This past weekend saw the return of both Ryane Clowe and captain Bryce Salvador, each of whom had not seen the ice since mid-October. Cory Schneider secured his fifth win of the season, and the Devils earned points number 39 and 40 to put them at NHL .500.
Clowe and Salvador Activated
Friday’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets marked Ryane Clowe’s first game since suffering his concussion on October 13th in Winnipeg. He had scored just 1 assist in 6 games before his concussion, and he has not found the scoresheet in the two games he has played since his return. However, his several recent concussions have not deterred him from dropping the gloves – he went toe-to-toe with New York Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner just 4 periods into his return to the lineup. Clowe also logged 1 shot on goal against Evgeni Nabokov on Saturday night.
Bryce Salvador was also activated off IR, in time to resume his captaincy against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. He too had been lacking in production prior to his injury, providing 2 assists and 9 penalty minutes in 9 games. Although he was quiet in his first game back, he posted 5 hits and 2 blocked shots.
Clowe and Salvador both offered lackluster performances before their injuries, but they return to an improved Devils lineup. Once they have adjusted to coach Peter DeBoer‘s current system, they will have the opportunity to add more depth to a slowly solidifying Devils lineup.
Martin Brodeur got the nod when the Devils hosted the Blue Jackets on Friday. Despite a solid 29-save performance and a .967 save percentage, the Devils failed to score in the shootout. Brodeur stopped Columbus’ first two shooters, but an anchoring Cam Atkinson beat him to earn the win for the visiting team. Cory Schneider started in net when his team took on the struggling New York Islanders on Saturday; he held on for win number 5 on the season, despite a characteristic lack of offense from the Devils with Schneider in net. Schneider is now 5-8-5 with a respectable .914 save percentage.
Devils Trends and Stats
The Devils received at least 2 of a possible 4 points for the fifth consecutive weekend after picking up 3 from the Blue Jackets and Islanders. Interestingly, the team is 5-0 in the second half of back-to-backs during that stretch, and only 1-2-2 in the first half. For some reason, the Devils seem to play better after having played the night before, but substantially worse going into a two-game series after a night of rest. In 14 games throughout December, the Devils are 5-5-3, with a chance to get a sixth win during a New Year’s Eve matinee home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 1:00 pm EST on Tuesday.