It’s the New Year, and the New Jersey Devils are riding as high as they have all season. The team had a three-game winning streak in November, and that was the only other time the fanbase was happy this season. It’s happened again. The Devils have three wins since the end of the break, beating the Sabres, Oilers, and Capitals all in dramatic fashion.
It’s not enough to reverse what happened before the Christmas break. The Devils were coming off a six-game losing streak. The team was ranked as one of the worst in the NHL in multiple categories. Their power play was atrocious. They had trouble scoring, and their defense and goaltending were not bailing them out like it was at the beginning of the season.
One three-game winning streak won’t fix this. The Devils need so much more. The expectations have changed this season. While the original plan was to stay competitive through the end of the season, now the team just needs competitive games along the way. There won’t be games that matter for a while as long as the Devils stick in their place in the standings. This is still a very important year for this franchise.
There is a lot happening this year. Jack Hughes‘ eight-year contract goes into effect. Jesper Bratt needs a huge contract himself. The Devils need to make some decisions that could impact the future of this franchise, and they have to get it right this time. Tom Fitzgerald made a lot of decisions that did a lot of good for the Devils, but it’s clearly not enough. 2022 has to be the year when they finally take a step in the right direction after years of taking steps back.