New Jersey Devils continue poor play with loss to Detroit.


The New Jersey Devils once again played a poor game and were handed defeat 4-2 by the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight’s game seemed to follow a very familiar script from the Devils’ point of view: they played well early, collapsed at the end of the first, made sure Cory Schneider had to be perfect, faltered on the penalty kill, then finally showed energy when it was too late and lost the game. It’s like watching the same game being played out night after night. Nothing ever changes, and that has to fall on the shoulders of the head coach.

They Played Well Early

Everyone knew the Devils had a depleted lineup entering the game with many top players out due to injury. This is why it was so surprsing when the Devils took an early lead. Stephen Gionta sent a pass to the point where Bryce Salvador let a shot go that got knocked down in front to the waiting stick of Steve Bernier who put it home. Gionta to Salvador to Bernier, just like everyone expected. Having a lead for the first time in three games felt really good.

Collapsed at the End of the First

For the second straight game, the Devils lost their concentration at the end of the first period and allowed the opponent to grab the lead. Detroit was able to score two goals in the span of 33 seconds to take a lead they would not relinquish. Jakub Kindl scored on a power play (I’ll get to that in a second) and Brendan Smith was given all the time in the world to score from the slot. The Devils ended up being outshot 14-3 in the first period, so in actuality they were lucky to escape the period down a goal. However, after being up for the majority of the period and then giving up two quick goals, all that was left was the feeling of ‘here we go again.’

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

Made Sure Cory Schneider had to be Perfect

It seems like whenever the Devils decide not to show up to play hockey, the only person that is on top of his game is Cory Schneider. Ignore the stats because they are deceiving; Schneider was great tonight. Schneider made save after save attempting to keep the Devils in the game, but they just kept hanging him out to dry. Shorthanded breakaways, loose zone coverage, poor clearances, bad passes, etc. The Devils made sure Schneider had to bail them out over and over again. Finally the dam burst when a shot by Niklas Kronwall hit off the back boards and deflected in off Schneider for the second time this season. Keith Kinkaid came in for relief in the third period for the second straight night and in no way was that an indictment on Schneider’s game. The team in front of him simply did not live up to their end of the bargain.

Faltered on the Penalty Kill

This is old news but the Devils’ penalty kill is awful. They take too many undisciplined penalties and then concede goals at will when down a man. It’s a miracle when a Devil exits the box and the score isn’t inflated. Tonight the Devils’ PK was a miserable 2 for 4, allowing one goal in the first and one in the second. These penalties always seem to come at the worst times as well. Right as the Devils are getting momentum or are trying to finish off a period, a bad penalty is taken and the opponent is able to capitalize. Eric Gelinas and Adam Larsson did get some PK time together at the end of the game which was nice to see.

Finally Showed Energy when it was too Late and Lost the Game

The Devils played an okay third period, mostly because the Red Wings were sitting back on their 4-1 lead. Jordin Tootoo, the former Wing, was able to score a goal early in the third to cut it to 4-2, but that was as close as the Devils would get. The rest of the period was pretty laid back until the final four or so minutes. Just like last night in St. Louis, the Devils seemed uninterested until the final moments of the game and then they turned it on. The players had jump in their legs and they were actually moving the puck with purpose. It’s unacceptable for the Devils to play with no energy for the majority of the game and then decide to show a spark when it’s too late.

Something needs to change for the Devils. Whether it’s a big trade or a coaching move, Lou Lamoriello needs to do something. The Devils have two days off before they return to action on Monday in Boston. Keep it here with Pucks and Pitchforks for Brick City Breakdowns following every game and all your Devils coverage.