New Jersey Devils Efforts Couldn’t End Slide Versus Flyers

Dec 15, 2022; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod (20) and Philadelphia Flyers left wing Nicolas Deslauriers (44) fight during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2022; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod (20) and Philadelphia Flyers left wing Nicolas Deslauriers (44) fight during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils have dropped four in a row and are playing mediocre hockey after their fantastic run to start the season. After a rough December, they need to turn it around fast. While they are still near the top of the league and nowhere near panicking, it is the first real challenge they have had and can’t afford old habits to creep in.

The Good

Michael McLeod only played nine minutes but had a few good chances, four shots, and a big fight. Standing up and throwing hands with Nicolas Deslauriers was impressive. Fans loved to see it. The Flyers were hitting everything, and it was good to see someone step up and let them know that the Devils were not going to be punching bags all night.

Jack Hughes is still playing at a high level and scored the team’s only goal with a massive solo play going through a number of players before hitting the back of the net again. The guy has been producing at an insane rate and has only been held pointless once since the Toronto joke of a game. With eight shots on goal, he has shown that he is thinking about scoring a lot more this season but still is getting pucks through very small gaps to make A+ passes.

Vitek Vanecek had another strong game with a .917 save percentage, and he made some big saves to keep this game close much like Carter Hart did on the other side. It was a goaltending dual for a good part of the game, and he only let in two in a game where in previous seasons four would have been buried. He was well deserving of all the “VITEK” chants again.

The Bad

Jesper Bratt had another off night and has been held pointless in three straight. Slumps are always bound to happen, and he will snap out of it. He generated virtually nothing again in tonight’s game, and the team needs him to do more.

Damon Severson has taken a lot of grief over the last few years, and his turnover tonight was pretty much the spitting image of people’s problem with him. Going across the ice at the blueline with an opposing player in the way is never a good play. It cost the team the game.

Next. What's Next For Alex Holtz?. dark

Alex Holtz has not looked NHL-ready at all. While it was the right call to give him as a skilled guy 15 minutes instead of 9-10 and expecting him to do something, it would be nice to see him in the AHL. He has yet to hit the point where he looks confident with the puck, and away from it, he doesn’t do much of anything. It would do him a lot of good to score some goals in the AHL and take his time getting to the big league.