When you get to the final weeks of the season and you are staring at the possibility of packing up your locker and waiting until September to play another game once you’ve finished game #82, all that matters between now and then are wins. And in the case of the NJ Devils, wins in regulation matter the most. The Leafs are slumping and the Devils need to put something together in order to have a shot at capturing a wild card.
While chances appear slim for NJ, their upcoming schedule might actually benefit their chances at putting together a run. They play Pheonix on Thursday, who is currently holding on to a WildCard spot in the West and then Boston in the regular season finale. All the teams they play in between those two are non-playoff teams. Not only are they not playoff teams, they are teams not even battling at this point.
Enough can’t be said about Jon Merrill last night. That was the Jon Merrill I’ve been expecting for quite some time. He made a great heads up pass to Patrik Elias to start the 2nd period (huge props to Elias for that finish!!) and then made another heads up play 30 seconds later that ended up with him putting the puck in the back of the net. While that was all the scoring he would do, I thought he played the rest of the game in fantastic fashion.
As I mentioned weeks ago, Henrique needed to up his game if NJ was going to have a shot at the playoffs and he has certainly done that. It’s been a while since a Devils player made me feel that anything could happen if the puck was on his stick but Henrique has certainly been doing that. Wait, I should backtrack because Jagr has made me feel that way a majority of the year but it’s Jagr, that goes without being said.
I didn’t think the Leafs tested Schneider much until the end of the game which in true Devils fashion this season, made the fans sweat out the win.
Phoenix Thursday….Let’s keep it going!!