Dawson Mercer scored his first NHL goal 5:02 into the first period Tuesday night for the New Jersey Devils, who overcame an early injury to star Jack Hughes and never trailed in a 4-2 win over the expansion Seattle Kraken in Newark, N.J.
Damon Severson, Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Zacha also scored for the Devils, who have won each of their first two games. Goalie Jonathan Bernier made 27 saves.
Riley Sheahan and Jared McCann scored and goalie Joey Daccord recorded 29 saves for the Kraken, who went 1-3-1 on their inaugural road trip. Seattle is slated to play its home opener Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.
The first game between the teams was a feisty one that featured 76 penalty minutes, including 58 in the second period. Seattle’s Jeremy Lauzon and New Jersey’s Mason Geertsen each earned 15 minutes worth of penalties after tussling 1:55 into the middle period.
Hughes exited after absorbing a hard check into the boards by Lauzon with 1:06 left in the first.
Mercer scored to cap an end-to-end sequence before Severson scored 100 seconds later for a 2-0 lead. Severson he put back the rebound of a Hughes shot from the blue line.
The Devils came within a split-second of extending the lead to 3-0 at the first-period buzzer, but replays showed that Nico Hischier’s put-back of Jesper Bratt’s shot crossed the goal line just after the final second expired.
The Kraken cut the lead in half just after the midway point of the second, when Sheahan swooped in past a sliding P.K. Subban and put back the rebound of a shot by Adam Larsson under Bernier’s stick with 9:55 left.
Vesey gave the Devils a two-goal lead again with 5:12 remaining in the second. He moved to the edge of the crease, took a pass from Andreas Johnsson and poked the puck past Daccord.
McCann scored a five-on-three goal to pull the Kraken within one with 5:19 left. Daccord was pulled with under two minutes left but Seattle didn’t mount a serious threat before Zacha added an empty-netter with 20 seconds remaining.