Jack Hughes scored his second goal of the game less than a minute into overtime and the New Jersey Devils beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 after blowing a late two-goal lead on Friday night at Prudential Center in Newark.
Dominik Kubalik and Kirby Dach forced the overtime, scoring in the final 3:53 of regulation with the Blackhawks’ net empty.
Dougie Hamilton scored on his first shot as a Devil and Andreas Johnsson gave his team a 3-1 lead early in the third period. Jonathan Bernier made 24 saves for the Devils, who are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
Alex DeBrincat also scored for Chicago, who are off to an 0-2 start after revamping their roster. Kevin Lankinen made 25 saves after being beaten 17 seconds by Hamilton after the opening faceoff.
Hughes got his game winner on an odd-man rush. He faked a shot in close to get Lankinen out of position and slid the puck into an open net.
Dach narrowed the margin to 3-2 with Chicago on a power play after rookie Dawson Mercer was called for a four-minute high-sticking penalty at 12:49.
Dach got his goal on a rebound in close while Kubalik got his second in two games with 25.5 seconds left in regulation.
Hamilton, who signed a $63 million contract as a free agent, provided instant dividends for New Jersey. He took a pass from Pavel Zacha between the circles and ripped a shot past Lankinen.
The goal was the fastest to start a season for the Devils. The old mark was 26 seconds by Zach Parise in 2006-07.
DeBrincat tied it 51 seconds into the second period on a power play. Standing low in the left circle, he one-timed a perfect cross-ice pass by Patrick Kane past Bernier, who signed with New Jersey as a free agent.
Hughes put New Jersey ahead with 2:02 left in the period. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft collected a loose puck in the left circle, spun and beat Lankinen.
Johnsson, who missed the net on a first-period breakaway, poked a loose in the crease into the net after rookie Dawson Mercer hit the goalpost.