NJ Devils hockey, NE Patriots football (NOT a bandwagon fan!), NY Mets baseball or what passes for it, drums, moshing, eating, weightlifting, laughing at Ranger fans, hating the Yankees and Jets. modding cars, XBox360
Before delving into this, just want to say I'm not implying that Cory has been awesome this year. There's been both some bad goals and some freakishly unlucky goals, and some couldn't-come-at-a-worse-time goals, and he hasn't always been consistent. And yeah, he's not a good puckhandler, but we got so used to watching a guy who was SO good at it that it probably makes Cory look even worse than he really is (though it's abundantly clear that yes, this will probably never be a strength for him).
That being said, his season save% is up to .918. That is good for 11th in the league. Since 10/24, it's .923, which is just below his career save%. This playing for a team that clearly has both talent and injury issues, and having to adjust to a workload that he's never gotten in the NHL.
His .918 save% goes with a 2.50 GAA. Marty managed a 2.51 GAA with a lowly .901 save% just last season. It's been discussed, but for those who want to use the "See we plugged in a better save% and it didn't make any difference" argument, it's clear that the problem is that this team as a whole has dropped off significantly from last season...they are giving up just over 29 shots per game (and many good scoring chances), which is unheard of for this franchise...suffice it to say that this team no longer suppresses shots against and scoring opportunities. Some of the players who are still here from last season aren't as good now as they were then, and a lot of the IF scenarios that this team was built on simply haven't gone the Devils' way. Damned near EVERY night it seems like the Devils are two to three steps slower than their opposition for many minutes at a time (though occasionally they have dominating periods that usually result in them not being able to finish...definitely seen a lot of that the past couple of seasons). I've seen the two-steps-slower thing rear its ugly head several times in the playoffs since 2004, but never anywhere near this often in the regular season.
Anyway, just hope most Devils fans realize that Cory is pretty much at the bottom of the "What's Wrong With the Devils" list. Considering the mess that's often been in front of him, he's actually played pretty well. I think it's pretty scary to think where this team would be WITHOUT Cory...even with some of the issues he's had.
This thread isn't to lament the current state of the Devils (which I don't even think is all that bad, really), but more to point out just how amazing the Devils were back in 2001, especially from 2/26 to 4/17. For this 24-game stretch, the Devils were about as close to unbeatable as a team can get:
22-2-0 record, 96 GF (4.00 GFPG), 46 GA (1.92 GAPG). Only losses were to Pittsburgh (4-2) and the Rangers (4-3). In typical Ranger fan fashion, those fans acted like they won the Stanley Cup that day. I think that was the loss that ended that massive unbeaten streak the Devils against the Rags.
In 21 out of the 24 games, the Devils scored at least 3 goals. They allowed more than 2 just 8 times.
Some of the offensive numbers over that time frame:
Even though they didn't win the Cup (they were up-and-down after this stretch ended, and their offense had dried up a bit in the SCF), these numbers really tell the story of how terrific that team really was...Tri could probably dig up even better stats than the obvious glamour numbers, but when you realize that the Devils had eight forwards who were all putting the puck in the net at solid rates...and two terrific offensive defensemen in their prime...and Stevens of course...just a reminder of how special that team really was...especially for those glorious two months of damned-near invincibility.