The New Jersey Devils are off to a rough start this season, but what is the organization’s longest stretch without winning a game to start a season?
Things went from bad to worse over the weekend for the New Jersey Devils.
Just when fans thought this rejuvenated team was meeting expectations, while up 4-0 on Winnipeg last Friday night, that was erased in less than two periods of hockey.
After blowing a 4-0 lead to the Winnipeg Jets and losing 5-4 in a shootout, New Jersey failed to bounce back when it lost 7-2 to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at the KeyBank Center
Yes, New Jersey has only played two games, but let’s look back and find out the team’s longest stretch without winning a game to start a season – because it sure doesn’t look good early on.
Most fans might think this stat line took place during the 1980s when the team originated (1982), but that’s not the case. Or, most might think it was the dismal start to 2010-11 when John MacLean took over as head coach … still, not the case.
The longest stretch that the Devils have gone without winning a game to start a season took place during the 2013-14 campaign after New Jersey didn’t win until its eighth game (0-4-3).
The win came on Oct. 19, 2013, in a 4-0 victory over the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center.
Here’s an idea of what the roster portrayed then: Several forwards included Andre Loktionov, Adam Henrique, Jaromir Jagr, Mattias Tedenby, Michael Ryder, Jacob Josefson and Ryan Carter.
Just when you cringe at most of those names, let’s look at a few defensemen: Peter Harrold, Mark Fayne, Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador.
Cory Schneider earned his first win as a New Jersey Devil, while most fans can recall that season marked the great Martin Brodeur’s last in a Devils sweater.
New Jersey opened the season with six of its first seven games on the road (Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg & Ottawa). The lone home game during that span was a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.
Then, head coach Peter DeBoer and his Devils finished with an overall record of 35-29-18, sixth in the Metropolitan Division and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second-straight year; which marked the first time Jersey missed the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1985-86 to 1986-1987.
Other seasons Devils struggled to start:
Yes, believe it or not, the year that the Devils won their first-ever Stanley Cup championship almost marked one of their longest stretches without winning a game to start a season.
It was a shortened season due to a lockout, which saw the Devils finish with a 22-18-8 record; however, New Jersey was winless through its first four games (three losses and one tie) before defeating the Buffalo Sabres on January 31, 1995 (2-1).
After back-to-back Stanley Cup final appearances (1999-00, 2000-01), the Devils struggled out of the gate in 2001-02 and finished the campaign as an average team in comparison to recent years. New Jersey lost four-straight games (0-3-1) to open the campaign while allowing a combined twelve goals in the first two contests.
The team broke its losing streak on Oct. 18, 2001, after taking down the San Jose Sharks by a score of 6-1 on home ice. The Devils finished third in the Atlantic Division (41-28-9-4) and were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six games by the Cinderella Story, Carolina Hurricanes (advanced to Cup final).
Fans may also recall, that (then) head coach Larry Robinson was fired after the first half of the season, when Kevin Constantine replaced the Hockey Hall of Famer. New Jersey then turned its season around under Constantine with a 20-8-2-1 record down the stretch.
The Devils look to earn their first victory during the Jack Hughes era on Wednesday night when New Jersey takes on the Philadelphia Flyers in the city of Brotherly Love (7:30 p.m. ET).