Yeah I’ve mentioned it a bunch but with most teams, there’s a handful of games (sometimes due to scheduling) where they know almost collectively that they don’t have their legs and are tired, and would rather save their bullets for other battles…if they find a way to win such a “we’re spent” game, great, but they’re not going to kill themselves trying to make it happen. And given the grind of an 82-game NHL season (with potential playoff games to follow), it’s understandable when enough factors come together to prevent a team from giving its all for a select number of games.
The Devils can be shaky in their own end for sure (goaltending has made a massive difference in 2022-23, no question) and even though they’re 10-2-2 in their last 14, they haven’t played nearly as well as that record suggests.
BUT, they do try. Every night. They can be sloppy, and I’ll never believe that Ruff is the guy who will lead them to a championship, but this team does not take nights off…I can’t think of any one in particular where I thought “These guys didn’t even bother tonight.” So major kudos to the Devils for that.