The Devils season hasn’t exactly started out the way most fans would have liked. They are coming of back to back shutout losses which only begins to tell the story of the very young 2013/2014 season. When you sat down after training camp and took a look at this team, the thought was that they weren’t going to run away with the new Metropolitan Division but they would at least be competitive. Yes, the sudden retirement of Kovalchuk and departure of Clarkson left the Devils with an identity problem but with additions like Schneider, Ryder, Jagr and Brunner, the thought was that the Devils would be just fine. Apparently they aren’t.
Let’s start this off by taking a look at some key stats that are important to the success of any hockey club.
- Goals For: 26
- Goals Against: 42
- Times Shutout: 4 (which wouldn’t be awful if we left out the part that they’ve only played 14 games)
The bottom line is that the Devils just aren’t scoring. Coming off a 4-3 victory against the Bruins and then a 2-1 victory over the Lightning, it looked like the Devils might be starting to put some momentum together. They followed that up by a 1-0 shutout loss to a Flyers team that got obliterated by the Caps the night before and then followed that up against the Wild with a 4-0 shutout loss.
I can’t write this little article without bringing up the injury issues for New Jersey. They’ve had a lot of them and that will certainly derail many teams. The biggest name in this category for me this season would be Patrik Elias. He’s either been sick and dealing with some type of lingering injury but whatever the story is, any night that Elias isn’t in the lineup, the Devils are then dealing with a decent size whole to fill. Ryan Clowe is also a big injury story but all the fans knew he had injury issues when they brought him on board in July so can we really be shocked he’s having issues with injuries so far? However, he’s supposed to fill the hole that was left by Clarkson and that is a hole that needs to be filled. (Quick check on Clarkson stats – 10 games missed due to suspension, 5 games played, 1 assist so he’s not being missed here yet!!)
On paper I liked the Marty Brodeur / Cory Schneider tandem but I am starting to rethink it. Both goalies have played 7 games each. Marty’s record is 2-3-2 with a GAA of 2.68 and a Sv% of .888 while Schneider’s record is 1-4-2 with a GAA of 2.27 and a Sv% of .907. Neither goalie has played awful and at times you can say the play of the goaltenders is what has kept them in some games but the Devils need consistency and it would be great to get consistency in the net and then throughout the lineup. We will have to keep our eye on Brodeur as this tweet sent the Devils Army into a bit of a frenzy on Tuesday evening:
It’s the Devils, you never know what could happen with this team. I hope they don’t replace DeBoer anytime soon but that’s a road we’ve been down many times. This is also a team, which I have said many times, very capable of turning things around and stringing together a bunch of wins and putting themselves back into a very good position in the standings. When it comes to Devils hockey, you just NEVER know.
The highlighs of this young season would be the 4-3 come back from behind win in Boston and the 4-0 shutout of the rival NY Rangers. Hopefully, there are many more hightlights to come.