New Jersey Devils Faster Starts Key To Increasing Playoff Chances

It seems as though the New Jersey Devils have been getting off to better starts ever since the Arizona Coyotes game. This is their best chance to make a run toward playoff contention.

Dawson Mercer celebrating his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins
Dawson Mercer celebrating his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins / Elsa/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils are nine games shy of breaking the NHL record for allowing the first goal in a game in a single season. They seemed to reach a breaking point during their recent road trip. After getting swept this season by the Arizona Coyotes, a team that went on a 14-game losing streak at one point, tensions were a little high in the locker room postgame. Despite setting a new career high in points, Lazar wasn't happy with the Devils' continued slow starts.

"We got to dig in and want it...just not good enough...we played pretty solid in Dallas. What I think got us our success there was our work ethic and the way we got to be ready to play."

Curtis Lazar

Interim Head Coach Travis Green echoed Lazar's frustrations and even took it a step further when asked for the reasoning as to why his team gets off to slow starts. Green said that some of it is because of the team's immaturity.

"A bit of it is immaturity. It's a tough league to win in. You have to be ready to go every night. If you don't start on-time, then it's a hard league to win in. "

Travis Green

It seems as though the team has taken those comments to heart. In their very next game against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights, the Devils battled hard from the opening frame. Even though they didn't come away with the victory, it was evident that they had a sense of urgency. It was unfortunate that Dawson Mercer's first-period goal was waived off, but the Devils still struck first, thanks to Nico Hischier in the third period.

In their previous matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Devils generated more shots in the opening frame and scored the opening goal thanks to Mercer. If the Devils want any chance of possibly sneaking their way into a playoff spot, then getting off to better starts is vital. If the previous two games are any indication, then they're heading in the right direction. When looking ahead, the Devils have 13 regular season games remaining, so better late than never.