|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30 BRT, December 23, 2019
United Center, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 21,559
Zajac helps New Jersey Devils pound Chicago Blackhawks 7-1
By JAY COHEN
CHICAGO (AP) P.K. Subban and the New Jersey Devils want to see more of what happened Monday night.
Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks have seen it too much already.
Travis Zajac capped New Jersey's dominant second period with a short-handed goal, and the Devils headed into their holiday break with a 7-1 victory over the Blackhawks.
"Everybody was playing winning hockey, and that's important. Those are the habits that we want to continue to develop," Subban said, "and it's a winning culture. So we've got to continue to do that in the second half."
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 in this matchup of last-place teams.
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.
"A big night for us," Severson said. "That was great."
It was the highest-scoring game of the season for the Devils, and the worst loss of the year for the Blackhawks.
"Embarrassment. That's what we're all feeling and what we should be feeling at this moment," Toews said. "Pretty tough all around. Not much to say."
Chicago had won three of four, including consecutive victories at Winnipeg and Colorado. Zack Smith scored in the first period and Corey Crawford made 16 saves on 20 shots before he was pulled in the second.
"We missed a chance to gather some momentum and build on a couple really good efforts on the road," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "It's a missed opportunity."
Brothers Jesper and Adam Boqvist faced off for the first time in the NHL, and each of them left in the first period. But not before Jesper was sent off for high-sticking Adam just 37 seconds into the game - handing Chicago the first of its seven unsuccessful power plays.
Adam Boqvist injured his right shoulder, but Colliton called it a minor issue. Jesper Boqvist was held out as a precaution after taking an elbow to the face.
"We'll find out a little bit more in the next couple days," interim Devils coach Alain Nasreddine said.
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.
"It seemed that we had no energy," Crawford said. "Nothing was going right. Just one of those games."
The crowd of 21,559 booed as the Blackhawks left the ice after their miserable performance in the second. New Jersey outshot Chicago 23-8 in the period.
It was the first goal of the season for Hayden, who was drafted by Chicago in the third round in 2013 and played parts of three seasons with the Blackhawks. He was traded to New Jersey in June for John Quenneville, who played his first game with Chicago against his former team.
"The start to my career here really got me trending in the right direction," Hayden said. "But come game time, it's back to business, and I thought we did a good job of putting a full 60 minutes together."
NOTES: Blackhawks 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," Colliton said. ... There was no update on Blackhawks D 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.
Devils: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Blackhawks: Host the New York Islanders on Friday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated December 24, 2019