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Hughes moves to the top line as the Devils take on Kakko and the Rangers

october 17, 2019
Tonight, we witness the first matchups between Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko as the New Jersey Devils (0-4-2) play host to the New York Rangers (2-1-0).

It has been a tough start to the season for two of the pre-season Calder Trophy favourites, Kaapo Kakko and Jack Hughes. Most people expected these two dynamic forwards to come in and blow the doors off of the opposition and scoring in bunches for their respective teams, but that hasn't been the case as both Kakko and Hughes have struggled in the early days of their young NHL careers. Kakko has scored once, his only point through the Rangers' first three games, while Hughes has been held pointless through six for the Devils.

It is worth noting that the sample size is very small for Hughes and Kakko. These two very skilled young players are still getting their feet wet in the NHL. Six and three games, respectively, just won't give you an accurate portrayal of how much of an impact these two first-year players will make for their clubs.

Prediction: that we are going to see a big night from Jack Hughes tonight. With Nico Hischier listed as day-to-day, Hughes is slotted into the #1C spot for tonight's game, flanked by Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. Let's be clear here. A 1st overall pick does not want to be swimming in the shallow end without a point after six games and risk being thought of or labelled as "undercooked". He is going to come out flying and with Hall and Palmieri on either side of him, Hughes could be primed for a huge night at home.

Conversely, Kakko no doubt wants to distance himself from his counterpart and expand his scoring lead over the 1st overall pick in an attempt to prove that he should have been the top pick in 2019. The Rangers are coming into this game having played the fewest games in the NHL and they're taking on a division rival who has not won a game yet. To assume that the Rangers are viewing this as a must-win against a struggling division rival is, absolutely, a fair assessment.

Who will score more points tonight?
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