In the Month of November, the Devils went 5-6-1 but the positive spin on those numbers is that they closed out the month by winning 3 of their last 4 games. Unfortunately, the one they lost in that stretch was to a team that had lost 14 straight before beating the Devils, so the Devils continue to play inconsistent hockey.
The offense continued to struggle in the month of November. Once again, the Devils were unable to outscore their opponents as they only scored 23 goals and watched the opposition put 29 in their net. The power play has always been a source of pain for the Devils and that continued again in November as the went 4 for 32 while up a man. The Devils were shutout 4 times, which just shouldn’t happen to this team.
Kovalchuk only found the back on the net once last month and continued to frustrate the Devils fans with his play. His one goal came in OT and was responsible for sending the Oilers home. Honestly, we expect more from this guy and that goal came 48 hours after he flubbed a shootout goal against the Sabres which gave Buffalo the win. Ilya also had the winner in the SO against Calgary but statistically, it doesn’t count. Rookie winger Mattias Tedenby came up in the middle of November and had an instant impact with 3 goals and 3 assists and certainly created excitement for the Devils so it will be interesting to see what December brings for Tedenby.
My offensive player of the month would have to go to Patrick Elias. Elias didn’t get a point in only 6 games last month and 4 of those games the entire team was shutout, plus he missed the final game of the month for the birth of his daughter, Sophia.
I thought on the whole, the defense played better in the month of November. The Devils found themselves shorthanded 40 times and managed to only allow 7 goals. The Devils did give up 29 goals on 336 shots which was down from the previous month (39 on 351).
Andy Greene continues to lead this team in blocked shots with 55 so far this year, a category I was sure that Volchenkov would lead. Andy Greene was the only defensive player to find the back of the net last month. Statistically, I don’t think Tallinder had a better month than he did in October but I thought he showed improvement. I wasn’t alone last month when I was regretting signing Tallinder over Mottau but that feeling is slowly starting to change. I would like to see more from him in the upcoming months but he made fewer mistakes in November, at least in my opinion.
Marty had a rough month because of an injury suffered against the Blackhawks on November 3rd. He initially missed 2 and a half games in which the Devils went 1-1-1 during that time. Then on November 18th, he re-aggravated the same injury against the Maple Leafs and left that game after two periods. He would go on to miss the rest of the games in November.
Hedberg did a good job standing in for Marty and really started to look comfortable in net near the end of the month and helped the Devils win 3 of their last 4 games. Mike McKenna was called up from Albany and found his way into the starting position in his home town of St. Louis. He gave up 3 goals in the loss but looked better than I thought he would.
All together, the Devils goalies faced 336 shots and let 29 of those find the back of the net compared to the 39 goals on 351 shots on the month of October.
The Devils still find themselves in the bottom of the standings in the NHL but the final few games in November certainly give us hope that something is starting to change. Injuries have been a factor all season and it appears the Devils are starting to get healthier. The Devils won 3 of 4 to close out the month and while the one loss was to the Islanders who lost 14 straight going into that game, the Devils did beat the top 2 teams in the Eastern Conference (Washington 5-0 and Philadelphia 2-1). Johnny Mac has been preaching that the Devils would turn their season around and with the way things finished in November, maybe that turnaround has begun. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do.