New Jersey Devils: It’s Officially Panic Time… To A Point

Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils reacts after the Florida Panthers score their third goal of the game during the second period at Prudential Center on December 17, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Tomas Tatar #90 of the New Jersey Devils reacts after the Florida Panthers score their third goal of the game during the second period at Prudential Center on December 17, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils just lost their fifth game in a row. The Carolina Hurricanes have been winning a ton during this streak. Our hated rivals have won six in a row. The Pittsburgh Penguins have won seven in a row. Out of nowhere, the Metropolitan Division lead the Devils once held is down to basically nothing.

Every team goes through losing streaks. It happens. The aforementioned Penguins lost seven games in a row earlier this season, and now they are four points behind the Devils with a game in hand. The standings are becoming stressful, but it’s beyond that. The way the Devils are playing right now is hard to watch.

The Devils were the most exciting team in the league for most of the season. They dominated possession, and it led directly to goals. Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier were on a different level as superstars. The defense and offense were both in the top three in the league. Everything was going right.

Now, fast forward to today. Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Siegenthaler are struggling. Nico Hischier hasn’t been bad, but he’s been above average. That’s definitely not superstar level. Jesper Bratt seems to be doing his best Houdini impression. Hughes is about the only positive on the team right now.

The other issue is the upcoming schedule. The Devils lost to teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, who are in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, and the Florida Panthers, who have struggled all season. Now, the Devils have the Carolina Hurricanes, who are chasing the Devils and could catch them for first in the Metropolitan Division on Tuesday. That’s followed by another fight with the Panthers, who are still mad about the Sasha Barkov injury. After that, they have the Boston Bruins. No big deal; just the best team in the league.

This losing streak could theoretically turn into nine in the blink of an eye. That’s not a very merry Christmas for Devils fans. It’s panic time for the Devils. Should they make a trade? Is it time to call up Simon Nemec? The team already made some panic moves like healthy scratch Damon Severson (which didn’t work at all). Now, they have to figure out how to get out of this slump. Lindy Ruff must make the right moves to save the current stretch.

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The Devils 13-game winning streak allows them to survive such a terrible stretch, but they need to turn it around soon. Nobody should say this team isn’t good. Such a stretch is more annoying than anything. However, with the upcoming schedule, the team can’t do nothing. There has to be a “panic” move of some kind. Whether it’s Lindy Ruff changing the lineup entirely, double-shifting Jack Hughes, flipping the defense upside down or going 11/7 for the rest of the month.