac made it 5-1 when he flipped a rebound past Robin Lehner with 2:38 left in the period.
The crowd of 21,559 booed as the Hawks left the ice after their miserable performance in the second. New Jersey outshot the Hawks, 23-8, in the period.
It was the first goal of the season for Hayden, who was drafted by the Hawks in the third round in 2013 and played parts of three seasons with the Hawks. He was traded to New Jersey in June for John Quenneville, who played his first game with the Hawks against his former team.
Notes: Hawks forward Andrew Shaw (concussion) missed his 12th straight game, and there remains no timetable for his return. “He’s still having symptoms and no real progression yet,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. ... There was no update on Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, who is being evaluated for an undisclosed health issue. “Trying to figure out where we go from here, but I’m sure we’ll get something out soon,” Colliton said.