Full disclosure, this article is being written in the middle of the first period of Friday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. The New Jersey Devils immediately went down 3-0 as Jonathan Bernier looks rusty as all hell. Damon Severson scored a power-play goal, the first in who knows how long (someone does but we don’t want to relive that streak).
It’s been a terrible stretch for the Devils where they come out of the gate about as terrible as any team in the league. The Devils are on the way to losing eight of their last 10 games. In five of their last six games, they went into the first intermission losing. The only game where the Devils looked any good was against the Philadelphia Flyers who have a laundry list of problems themselves.
Jack Hughes has returned to the lineup. Dougie Hamilton is fully healthy. Both Jonathan Bernier and Mackenzie Blackwood are fully healthy and playing on a nightly basis. The team is running out of excuses, and it’s time to start looking at the problems.
The coaching staff has to start looking in the mirror. There’s no chance they can see the Devils coming out of the gate this bad and not understand the coaching is part of it. The team is not ready to go when the puck is dropped and the other team is. The team is allowing too many high-danger chances in the first period. The goalies aren’t making enough saves in the first period. There are times when the team makes a comeback, but that luck has run out as of late.
The Devils defense has especially been bad in the first period. It’s a problem that is confusing, to say the least. The Devils eventually scored their second goal in the first period on Friday night, but they still lost the battle in total chances, high-danger chances, and Bernier was only supposed to give up one goal according to the statistics. He gave up three, and they were all even strength goals.
And as we’re writing this, the Devils just tied it. So, maybe this is all a little premature, but the Devils have to stop going down big. It’s a dangerous game to play each and every night. They cannot be giving away points to teams in the Metropolitan Division. For now, I will enjoy a tie game.