Devils having trouble putting the biscuit in the basket
The New Jersey Devils were back on the ice for practice today less then 24 hours after a 2-1 loss to the lowly Ottawa Senators. The defeat left the Devils and their fans shaking their heads. The loss exposed what has become a growing problem or should I say a shrinking problem, the teams inability to score goals.
The lack of finish came back to haunt them in a big way Tuesday night. The Senators had the league’s worst record going into the game, but a go-ahead goal with 2:17 left gave Ottawa the win and left the Devils looking for answers. For the sixth time in seven games, the Devils failed to score more than two goals. Nevermind that they had an apparent goal waved off, they still should not have been in the position to lose on a late goal. This team on paper should have enough talent, firepower and creativity to put up more goals. Unfortunately, goals have been at a premium for Jersey’s team.
The Devils organization will be able to cut cost by not replacing bulbs in the goal lights at the Rock because they are used so seldom.
If we dig into the numbers we can see that every single team in the NHL averages over 2 goals a game including New Jersey. However, the Devils are ranked dead last with a pop-gun average of 2.08 goals per game. Ottawa is not much better at 29th with 2.24 goals per game.
One way to quickly improve would to be to figure out how to score on the man advantage. New Jersey must improve a less than stellar power play. They have the 28th worst power play in the league with a minuscule pp% of 14.7. On Tuesday they failed to cash in on back to back 5 on 3 man advantages. It ultimately became a key factor in the loss.
The Devils next two opponents the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday and the New York Islanders on Saturday average 2.75 and 2.72 goals per game respectively.
If the Devils want to bounce back they are going to have to get offensive and fast. With only having 16 games left they trail the Buffalo Sabres by 8 points, it’s going to take at least 3 goals a game if they are to even have a chance to pull off the unthinkable and qualify for the playoffs.
Atlanta and New York are at the bottom of the league in goals against, giving up an average of over 3 goals a game. Could these 2 games be just what the doctor ordered for the suffering offense? We shall see.
Thanks to NHL.com for stats
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Devils Offense is Downright Offensive
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