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How the New Jersey Devils Wrecked Their Team Save Percentage in April

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The New Jersey Devils are suffering a horrible ten game losing streak wherein they gave up a lot of goals. The Devils’ team save percentage has been horrid. Is it all on the goaltenders? Not during this losing streak as there have been a lot of failures by the skaters and the penalty kill. This post has the pictures to demonstrate those many failures.

New York Rangers v New Jersey Devils
HELP YOUR GOALTENDERS, PLEASE.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils entered The Week of Pity against the Philadelphia Flyers with one win in April and a nine-game losing streak. It is now a ten-game losing streak as the Devils botched a two goal lead in less than 90 seconds before the end of regulation against the Flyers last night. All of the nine losses before that one featured the Devils going down in the first half of games with significant deficits with some comeback efforts that all fell short. As the New Jersey Devils are now flirting with last place in the league standings, their futility has become increasingly noticeable. People understandably want something to blame. And the easy culprit is goaltending.

The argument is pretty clear. From April 9 to April 25, the Devils have a team save percentage of 87.92% in 5-on-5 situations (29th in the NHL) and 83.33% in all situations (31st and dead last in the NHL) per Natural Stat Trick. Therefore, the Devils goaltenders need to make more saves. Then they will win a game. Analysis done. Let’s go get a snack.

(Aside: Before jumping into the comments about how the Devils’ team stats in 5-on-5 in April are great and so the goalies need to make saves, I will highly recommend that you adjust for score and venue. The team’s 51.15% CF% in their losing streak drops significantly to 47.43% CF% when you do.)

However, that is not the whole story. Goaltending stats understandably focus on the one thing goaltenders are paid to do: make saves. The issue is that it is often surface level. Save percentages (regardless of situation and danger), expected goals models, GSAA (goals saved above average), and even GSAx (goals saved above expected) are limited to information that is recorded. There is no public data for what is happening in front of the goaltender or how the shot was created or whether the goaltender is flanked and/or needs to make a really difficult post-to-post move. Therefore, those stats do not take any of that into account. Yet, those real factors to why goals are allowed are a big reason why the Devils goaltenders have 1980s levels of save percentages during the team’s run of futility.

This is a point Gerard made back on Thursday. I want to further support his thesis as I do agree that the Devils’ skaters have often victimized their goaltenders. While there is no data to count all shots, we do have video of all goals against available at NHL.com. We do not have video of all of shots against so easily available, but given that save percentages (and GSAA and GSAx) suffer when there are goals against, we can look at what happened.

To that end, I have taken screenshots of all of the goals against at key points to show the issues that many Devils fans, like myself, have lamented throughout this losing streak. Most of them will be posted. There are legitimate reasons why fans want the defense to improve and why many want new defensemen - whether it is a top prospect in the 2021 NHL Draft Class or from elsewhere. There are also growing frustration with the coaching given how some of these goals against keep happening and there is seemingly no correction. And while the season stats may not look bad for some of them, some of these capture why fans are unhappy with players who have plenty of NHL experience and proceed to do something they would expect to see out of a rookie. This is not a fun post to go through (or make) but it demonstrates how the Devils have wrecked their goaltenders’ save percentages.

This is not to say that Mackenzie Blackwood, Scott Wedgewood, and Aaron Dell have been otherwise wonderful and could do no better. Each have let up a few bad goals during this stretch. Wedgewood easily let up the worst goal of the season; a lofted puck by Brian Dumoulin from the neutral zone that bounced past him on April 20. I am sure they would be the first to tell you they could be better. However, the Devils have allowed 42 non-empty net goals in their last nine games and only a handful were ones the goaltenders looked stupid on. If you took away the undeniably bad goals against by the goalies, the Devils would still have conceded a lot of goals against (about 36, depending on what you claim as bad) and likely still lose nine straight games regardless. My main point is that the errors by the Devils’ skaters and their systems far outweigh the mistakes by the goaltenders despite what you may think from the team’s save percentages. You will see those errors in the many pictures below.

