We are just under halfway through the month of March and the New Jersey Devils have surged to a 4-2-0 record on the month. There has been a recent outburst of scoring that has seemingly come out of nowhere but the goals that the team is giving up has been poor lately as well.
Here are the top performers in March to this point:
Honorable Mentions –
When you consider only his time with the Devils since he was acquired on Deadline Day, he has certainly contributed to the team. Ruutu has 4 points in three games. After starting his tenure with the Devils with a rough -1 day against the Detroit Red Wings, he turned around the next night with the game-winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in a game that nearly escaped the Devils. He also added an assist on the night.
On Tuesday, Ruutu added 2 more assists to his tally this season and posted back-to-back +2 efforts between the two games. His +3 in 3 games is tied for 3rd best on the team. His 3 assists is also tied for third on the team.
There has been such an outburst of goals, that there are players that are piling on the points. Brodeur may not have a staggering save percentage and goals-against average in March, but it is certainly better than before. Not to mention that he has won all 4 games the team has won in March.
Now, that’s not to say he is the sole reason because there are so many layers to goalie stats that can be skewed. Brodeur has a 2.25 GAA and .915 SV% in March but two games stand out the most. On the first day of March, Brodeur didn’t face too much trouble against the New York Islanders but still posted a .947 SV% and only allowed 1 goal.
The true standout performance was on Tuesday night in a crucial game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Brodeur let up one shaky goal but put up a very good effort against the Flyers. That is backed up by his 30 saves and .968 save percentage in his 50th win against Philadelphia in his career.
The Devils need him to keep this up if they want to throw out a dual-threat goalie tandem that was expected of them to start the season.
There are a lot of guys like Marek Zidlicky, Ryane Clowe, and Jaromir Jagr that have recorded a fair amount of points in March. In fact, Jagr and Zidlicky are tied for 2nd most on the team in points for March with 7. The thing is, they have been pretty consistent with production as a whole. There are a few things that separate these two with the 3 stars.
Travis has only 12 goals on the season but has gotten a quarter of them in March alone. He has added 6 more points to his season total and is looking very good coming out of the Olympic Break. What’s even bigger about his recent surge is that he is turning it on as the games go on.
He has 3 goals in his last 4 games and the one dry game was the 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. If you include his 2 assists in the 5-4 win to the Carolina Hurricanes, he now has 5 points in the last 4 games. His +/- has been on the negative side recently and does have a -2 for March but put in a good effort against the Philadelphia Flyers where he posted a +2. He also only had a -1 in the drubbing that Detroit gave them.
Travis is going to be with this team for a long time to come and he has been slightly disappointing this season but he is starting to turn it around and he has been meshing well with Jagr and Ruutu since the trade.
2nd Star – Patrik Elias
Patrik Elias has 2 goals and 4 assists in March but has been killing it on special teams. 3 of his 4 assists have come on the power play and he also has a shorthanded goal and assist to add on to it. That’s 5 of 6 on some sort of special teams unit.
This is obviously a big contribution for the man that will be the last to wear 26 on the red and black. Success on the PP or PK is a central focus on all teams and for the Devils, they need to find that success to make a substantial postseason run. Elias also brings that crucial veteran presence to the team and is surprisingly in the minority of the roster that has had long stints with the NHL club.
Only Zajac and Dainius Zubrus have had long stints with the team on the forwards. The CBGB line is somewhat of a new product and really have only been around for a handful of seasons.
Elias needs to continue his strong production on the special teams to help his team into the playoffs.
1st Star – Adam Henrique
Was there ever any doubt?
Adam has just been red hot since the break ended. Henrique has scored in 5 of the 6 games in March, coming up empty against Philadelphia. He had a PP goal and PP assist against the New York Islanders, a goal and assist against the San Jose Sharks, 3 goals in 2 games against the Detroit Red Wings, and 2 goals against the Carolina Hurricanes. One of those goals also came shorthanded.
Henrique had a horrible slump last year after having a huge breakout season in their Stanley Cup Final run in 2011-12. Henrique, like Zajac, signed a huge deal that will keep him on this team for the foreseeable future.
Adam has a dazzling 46.7% shooting percentage. He has 7 goals on 15 shots. Literally everything he touches is production lately. If Henrique continues the blitzkrieg of points, it will be hard to deny the Devils out of the playoffs.
Do you agree with the list? Leave your comments below! Who are your top performers so far in March?
Stats courtesy of ESPN.