New Jersey Devils' Jack Hughes comes close to scoring his first NHL goal, inexplicably misses

Sporting News

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes' first NHL goal is proving hard to come by.

The 18-year-old rookie failed to score his first career point in his first five regular-season games even though he mustered 10 shots on net.

In Monday's game against the Florida Panthers, Hughes very nearly scored that elusive goal when the puck came his way in front of a wide-open net.

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But he missed — and we're not sure how.

Hughes batted the bouncing puck off the net's near-side post. It rattled right along the goal line behind Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and hit the net's other post, too, before it slid to the corner. The Devils' prized youngster — who had little trouble scoring in preseason games last month — slammed his stick in frustration as play continued on.

Last summer's No. 1 overall pick was cited as a contender for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie of the year before the season, along with New York Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko. So far, the pair has generated just one goal between them, with Kakko the only one finding the back of the net.

Four players are tied for the lead in rookie scoring with five points each: Colorado defenseman Cale Makar, Toronto forward Ilya Mikheyev, Pittsburgh forward Sam Lafferty and Buffalo forward Victor Olofsson.

The Devils ultimately lost Monday's game to the Panthers, 6-4, after blowing a three-goal lead.

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