This is also not to say the pictures are the total be-all, end-all of failures. A number of these were the results of mistakes made earlier in the play. For example, P.K. Subban’s failure in a 2-on-1 against Our Hated Rivals was caused by Michael McLeod trying and failing to get around Artemi Panarin in the neutral zone which created an easy turnover and the odd man rush. For another example, Pavel Zacha tried to chase down Cody Ceci but could not catch him in time to try to have him not shoot a puck because he and the wingers were in way too deep in the zone. But the pictures will show you how remarkably difficult the Devils have made it for their goaltenders.

Therefore, I will give you my conclusions and then you can peruse the pictures of pain caused by the Devils.

  • The biggest weakness of the Devils’ defensive effort is a general unawareness of what is happening outside of the puck carrier. The Devils have often got caught on their weak side or by a player having a wide open shot simply because no one paid attention to them or did not account for them. Given that there will always be more opponents without the puck than with the puck, this is a massive problem. The Devils’ approach appears to be to try to pressure the puck carrier so they cannot find their open teammates. This has yielded a lot of games where the goaltender has to be amazing or there are going to be goals against by players who are wide open. The Devils should absolutely look to sign and/or acquire better defensemen (and forwards who can defend) this offseason. But if they are going to play this way again, it could be a waste of time and money. Given Lindy Ruff’s and Alain Nasreddine’s experience in this league, I am baffled as to how they thought this would work.
  • Adding to that is that the Devils have continually left the opposition’s best players open and they have paid the price for it. For Our Hated Rivals, it was Artemi Panarin. He had zero bodies on him for his four goals in The Week of Hate. For Pittsburgh, it was Sidney Crosby. He also kept being open for shots that punished the Devils; three goals to be precise. For Philadelphia, it was (arguably) Claude Giroux. He scored two 6-on-5 goals in the final minutes of the game to turn a Devils 3-1 lead into a 3-3 tie in what should have been the end of the losing streak. He was not defended on either goal. I understand hockey is a team game and shadowing someone is a lot easier said than done. There has to be a better answer than ignoring or not accounting for the opposition’s best player.
  • The passive diamond might as well be a passive cubic zirconia. Most teams run a 1-3-1 power play formation and yet the Devils have been picked apart by it because they are literally too passive in their diamond to pick up players in dangerous spots. Especially on their weakside. I know it is a shorthanded situation but someone needs to at least be aware of who is where among the opposition. Bring back the wedge plus one!
  • Despite some of the experience on the blueline, two-on-one defenses have been inconsistent and costly.
  • Turnovers did create problems but not all were the standard “I just threw the puck to an opponent” turnover. Some were the result of failed zone exit attempts, dump-ins not going far enough, and losing battles.
  • Clearing the crease has been a meme to some. On a couple of these, the Devils doubled down on being in the crease instead of actually doing something more productive.
  • Some of the goals against, well, there’s not much you can do about them.
  • But on a lot of them, there was usually something the Devils could and should have done something different.
  • There are plenty of issues to resolve. The answer to all of them is not: “Need more saves, goalies.”

Please leave your thoughts and reactions to the pictures of futility in the comments. I highly suggest not ignoring the pictures and telling me the save percentages are bad. I know they are bad. I am showing you how they became that bad. All the same, thank you for reading. (Note: Any markings or words on the screenshots are mine. The screenshots are all from videos available at NHL.com.)


Wait, How was He Open at 5-on-5 (and for Two of These, 5-on-6)?

