Let’s be clear. It’s a minor miracle that these score lines were as close as they were given the Devils’ play through the first 40 minutes against both the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders. A comeback attempt in the third is nice but only if it is successful. Otherwise, it’s easy to point to the impotent offense and defense of the first two periods as the reasons that these games were lost. The Devils may be fatigued but they have to figure out how to put together a more consistent effort over 60 minutes if they want to avoid finding themselves in the NHL’s basement for what is looking like the eighth time in the last nine years. Injuries and the COVID breakout are certainly to blame but the mental lapses on defense and the inability to create and sustain offense are problems that have long plagued this team and to become watchable again, they need to start showing some consistency outside of a few brief flashes.
On the plus side, the penalty kill has righted the ship to some degree in the last few weeks...just in time for the 5v5 play and power play to completely dry up. It will take time to put every facet of the game together and the rest of this season will be an indicator as to which veterans will be kept around to grow with the young nucleus the Devils have. Let’s hope they show some pride and hustle in their weekend back-to-back series against these Islanders, who themselves look like a formidable force in the East Division.
Let’s Go Devils and let’s see some more goals like Hughes’ in the third period against New York. Now that one was fun to watch.