5 Questions New Jersey Devils Must Answer In Playoffs

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers with defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7) and center Dawson Mercer (91) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers with defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7) and center Dawson Mercer (91) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils are making their first playoff appearance since 2018 and looking to win their first series since 2012. There are a lot of moments and storylines stealing headlines as we head into the series against the New York Rangers (we assume).

The New Jersey Devils made the postseason weeks ago. That gave the writers and analysts plenty of time to develop storylines heading into the first playoff series in five years. However, most of the storylines have been developing all season long. It became clear in November that the Devils were likely to be postseason-bound. Yet, most real analysts aren’t putting them in real contention status. That’s because there are a few narratives following this team.

Those narratives might rear their ugly heads, but it’s clear the Devils are going in with a lot of unanswered questions. That’s because there is no history to rely on. The Devils as they are constructed now, have never been to the postseason. Their last run came at Taylor Hall’s hands, lasting five games against the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning. This time, there needs to be some proof with this pudding. With a much better seeding, there will be higher expectations.

New Jersey Devils, Connor McDavid
Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Question 1: Can This Team’s Youth Prove Itself In Unknown Territory?

Playoff pressure is real. It is just different when the 82 preceding games mean nothing. It’s harder to brush off losses. Heck, it’s harder to brush off bad shifts. One goal against could be the difference between moving on until the next round and moving on to the next green. If the Devils young team wants to avoid golfing, they need their stars to dominate.

Jack Hughes, Dawson Mercer, Nathan Bastian, and Michael McLeod are some of the eight players on the roster to have zero playoff games on their resumes. Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, Damon Severson, and Miles Wood have just that 2018 series under their belts.

While Dougie Hamilton, Erik Haula, and Vitek Vanecek have playoff experience, the Devils as a whole have to prove they can handle the pressure of the postseason. Winning one series would do the trick.