New Jersey Devils Have Officially Put Themselves In A Terrible Position

New Jersey Devils right wing Timo Meier (96): Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils right wing Timo Meier (96): Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Jersey Devils have been in second place in the Metropolitan Division for most of the season. It seems like they were destined to play the New York Rangers with a home-ice advantage once the playoffs started.

Unfortunately, the Devils are playing their worst hockey at the worst time. Meanwhile, the Rangers are playing their best. The Rangers are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The Devils have lost as much as they have won in their last ten games.

The Devils are coming off an incredibly disappointing performance against the Islanders, where they allowed two goals to Kyle Palmieri. The 5-1 loss isn’t as bad as it seems. The Devils dominated the third period prior to the Palmieri goal, which made it 3-1. Then, the Islanders scored two empty-net goals.

The Devils have been pretty mediocre for the better part of a month. Now, the Rangers are four points behind the Devils with a game at hand. If anyone thinks the Rangers aren’t destroying the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night haven’t been paying attention to hockey this season. That will leave the Rangers just two points behind the Devils as they prepare for a Thursday night matchup at The Rock.

It’s a sad state of affairs how far the Devils have fallen. Just a month ago, the Devils were eight points ahead of the Rangers with a game at hand. Now, the Rangers are in the driver’s seat and the Devils are crashing and burning. There will be no reprieve for the Devils if they can’t stave off their biggest rival.

Everyone is already expecting the Devils to fall apart. Most national analysts say they have no chance of winning the Stanley Cup. A vast majority will pick the Rangers to take them out in the first round.

Who can blame them? The Devils haven’t done anything to prove they should be a favorite. The goaltending isn’t stealing games. Defensively, something is very different. Dougie Hamilton is still scoring, but his play in his own zone and getting back hasn’t worked out well. Ryan Graves has had a rough stretch. John Marino is perplexing in his issues.

Next. Devils Must Change Goals For This Season. dark

There is good news. The Devils have eight games to change their fortunes. It’s basically a must-win game on Thursday. If the Devils beat the Rangers, then all will be gravy. All the previous issues suddenly go away. Then, they have to take care of business down the stretch.