While the New Jersey Devils are struggling as a whole, there is one player who has struggled the most: Cory Schneider.
There’s no denying that the New Jersey Devils aren’t what they used to be. They’ve missed the playoffs for the past four seasons after making a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012.
This can usually be attributed due to a lack of offense. Cory Schneider, the heir to the Martin Brodeur’s crease, has always been a bright spot in the darkest of times.
However, in their most recent stretch, which has seen the Devils lose eight of their last nine, Schneider is just a much a culprit as the rest of the team.
It’s no surprise, looking at Schneider’s stats, that he is having an off-year.
In 26 games, he has a record of 10-11-5, with a 2.86 Goals Against Average, with a save percentage of .905. Compared to his 2.12 goals against average and .923 save percentage in his previous three years with the team, it’s almost like he’s a different goalie. During the aforementioned stretch of losing the Devils have encountered, Schneider has started seven of them, going 1-5-1 with a 3.5 goals against average and a .895 save percentage.
It seems any time that Schneider gives up three or more goals, the Devils are doomed for another loss.
And it’s not just Schneider’s fault.
The team just doesn’t seem to try once the pucks start piling up in the back of the Jersey net. The team just doesn’t seem to have any heart when it doesn’t go their way. So, it’s up to Schneider to keep the Devils in games.
When general manager Ray Shero “offered some advice” for how the team could try to turn things around, Schneider and the Devils stepped up. He stopped all 16 pucks the Flyers shot his way and notched his first shutout of the season. He looked back in form. Another strong performance would solidify his confidence.
Then, in Pittsburgh, it was more of what fans have seen in recent games. Granted, Jon Merrill scored an own goal and a screen blocked Schneider from seeing a goal, but the fact is that he gave up three and more goals. Again. For the fifth time in seven games. And this time it was before the third period.
While these might have come against offensive powerhouses such as the Rangers, Canadiens, and Blues, the Devils need Schneider to steal games for them — especially when the offense goes into a funk like it has been in.
One thing of note is that when Schneider allows a goal, another is soon to come.
Notable against the Rangers and the Predators, Schneider has given up two goals within the span of around two and four minutes each. One goal is manageable, but another so soon and the offensively challenged Devils are in trouble. Another problem Schneider encounters is giving up goals early in a period. Against the Blues, he allowed a goal just over two minutes into the second period that tied the game.
Before this season, Schneider’s numbers with the Devils has been Vezina worthy. He would keep the Devils close in one-goal games.
The Devils play usually always starts with good goaltending. It has since Martin Brodeur was given the starting job in 1994. While the faces in the front office, behind the bench, and on the ice have changed, it remains the same. Schneider is normally reliable, but in these recent games, he’s looked like a different goalie.
Perhaps he is trying to do too much. He played one season with Brodeur on the team, and he outperformed Marty in that year. He’s been brilliant ever since. Whatever the case may be, something has changed with Cory Schneider. For the Devils sake, he needs to find his game again, before the team digs themselves into a hole they can’t climb out of.