What a rush. The New Jersey Devils have turned their performances on the road into consistent two-point performances.
The date was Dec. 23, 2016, and the New Jersey Devils had just lost another game on the road, this time to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their road record sat at an awful 4-12-5 — a major reason that they fell so far out of the wild card race.
But then, a glimmer of hope.
Spearheaded by a 43 save performance by backup Keith Kinkaid, the Devils won on the road. The next game against the same Caps might not have gone their way, but since that win, the Devils have gone 8-0-1 in road games including the current six-game road win streak the team in on.
The Devils won’t see much of the road in the month of February, as they make up for a road-heavy first half. During this week long break the Devils are on, they have improved their road record to 12-12-6.
It has helped the Devils keep pace with another hot team, the Metropolitan Division rival Islanders. Even Cory Schneider has been on a roll.
While the Devils only have 20 regulation wins, which is tied for second fewest in the East, they now have more wins on the road. They can contribute part of the road success to a pair of former Albany Devils. Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha has breathed new life into the lineup.
Wood brings his speed and size into the lineup. Both of these things were in need by the Devils. He also has shown he has a pair of soft hands on him as well.
Zacha has recently experienced a rebirth. He was scratched on Dec. 29 and has understood the message. In the last nine games, Zacha has amassed four goals and three assists. While there is still some green in his game, he looks more and more like the fifth overall pick in the entry draft.
The Devils has been on this road tear with less than one hundred percent, with players such as Taylor Hall and captain Andy Greene missing time. The Devils still aren’t one hundred recent but are excepting to get John Moore and Jon Merrill back soon.
Moore will add a veteran presence to the lineup. Merrill, on the other hand, will only add to the headaches that Devils fans go through whenever he is on the ice.
Merrill is a player the Devils can afford to lose if they decide to trade off players at the deadline. They have already started that process, with the trade of Vernon Fiddler. The Devils are also still missing defensemen Kyle Quincey and forward Beau Bennett. They have been their best when at 100 percent.
One of the two Devils road games in February is in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders. Devils fans will undoubtedly make the short trip, so they will have more support as opposed to other road games.
The road success must translate to home ice, where until recently, the Devils were dominant. With teams like Montreal and the hated Rangers coming to town, the Devils certain don’t have an easy task in front of them.
Fans can do their part and be loud at every game. The Rock must be rocking.