New Jersey Devils lose in Boston; drop fourth straight


The New Jersey Devils continued their horrendous stretch of hockey by losing 4-2 to the Boston Bruins. It was another game where the Devils should have won if they played their best, but they failed to even come close to that. With the loss, the Devils dropped to a record of 6-7-2 which is especially bad after starting the season 3-0-0. What’s more concerning than the record is the lack of effort the Devils display on a nightly basis. In 15 games this season, the Devils have failed to put a complete game together. Not once have they been able to play 60 strong minutes of hockey. Mistakes happen, injuries happen, but there is no excuses for an inability to show up for an hour 82 times a season.

I’m honestly tired of writing about all the negativity surrounding this team, so I’m going to start this Brick City Breakdown with the one good part of tonight’s contest. The top line of Mike Cammalleri, Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr were fantastic. They were the only forwards to show up for the Devils tonight and the only line that actually contributed in any way. Cammalleri was playing in his first game since October 25th, and his absence was a huge problem not only for the Devils but for Zajac and Jagr as well. Cammy completes that line and makes it a real threat. Travis Zajac gets a lot of complaints, but when he has quality wingers at his side he produces.

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Zajac was able to get the Devils on the board with a shot that beat Tuukka Rask short side at 1:26 of the first. Cammalleri and Andy Greene got the helpers on Zajac’s second of the season. Playing with Ryane Clowe and Dainius Zubrus while Cammalleri was injured really hurt Zajac and Jagr, but Cammalleri’s return made an immediate impact. Then later in the game with the Devils down 2-1, the trio would combine for the tying goal. Cammalleri poked the puck to Zajac who took it around the boards and found Jagr at the right circle who let one of his six shots go and beat Rask. The Devils hadn’t played well, but thanks to this line they were in the game.

Okay, enough with the positive because tonight was anything but that. As I mentioned, only three forwards decided to show up which is why the Devils could only score two goals against a shorthanded Boston team. As far as the defense goes, the question is: what defense? All four Boston goals could have been easily prevented if the Devils decided to play any defense. Cory Schneider was hung out to dry, as he’s been all season, and it’s unfair to place the blame on him. The first goal was off a deflection on the power play – surprise, surprise another penalty kill failure – and the second goal was directly off of an Eric Gelinas defensive zone turnover. Even with those miscues, the game was tied late in the second.

Then the Devils decided to go full garbage fire and let the game get out of hand. Marek Zidlicky and Bryce Salvador should never, ever play on the same defensive pairing again. It’s easy to say that they should never play defense in the NHL again. The two goals that Boston would score in the second period were solely because of their failure to be NHL defensemen. Salvador had a shot blocked and Seth Griffith came out of the zone with both Salvador and Zidlicky flanking him. The pair of “defensemen” met Griffith at the blue line and danced the Samba with him all the way to the crease. Griffith then shot the puck between his legs and through Schneider. It was ridiculous. Then a minute later, Salvador failed to collect the puck and allowed Patrice Bergeron to find Reilly Smith all alone in the slot for the 4-2 lead.

The Devils continue to do the same things night after night after night. They play hard when they please, they can’t make simple passes, they’re sloppy in their own end and Peter DeBoer continues to put out the same combinations that clearly aren’t working. I’m not saying this stretch of failure is on DeBoer, but I’m not saying it isn’t. The Devils need to make some changes and fast, before this season is lost.