The New Jersey Devils need to ride the hot hand in net for their last 10 games. Right now, Keith Kinkaid is that guy.
Last week I wrote that the New Jersey Devils goaltending, particularly Keith Kinkaid, was really going to need to carry the torch for the Devils to get into the dance for the first time in five full seasons.
The Devils’ lead went from nine points and has dwindled all the way to just one over the ninth-place Florida Panthers. To make matters worse, Florida has two games in hand on New Jersey.
As for Friday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kinkaid will be the man between the pipes.
#NJDevils: Keith Kinkaid will get the start against the Penguins tomorrow night.
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) March 22, 2018
The Devils won three in a row to start their “hell week,” also known as the longest road trip of the season. If they can take at least a point against Pittsburgh, the road trip can be considered a success, but Florida has stayed hot the entire time.
After the hot start to the road trip, things started to go downhill when they lost to the Ducks, 4-2. Then the Devils went to San Jose. The Devils haven’t been dominated like they were in this game in a long time and it was quite concerning. They fell 6-2, and a large part of that fell on the shoulders of Cory Schneider.
Schneider allowed four goals on just 14 shots. This immediately put the Devils out of the game. And while Schneider has been the Devils’ number one goalie for a long time, it’s time for Kinkaid to get the starts. Schneider hasn’t won a game since Dec. 27 of the last calendar year, and that’s not going to cut it in a playoff race. The lowest number of goals he’s allowed in that time frame is three.
Schneider still has an important role to play, seeing as how the Devils have two more sets of back-to-back games. If he can help the Devils win those games, the Devils will have an opportunity to get into the playoffs.
As for Kinkaid, he needs to be the guy until further notice (aside from those back-to-back games). Since the turn of the calendar, Kinkaid’s record is 14-8-1 including a 38-save shutout against the Kings.
Kinkaid is clearly the right guy for the job to take the Devils to the playoffs. This month he is 4-2 with a 2.61 goals against average, and a .924 save percentage. Schneider, on the other hand, is 0-4 with a 3.82 goals against average, and an .862 goals against average.
Just based on pure stats, Kinkaid has to be the guy, and clearly, Hynes agrees because he gave the nod to the former backup goalie. The Devils have ten games to make the playoffs. Let’s see what they’ve got.