New Jersey Devils Clinch 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs Berth
It’s been over five years since the New Jersey Devils could say they were playoff bound. In 2018, it took until the second to last game of the season to clinch a berth.
After some painful seasons of early rebuilding plus multiple draft lotteries, the Devils have finally clinched a 2023 Stanley Cup Playoff berth with nine games to go. The way the Devils clinched, however, is a bad scenario.
The New York Rangers played a game earlier Saturday against the Florida Panthers. If the Panthers lost, the max points they could get is 97. With the Devils already at 98 points (prior to Saturday’s win against the Ottawa Senators), a Panthers loss sends the Devils to the postseason.
After the Panthers went up 2-0, the Rangers fought back with four goals. Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, Patrick Kane, and Filip Chytil all scored. Even though the Panthers got one more goal from Aleksander Barkov, it wasn’t enough, as the Rangers went on to win the game 4-3 to clinch a spot for the Devils in the playoffs.
Devils Need to Win More Games For Playoffs Seeding
Even though the Devils can celebrate getting into the playoffs now, they must focus on winning more games. Since shutting out the Hurricanes on March 12, the Devils have lost 5 out of their last seven games. It’s important to know this because the Devils had a 10-point lead over the Rangers almost disappear. The Rangers won six out of their past seven games and are four points away from tying the Devils in the standings.
Thankfully the Devils beat the Senators to get their first 100-point season since the 2011-12 season. There are current problems the team needs to fix before the playoffs even begin.
Which Issues do Devils need to Fix Before the Playoffs?
Regarding the Devils’ defensive issues, defenses lapses are the primary concern. The game against Buffalo is an excellent example of this. The combinations of Ryan Graves, Jonas Siegnthaler, and Dougie Hamilton played so poorly that they let Tage Thompson and Jack Quinn skate into the zone and allowed three goals to get past Akira Schmid.
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Another problem the Devils have suffered is puck clearance. In many games, the Devils will spend so much time in their zone and can never get a chance to clear the puck. Other times the Devils will have poor clearing attempts that will lead to goals given up. There are other issues like finishing, but the Devils will find ways to beat goaltenders over time. Hopefully, Ruff will fix all these problems once the playoffs begin. Now is the time for Devils fans to celebrate. The fans have waited so long for this team to make the playoffs, and now it’sit’s finally happened. Once it begins, we cannot wait for the Prudential Center to get packed and see the team we love try to go on a big run.