5 Ways New Jersey Devils Season Can Be Saved

A loss in regulation to the Tampa Bay Lightning has the New Jersey Devils in a hard way. It will take a near miracle to make the playoffs, but this team might have a miracle in them if these five scenarios take place.
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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The New Jersey Devils really needed four points from this weekend after losing to the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals during the week. They didn't get it, only beating the Montreal Canadiens before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They now sit five points out of the closest playoff spot, which is currently held by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins and Capitals are both vying for that spot as well.

If the season ended today, the Devils would be the most talented team to miss the playoffs. They would be by far the most disappointing team in the NHL in 2023-24. Some might argue for the Sabres or Senators, but the Devils felt like a lock for the playoffs even as early as January. Now, they seem like a longshot at best.

We've seen teams do the "impossible" before. The Florida Panthers had 64 points in 61 games at this moment last season. Right now, the Devils have 62 points in 58 games. If you remember, the Panthers went on a run and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. The Devils can do the same, but only if a few very specific things happen.

Scenario 1: Jack Hughes goes Super Saiyan

The first thing that has to happen is Jack Hughes needs to turn back into the Hart Trophy candidate he was in the beginning of the season. Hughes has struggled since returning from injury. He's had six points in 10 games. We chronicled last year that Jack Hughes takes 10 games to return fully from injury. Sunday was game number 10.

Last season, Hughes missed a few games in February and rushed back. He struggled for 10 games, then he went back to his superstar ways. He averaged a point per game for the rest of the season. If Hughes can do even better than that, the Devils could be going somewhere. With 24 games left in the season, Hughes getting points in 90 percent of the matchups and multiple points in at least 40 percent would really send the Devils higher in the standings.