Can New Jersey Devils Survive Without Winning Back to Backs?

The New Jersey Devils got trounced by the Dallas Stars on the second half of their back-to-back this weekend. Now as they sit 1-8-1 on back-to-backs, can they survive with this level of ineptitude if it's just in this one situation?
Dallas Stars v New Jersey Devils
Dallas Stars v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils are the worst team in the NHL on the second half of back-to-backs. We didn't look up the stats; we just can't possibly see a team being worse than the Devils. They are 1-8-1 in the second game of a back-to-back. Just to put this in perspective, if the Devils won just half of their back-to-backs (5-5-0), they would be in second place in the Metropolitan Division with three games in hand of the Philadelphia Flyers. Heck, if you just ignore the second half of back-to-backs, they would be 22-10-2. That would give them a .676 points percentage which would be just under the Boston Bruins for best in the Eastern Conference and tops in the Metro.

That's a lot of data to take in on what the Devils have done. We all understand the Devils have been terrible in the second half of back-to-backs, and it's tanking their season. It's not injuries, goalies, coaching, or anything else. The way the Devils play in this particular situation is the direct reason this is considered a bad season.

Some of the second-half losses include dropping games to the Ducks, Sharks, Blues, and Coyotes. The only time the Devils won such a game was November 25th, when they beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-2. The night before, they lost to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

Let's move forward, because there is nothing we can do about the past. Let's ask this very important question: Can the Devils make the playoffs if they can't win these games?

The Devils have six more back-to-backs left this season. Their opponents in the second half of those are the Predators, Lightning, Golden Knights, Islanders, Rangers, and the Predators again. Out of those six games, only two games are within the division. They also have a game against Tampa Bay, who they will be fighting for a playoff spot. Still, this is a pretty good scenario in terms of opponents on their worst night.

Let's say the Devils get two points out of those six games. That's awful, but that is about the point percentage the Devils are working within such games. That would give the Devils 51 points in 50 games.

The Capitals are on pace for 95 points, and they are holding the second Wild Card. Let's assume the Devils need 96 points to make the playoffs. They would need 45 points in 32 games. That means the Devils have to go 21-8-3 in the rest of their games. That's asking a LOT.

Is it impossible? We guess not, but it's so much easier for the Devils just to find another two wins in these back-to-backs. This is what's in front of the Devils if they can't figure out this one aspect of the game. It doesn't matter if Nico Daws is the second coming of Martin Brodeur. It doesn't matter if Scotty Bowman comes in to coach this team. Even if the 2000 Devils defense comes in and replaces this unit, playing the way they do on back-to-backs isn't going to get them anywhere.