April 9: I swear to you this was a 5-on-5 situation. Yet, the shot shows 3-on-3 below the dots and no one is on anyone. They’re just lost here. The puck is coming to Sidney Crosby in the slot. Perhaps one of the worst people to lose in 5-on-5.  He made them pay.
April 9: I swear to you this was a 5-on-5 situation. Yet, the shot shows 3-on-3 below the dots and no one is on anyone. They’re just lost here. The puck is coming to Sidney Crosby in the slot. Perhaps one of the worst people to lose in 5-on-5. He made them pay.
NHL.com
April 11: Artemi Panarin is another player one should not leave wide open.  Will Butcher was specifically highlighted for having his stick down outside of the passing lane.  Jonas Siegenthaler was the closest to it and was too late.
April 11: Artemi Panarin is another player one should not leave wide open. Will Butcher was specifically highlighted for having his stick down outside of the passing lane. Jonas Siegenthaler was the closest to it and was too late.
NHL.com
April 15: The Devils were caught with 5 men down low to take care of...no one. This meant Jacob Trouba had acres of space to unload a hard shot. The Devils allowed multiple shots like this to Trouba on April 13. But this one went in.
April 15: The Devils were caught with 5 men down low to take care of...no one. This meant Jacob Trouba had acres of space to unload a hard shot. The Devils allowed multiple shots like this to Trouba on April 13. But this one went in.
NHL.com
April 15: Nobody picked up Ryan Lindgren activating.  Only Will Butcher was to the right of the royal road from Blackwood’s perspective.  Butcher decided to go for the heroic block instead of lunging closer. The block missed and the shot beat Blackwood blocker-side.  I could be convinced this should’ve been stopped but still.
April 15: Nobody picked up Ryan Lindgren activating. Only Will Butcher was to the right of the royal road from Blackwood’s perspective. Butcher decided to go for the heroic block instead of lunging closer. The block missed and the shot beat Blackwood blocker-side. I could be convinced this should’ve been stopped but still.
NHL.com
April 15: Again, one worst people to lose coverage on is Artemi Panarin. The Devils had no one even in a position to help weakside. So the pass cutting across the slot was a killer. Good job, everyone.
April 15: Again, one worst people to lose coverage on is Artemi Panarin. The Devils had no one even in a position to help weakside. So the pass cutting across the slot was a killer. Good job, everyone.
NHL.com
April 18: This whole situation was created by a heinous turnover by Siegenthaler in the defensive zone. This led to Vitali Kravtsov being perhaps the widest open he’s ever been in this league for this one-timer on a non-rush play.
April 18: This whole situation was created by a heinous turnover by Siegenthaler in the defensive zone. This led to Vitali Kravtsov being perhaps the widest open he’s ever been in this league for this one-timer on a non-rush play.
NHL.com
April 18: Blackwood should have stopped this shot, which would beat him through the legs. Still, someone didn’t pick up Alexis Lafreniere storming down the middle.  But his teammate did and the rookie finished the drill.
April 18: Blackwood should have stopped this shot, which would beat him through the legs. Still, someone didn’t pick up Alexis Lafreniere storming down the middle. But his teammate did and the rookie finished the drill.
NHL.com
April 20: This pass to Teddy Blueger was fantastic and you can fault Aaron Dell for biting on the no-look backhand pass to the slot.  Not that he could make a stop on this. The whole pass works because no one in white was actually in a spot to cover the slot.
April 20: This pass to Teddy Blueger was fantastic and you can fault Aaron Dell for biting on the no-look backhand pass to the slot. Not that he could make a stop on this. The whole pass works because no one in white was actually in a spot to cover the slot.
NHL.com
April 20:  This was a bad goal for Dell to allow, but Rodrigues found the hole in the Devils’ coverage and made the most of it.
April 20: This was a bad goal for Dell to allow, but Rodrigues found the hole in the Devils’ coverage and made the most of it.
NHL.com
April 20:  Once again, not accounting for Sidney Crosby punishes the Devils.  No, he’s not in a good shooting location.  No, he was not covered.  No, Aaron Dell was not in a good position as he was already down before Jake Guentzel fed him.  I still see this and go “no no no.”
April 20: Once again, not accounting for Sidney Crosby punishes the Devils. No, he’s not in a good shooting location. No, he was not covered. No, Aaron Dell was not in a good position as he was already down before Jake Guentzel fed him. I still see this and go “no no no.”
NHL.com
April 24: Jeff Carter found the soft zone in the middle of the Devils’ coverage. This is almost art as you can see five white jerseys surround him and none of them are actually within a stick’s length of Carter.
April 24: Jeff Carter found the soft zone in the middle of the Devils’ coverage. This is almost art as you can see five white jerseys surround him and none of them are actually within a stick’s length of Carter.
NHL.com
April 25: Claude Giroux actually loses the puck here, recovers it, and then fires it home by the right post past Pavel Zacha.  James Van Reimsdyk is somehow able to get a pass across Matt Tennyson and through Zacha to Giroux.  Instead of having his stick on the ice or even fouling Giroux, Zacha will turn and close his legs to try to block a shot.  He failed and the Flyers had new life in the game with less than 90 seconds left.
April 25: Claude Giroux actually loses the puck here, recovers it, and then fires it home by the right post past Pavel Zacha. James Van Reimsdyk is somehow able to get a pass across Matt Tennyson and through Zacha to Giroux. Instead of having his stick on the ice or even fouling Giroux, Zacha will turn and close his legs to try to block a shot. He failed and the Flyers had new life in the game with less than 90 seconds left. By the way, Giroux was ignored in the actual video clip prior to this goal. Another weakside failure.
NHL.com
April 25: Prior to this Nathan Bastian had clearing attempt go off an official and the puck kind of died flat.  Bad break, but it was still a defendable situation in theory.  In practice, Damon Severson turned into a pylon and stood in the slot, assuming van Reimsdyk was going to shoot. Instead, he passes to the wide open Claude Giroux for a tap-in. Why wouldn’t you cover the other team’s best player by your net. This also happened after a Devils timeout too.
April 25: Prior to this Nathan Bastian had clearing attempt go off an official and the puck kind of died flat. Bad break, but it was still a defendable situation in theory. In practice, Damon Severson turned into a pylon and stood in the slot, assuming van Reimsdyk was going to shoot. Instead, he passes to the wide open Claude Giroux for a tap-in. Why wouldn’t you cover the other team’s best player by your net. This also happened after a Devils timeout too.
NHL.com

