Jekyll and Hyde is an awesome play to watch unfold. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for a pro NHL team like the New Jersey Devils.
On Valentines Day, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-2, continuing their strong post All-Star weekend break. Last night was an opportunity to keep pace with teams in the Wild Card hunt. The Devils were shut out 3-0, are five points out of the last wild card spot and losing time.
In the game against the Avalanche, the Devils threw 40 shots on net. That’s a massive feat for a team that struggles to get more than 25 shots per game. They looked hungry, scored early and looked like they wanted to win. And they did just that, win.
If the game against the Avalanche was a step in the right direction, the game against the Senators was a step backwards. The Devils barely managed 21 shots on goal, looked sloppy and paid the price for it. Fault can’t be given to Cory Schneider, as he made 32 saves and got zero goal support.
And it’s not the first time that’s happened this season. The Devils have left their goalies high and dry three other times. Twice it has been Schneider in net. Therefore, the Devils still remain one of the worst teams in the NHL offensively.
One night the team is an offensive machine where nothing can go wrong. Shot totals are high, goals are a plenty and Schneider is strong. The next night, the team can be helpless and allergic to scoring, leaving their goalies without any support.
The next two games see the Devils face their Metropolitan rival, the red hot New York Islanders, who since firing head coach Jack Capuano, have found themselves back in the Wild Card race. They even most recently beat their rival New York Rangers, which the Devils have failed to do and will face them at the end of next week.
The Devils identity crisis is costing them when the need to win games the most. Maybe if they stopped making ill-advised moves like taking Joseph Blandisi out of the line up and letting Beau Bennett play, they might get something done.
Or here is a crazy thought: get rid of Jon Merrill.
With forward Sergey Kalinin hitting waivers – although any team would be crazy to take him – it could signal that change is coming to Newark. Bringing in younger players from Albany could bring a new identity to the Devils. Fans hope that it will be an offensive identity that head coach John Hynes already brings to the table. That’s the offensive identity that Taylor Hall was suppose to usher in when he was traded for.
Fans are hoping that they figure it out soon. While they are still in the hunt for the final Wild Card spot in the east, time is running out for Jersey’s team. There are five squads ahead of them, and of the 25 games, seven of them are against teams that are in the same boat as the Devils.