The Devils, who find themselves in the most difficult division in the league, will face tough competition throughout the season.
On Wednesday, the schedule for every NHL team for the 2021 season was released. With the realignment of the divisions, the New Jersey Devils have been placed in the incredibly competitive East Division.
With just 68 points in 69 games, the Devils finished last in the Metropolitan Division in the 2019-20 season and were one of four Eastern Conference teams to not resume play in the bubble.
The Devils are a team with young talent and now have a new head coach, Lindy Ruff. Considering these factors and where the team is in terms of its development, New Jersey likely won’t make the playoffs for the third straight year.
The organization will focus on the continued development of and building chemistry between its young players.
Let’s take a look at some highlights of the Devils’ 2021 regular-season schedule.
The countdown is on. 😤
The NHL released the 20-21 schedule yesterday. Here are some things to know before the puck drops. Three Things, to be exact.https://t.co/FIrJHWO8AT
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 24, 2020
New Jersey will have their work cut out for them immediately by kicking things off at home against the Boston Bruins in a two-game series.
Their series against the Buffalo Sabres from Jan. 30-31 is one fans will be anxiously waiting to see. The Devils will take on their former superstar, Taylor Hall, in Buffalo.
The first very tough stretch in their schedule for the Devils will come at the end of March.
They play the Pittsburgh Penguins twice on March 19 and 21, and then begin a challenging road trip.
They play the Philadelphia Flyers on March 23, the Washington Capitals on back-to-back days, and then head to Boston for two games before coming home to face the Capitals again for two more games.
The end of the season also won’t be easy for the Devils.
They play their rival New York Rangers in four straight games from April 13 to 18, when fans will be able to see another battle between Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the first two picks of the 2019 NHL draft.
The Devils then host the Flyers, head to Pittsburgh for two games, and then host the New York Islanders and the Flyers to finish up the month of April.
They play five games in May, all of which will be challenging.
The Devils visit Philadelphia for the last time to finish up a two-game set, play Boston at home on May 3 and 4, and then visit the Islanders for their last two games of the season, which will come to an end on May 8.
Coach Ruff and the team’s youngsters clearly have many obstacles to overcome if they do hope to make a miraculous, albeit unlikely, run to the playoffs.
However, these challenges will prove to be quite important in taking the franchise to the next step.
The fact that this season might result in the Devils receiving yet another top pick in the draft would be huge for the future of the team, as well.
In any event, watching guys like 2020 first-rounder Alexander Holtz, Hughes, and young goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood develop as well as seeing how Ruff does in his first year on the job will make for a fun and interesting 2021 season for the Devils.
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