The New Jersey Devils won the battle of the Hughes brothers Tuesday night.
Jesper Bratt scored his second goal of the night with 34 seconds left in the third period as the Devils defeated the host Vancouver Canucks 6-5 in a nail-biting NHL game.
Jack Hughes had a goal and two assists, while his younger brother Luke scored on a power play for the Devils.
Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes had two third-period assists as the Canucks rallied from three goals down to tie the game.
The game was billed as the “Hughes Bowl” as Canuck defenceman Quinn Hughes faced his brothers centre Jack and defenceman Luke of the Devils.
Erik Haula and Michael McLeod also scored for the Devils (12-10-1).
J.T. Miller had a power-play goal and an assist for the Canucks (16-9-1). Brock Boeser, Nils Hoglander, Sam Lafferty and Dakota Joshua also scored for Vancouver. Quinn Hughes had two huge assists for the Canucks who are 1-7-2 in their 11 games against the Devils.
Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko stopped 26 shots.
New Jersey’s Vitek Vanecek had 28 saves.
🗣 THAT'S WHAT WE WANT TO SEEEEE! 🗣 pic.twitter.com/7eFElgUaYL— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 6, 2023
Heading into the third period trailing by three goals, the Canucks refused to quit with Quinn Hughes playing a big part in the comeback.
Boeser struck first, taking a Miller pass from along the boards and scoring his NHL leading 18th of the year at 7:02. Lafferty made it 5-4, defecting a Quinn Hughes point shot past Vanecek at 13:58. Hoglander tied the game 5-5, taking the rebound of a Quinn Hughes shot and firing it into an open net at 16:35.
Bratt won the game when he put in the rebound of a shot through traffic.
Luke and Jack Hughes combined for the only goal of the second period, which gave the Devils a 5-2 lead.
With New Jersey on the power play, Jack sent his brother a pass at the top of the faceoff circle that Luke shot past Demko with just 34 seconds remaining in the period. It was his fourth goal of the season.
Just a few minutes earlier Miller had a great chance on a Canuck power play, putting a shot just wide of an open corner. Demko also made a big play, stopping defenceman John Marino on a breakaway.
The Devils led 4-2 after a wild first period that saw the teams combine for three goals in just over six minutes. They then exchanged goals 58 seconds apart as time ticked away.
New Jersey opened the scoring at 3:40 when Bratt carried the puck out of his own zone, gave a little head fake when he crossed into the Canuck zone, then beat Demko through the legs.
The Canucks got that one back on a power play at 8:24. Vanecek was able to stop a Boeser shot but Miller, alone in front of the net, put in the rebound for his 14th of the season.
The Devils went ahead 2-1 at 9:51 after Canuck defenceman Tyler Myers lost the puck to Jack Hughes behind the net. Hughes passed to Haula, returning to action after missing three games with a lower-body injury, who beat Demko for his seventh of the year.
New Jersey made it 3-1 when defenceman Kevin Bahl spotted Jack Hughes behind the Canuck defence. Bahl sent a pass that Hughes took off the blade of his skate then tucked behind Demko on a backhand for his 10th of the year at 17:06.
McLeod gave New Jersey a three-goal lead just 1:36 later when he fought off a check by Quinn Hughes and scored his fifth of the year.
The Canucks battled back when Joshau picked up the rebound of a Conor Garland shot and jammed it past Vanecek with just 20 seconds left in the period.
It was the ninth time in NHL history three brothers played in the same game. The last time was April 13 when Eric and Marc Staal of the Florida Panthers faced Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes. … Defenceman Nikita Zadorov, obtained from the Calgary Flames in a trade Thursday, made himself known in his game with the Canucks by laying a bone-rattling hit on the Devils Curtis Lazar in the first period. … Defencemen Quinn Hughes and Flip Hronek are the fastest Canucks to each record 25 points in a season, reaching the mark in 25 games. Jiri Bubla and Rick Lanz each had 25 points in 33 games in 1983-84. … The game marked the return of Travis Green who was fired Dec. 5, 2021, after four years as Vancouver’s head coach. He is now an associate coach with the Devils. … As part of First Nations celebration night, 20 youth from the Simpcw First Nation in Barriere, B.C., attended the game.
The Canucks host Minnesota on Thursday and Carolina on Saturday.
The Devils continue their four-game western road trip with games in Seattle Thursday, Calgary Saturday and Edmonton Sunday.
Jim Morris, The Canadian Press