New Jersey Devils January Recap: Positives And Negatives


For the New Jersey Devils, the month of January was certainly an interesting one. The month started out poorly with a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens but finished on a high note with a 3-1 win against the Florida Panthers. January consisted of seven home games and four road games, three of which were in California against some of the best teams in the NHL. The Devils actually won two of those games which was a great accomplishment. The Devils also had an odd eight day gap between games which included the All-Star Break where Patrik Elias represented the team in Columbus. Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives of the month:


  • The best thing for the Devils to take out of the month is their record. They went 6-3-2 in the month, picking up 14 of the 22 possible points. After going 13-19-7 in October through December, this was a terrific turnaround for New Jersey. They moved up in the standings from seventh in the division to sixth, which still isn’t great, but positives!
  • While the Devils weren’t an offensive juggernaut by any means during the month, they still scored five goals in a game three times. After scoring five goals in a game just three times the entire season to that point, it was nice to see the offense finally show up at least for a few nights.

    Steve Bernier was the Devils’ best forward in January as he scored five goals and picked up a sweet no-look, between-the-legs assist.

    If you remember, Bernier started the season in Albany and seemed like a wasted re-signing. However, he got called back up in November and has played really well. No one expected him to create offense like this, but he had an outstanding month putting the puck in the net.

    Jan 28, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson (5) celebrates his goal with right wing Martin Havlat (9) and defenseman Eric Gelinas (22) during the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    On defense, the star of the month was by far Adam Larsson. Larsson has burst out since Peter DeBoer got fired and there is no sign of him slowing down. He played 20+ minutes in every single game during the month, averaging over 23 minutes a game. He was a +4 while scoring a goal and adding five assists. Larsson was a dynamo both defensively and offensively. The former fourth overall pick has finally become the star we all hoped he would be.

    Finally, we come to Cory Schneider. The Devils’ MVP for the first four months of the season was a monster in January. Every, single, game he played was an elite performance out of Schneider. He went 5-1-1 during the month while posting a .940 SV% and a 2.00 GAA. He made 40+ saves twice and let in more than two goals just once. He and Keith Kinkaid have been outstanding this season and January was certainly a month dependent on goaltending.


  • The reason the month of January was dependent on goaltending was because the Devils got outshot 343-207. That is not a typo. They were outshot by 136 shots in January and still managed to produce a winning record. Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending. I didn’t even think it was possible to get outshot by that large of a margin. Looking closer, the Devils had three games during the month where they allowed 40+ shots and weren’t able to get more than 15 themselves. How is that even possible?
  • More from Pucks and Pitchforks

    While the Devils had nice success on paper, on the ice was a different story. As you can see by the shot disparity, they did not play their best hockey in January. They beat up on some weaker teams in Philadelphia and Buffalo but played pretty poorly against some of the better competition such as Anaheim and Pittsburgh. They did play extremely well against San Jose, one of their best games of the season, but far too often the Devils forgot to show up. If it wasn’t for Schneider and Kinkaid, they would have been blown out more often than not.

    Peter Harrold had a rough, rough month. It started off with him getting injured against the Canadiens and finished off with him getting in the way of two shutouts – he took a late penalty that led to Pittsburgh tying the game at one and then knocked over Kinkaid allowing Florida to score with 89 seconds left. Harrold only played in six games, averaging around 13 minutes a game and still somehow was a -4. I don’t know what the team sees in Harrold to play him over Eric Gelinas.

    Seeing as the Devils had a successful month, I’ll leave it with more positives than negatives. It’s a results oriented business and the Devils got theirs. We’ll see if they can continue their winning ways – four game point streak – when they take on the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night.

    Next: Vote: Should the Devils Trade Jaromir Jagr?