Dawson Mercer is amid an historic scoring run for the New Jersey Devils, who remain in the hunt for a Metropolitan Division title.
Looking to set the Devils' franchise record with at least one goal in nine straight games, Mercer also tries to help the visiting Devils push their point streak to five games on Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe, Ariz.
With a goal in Friday's 4-3 shootout loss at Vegas, Mercer tied Paul Gardner's 1977 franchise-record eight-game goal streak. During Mercer's impressive run of production, the second-year winger has totaled 10 goals with five assists.
"I just want to keep building and scoring goals, offensively, and being responsible," said Mercer, who has already set career highs with 21 goals and 44 points in 61 games in 2022-23.
"I love to score, and it's fun."
Mercer's production, especially of late, has built on a strong 42-point rookie season, and helped New Jersey challenge Carolina for the top spot in the Metro. The Devils' three-game winning streak ended Friday, but they are 18-4-4 since last losing consecutive games on Dec. 23 and 28.
Mercer did not register a point during New Jersey's 4-2 home victory over Arizona on Nov. 12. However, teammate Tomas Tatar had a goal with an assist, while Jack Hughes recorded one of his team-leading and career-high 36 goals.
The Coyotes' Lawson Crouse was also held without a point in that matchup. But he is just two points shy of matching his personal best of 34 from last season. Crouse matched a career high with 20 goals, while also snapping a seven-game point drought, during Friday's 6-1 home loss to the Hurricanes.
In his seventh season, Crouse continues to come into his own as an offensive option. He's also been a bright spot for the Coyotes, who have been outscored 23-12 while losing four of the last five. They are on pace to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
"(Crouse is) an unbelievable pro," Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. "He works hard, he shows up every night. He's physical, he does a lot of good things.
"I'm so happy for him, that he's having success. He's a huge player for us in the present and the future."
Goaltender Karel Vejmelka also appears to have a future in Arizona, but he's allowed 18 goals and posted an .863 save percentage during his last four starts. He stopped 22 shots against the Devils earlier this season. Meanwhile, teammate Connor Ingram has yielded 10 goals while losing his last two starts.
New Jersey's Akira Schmid, who stopped 24 of 27 shots against Vegas, made 16 saves in that win over Arizona. Devils starter Vitek Vanecek has recorded a team-high 26 wins and owns a 2.46 goals-against average this season, but he yielded 12 goals in his last three starts.
Teammate Miles Wood has three goals with three assists in the last six games after recording one point in his previous 17 contests.
--Field Level Media