New Jersey Devils Finally Lose Hope In Loss To Arizona Coyotes

The New Jersey Devils had a chance to get back into the playoff race against a terrible Arizona Coyotes team and failed. This should become the focus

New Jersey Devils v Dallas Stars
New Jersey Devils v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils have been holding on to a sliver of hope for close to 70 games. Despite having one of the worst seasons in the history of the franchise (when compared to the hype), the Devils have been "alive" this entire time. They've never felt completely out of it. Even with the very low lows they've dealt with, the Devils were always within striking distance of the playoffs.

That was because the teams ahead of the Devils had as little motivation to make the playoffs as Jersey's Team (or so it seems). The Detroit Red Wings appeared to have the last Wild Card spot locked up, but then they lost seven games in a row to get everyone, including the Devils, back into the race.

The Devils had every chance to keep themselves in said race. It didn't matter that the Devils lost to the Sharks, Blue Jackets, and Ducks twice this season. They kept themselves afloat enough to give this team hope through the middle of March. That hope was finally lost on March 16th against the Arizona Coyotes.

Some say the hope was lost a while ago. Sure, but the Devils were still considered "in it" until now. Even when the Devils had the disastrous road trip where they lost to Anaheim and LA, fueling Tom Fitzgerald's sell job at the trade deadline, the Devils still had hope. That's why Fitzgerald traded for Kaapo Kahkonen and Jake Allen.

For the rest of the season, the Devils should focus on preparing for 2024-25. That includes playing some of the young kids instead of the veterans in the final year of their deals. The Devils have been forced to do that with the likes of Santeri Hatakka coming in for an injured John Marino (although he is still signed long term), but players like Nolan Foote should be in the lineup over players like Chris Tierney.

With 15 games left, the Devils are five points back from the New York Islanders. That doesn't sound impossible, but there's no way to think this team can get up enough to keep themselves even close. The team just scored one goal against a Coyotes team with nothing to play for. That one goal came from Nick DeSimone. A team with Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Timo Meier got their only goal in a must-win game from a guy they took on waivers weeks ago and only played because Matt Rempe went headhunting on Jonas Siegenthaler.

It's been a rough season, and we don't see it changing anytime soon. Let us take solace in the positive and hope this was a one-time mistake.