Devils, Blackhawks put on a show, and Miles Wood was the big star

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Every now and then, little-known New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood has a big night or two.

Even taking that into account, you can understand it if Chicago Blackhawks fans were exchanging the following comments on Sunday night:

“Who is this guy?”

And …

“What’s happening?”

It’s no longer much of a secret that, for all their flaws, the 2017-18 Devils look like a team that can score in bunches. Still, nights like these are still a bit surprising, especially when it’s relatively anonymous players like Wood leading the way in a 7-5 win for New Jersey.

This specific sequence likely prompted a few “What’s happening?”-type questions, while Wood’s big night can be seen in the video above this post’s headline, as he managed a hat trick plus an assist.

The 22-year-old nearly doubled his season total for points, as he came into the game with five in 15 games.

Considering his splendid start, there have been quite a few nights where Corey Crawford managed to mask the Blackhawks’ defensive issues. He couldn’t do it tonight.

Chicago now sits at 8-8-2, while the Devils are the highest-scoring team in the Metropolitan Division (61 goals) while clearly holding the top spot (24 standings points on a 11-4-2 record). They’ve done so in 17 games, which either leaves them with a game or two in hand or equals other division rivals except the Carolina Hurricanes, who for whatever reason have only played 15 times so far in 2017-18.

Wood and the Devils might have inspired some exasperation on the part of the Blackhawks on Sunday, but the deeper we go into this season, the less often we’re likely to wonder: “Are these Devils for real?”

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.