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Devils lose frustrating game to Minnesota Wild

Another game, another loss — So the story goes. Accountability doesn’t exist for this team, and the season slowly trudges on.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at New Jersey Devils
The Devils fall yet again
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Another game, yet another loss. A team that Shero built to be contenders, a team that Shero built to compete, has been horrific, with no accountability (unless you count Bratt and Zacha, who are NOT the reason the Devils are losing).

I want John Hynes gone, as do many Devils fans. His strategies are shocking, his decisions questionable, and his potential for growth nonexistent. Will he be fired? Probably not. Shero wouldn’t fire a coach even if they decided to run out five John Hayden’s on the ice, for an average of 30 minutes a game.

Here’s the recap.

Period One: The Devils looked as if they were starting strong, with an initial energetic start and some good puck cycling. This lasted all of 30 seconds. The Wild proceeded to control play after that, with everything culminating in a Blake Coleman interference penalty. The Wild scored right away, with public enemy #1 Zach Parise scoring off a tip to make it 1-0 Wild.

The Devils then ramped it up a bit, and through some unknown force the Refs did not call a high-stick on Simmonds, which led to a Jesper Boqvist shot which deflected off the Minnesota defenseman and past Kaapo Kahkonen for his first career NHL goal! Funnily enough, the NHL issued an apology for allowing this goal in the 3rd period, but the Devils will take anything they get (and still lose).

After that, it was bad passing, turnovers and getting stuck in their defensive zone yet again. Throughout the 1st period, Minnesota had it easy, as the Devils gave them every chance to run away with the game. Somewhat luckily, the Wild are a bad team as well, and let the Devils stay in the game 1-1 at the end of the first.

Period Two: Through the first ten minutes of the second, a boring sloppy game was played. Neither the Wild nor Devils could make any real opportunity, with broken passes galore and a lack of strategy throughout. Then, Damon Severson happened.

While Severson is an incredibly talented player, he is known for being careless with his passing, and making very avoidable errors. In this game, all his criticism was shown in one takeaway by Jordan Greenway. Severson, in a lapse of judgment, made a terrible pass which Greenway intercepted, which allowed for him to go one-on-one against Domingue. One perfect shot later, and the Wild were up 2-1.

After a Hischier holding call literally 16 seconds later was killed off rather easily, Kevin Fiala committed the sin of somehow committing a hooking penalty while in possession of the puck, and the Devils would take advantage. Somehow, in one series of play, the Devils remembered how to play hockey, with a beautiful string of passes from Vatanen —> Hischier —> Hall —> Palmieri for the power-play goal, and a 2-2 game. Then, as is the rule of Devils, they forgot how to play again for the rest of the game. Domingue stopped a breakaway to bring some hope for a Devils win, but alas, all was for nought.

Period 3: All hope was taken away just three minutes into the 3rd, starting from yet another lost faceoff. Ryan Suter sniped a puck, which Domingue probably should have stopped, and the Wild were up 3-2. After that, the Devils tried to try to get into the game, with very little success in even creating chances. A scrum in front of the net, coupled with a Jack Hughes missed show, and Andy Greene slipping over his own feet, basically summed up the game as the Devils lost 3-2. To sum up the Wild season, Zach Parise hit the post on an empty net.

In conclusion, two bad teams played a hockey game in Newark today, with the better bad team coming out on top. Congratulations to Jesper Boqvist for his first career goal, and an overall good game. Congratulations to Kaapo Kahkonen for his first career win — it may be the easiest you get all season.

My Thoughts: Where do I start. I never liked John Hynes’ coaching style, even in the lone season the Devils made the playoffs. It felt too predictable, too simple, and not adjusted to today’s game. I think Travis Zajac, while about as offensively reliable as a boulder, brings value as a 4th line center, who can win faceoffs and play hard. He is our 2nd/3rd line center. John Hayden does absolutely nothing, and while he certainly isn’t the reason the Devils are bad, should not be playing over Jesper Bratt. Wayne Simmonds and Jack Hughes play well together. We should trade Hall, fire Hynes, and retool, rather than rebuild.

I’m obviously very upset right now, and probably biased because all is going wrong. However, it’s at the point where I’m sick of complaining and sick of the lack of real change.

Your Thoughts: What did you think watching this game? What needs to change, if anything at all (I’d hope you think change needs to occur). Is it the system, the players, or both? Let me know in the comments below, and good night.