Following a five-game winning streak by the New Jersey Devils, Adam Henrique went through an eight-game stretch where he provided a slumping Devils offense with just one point, one assist, to close out February. Coming off an impressive postseason with two series-clinching overtime goals, expectations were high for the Devils’ Calder Trophy finalist. So far, Henrique has shown some signs of a sophomore slump in the second year of his budding NHL career, and his lack of production helped fuel New Jersey’s nearly-historic losing streak that lasted six games.
Adam Henrique also catalyzed the end of the New Jersey Devils’ slump he helped create. He tallied goals in two of the final three losses of the skid, helping turn around the offense and put the Devils in position to win. His late, short-handed goal against the Buffalo Sabres earlier this week helped New Jersey scratch out a point, while his second shorty of the week gave the Devils hope in what ended up as a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. More importantly, Henrique’s goal against Tampa seemed to awaken the third period efforts of the team.
When Henrique scored his third goal in four games against the Sabres in the third period of a 2-0 game, he cut the deficit in half and set the stage for Patrik Elias to tie and ultimately win the game in a shootout. He played one of the most complete games of the season in New Jersey’s first win since February 21st. With five shots, a power play goal, more than 20 minutes on the ice without allowing a goal, and countless high-energy plays, he showed the value of his two-way play.
After missing the start of the year with an injury suffered while playing in Albany during the lockout, Henrique has 10 points through 19 games. The numbers are far from terrible, but expectations were high – perhaps too high – for him this season.
Henrique is a two-way center, who provides intangibles to a mediocre Devils offense. He scores clutch goals, he plays defense, and he wears down opponents. Perhaps he was going through something of a sophomore slump in his second NHL season, but after scoring in three of his last four games, he is breaking through and emerging as one of the best players on the Devils’ roster.
The season is young, but look for Henrique to continue this rate of production going forward. He, like the rest of the New Jersey Devils, are snapping out of their funk.