Getting in the Goaltenders Way

April 11: The Devils lost an offensive zone faceoff. That’s one thing. The puck went back to Cody Ceci, who set up Mike Matheson for a shot. OK. Damon Severson failed to tie up Colton Sceviour’s stick and is in the lane. So Blackwood does not see this deflection coming at him, much less past him.
April 11: The Devils lost an offensive zone faceoff. That’s one thing. The puck went back to Cody Ceci, who set up Mike Matheson for a shot. OK. Damon Severson failed to tie up Colton Sceviour’s stick and is in the lane. So Blackwood does not see this deflection coming at him, much less past him.
NHL.com
April 11: This was one was controversial as Lindy Ruff challenged this goal against for interference as it appeared Crosby shoved Ty Smith into Blackwood. This doesn’t mean Severson decided to deal with Guentzel’s screen by making it a BIGGER screen in standing in front of him.
April 11: This was one was controversial as Lindy Ruff challenged this goal against for interference as it appeared Crosby shoved Ty Smith into Blackwood. This doesn’t mean Severson decided to deal with Guentzel’s screen by making it a BIGGER screen in standing in front of him.
NHL.com
April 20: Mike Matheson unloads a shot that Miles Wood is way, way, way late in doing anything about. Meanwhile, Ryan Murray is CLEARING THE CREASE so he ends up being the screen instead of Jason Zucker. This means Scott Wedgewood doesn’t see this shot.
April 20: Mike Matheson unloads a shot that Miles Wood is way, way, way late in doing anything about. Meanwhile, Ryan Murray is CLEARING THE CREASE so he ends up being the screen instead of Jason Zucker. This means Scott Wedgewood doesn’t see this shot.
NHL.com
April 20: This is not a blatant screen by Tennyson but he is in the way of this Jeff Carter shot. It certainly did not help Wedgewood not stop this puck.  Please notice that there were three Devils on the left side of this photo and the play went to the middle.
April 20: This is not a blatant screen by Tennyson but he is in the way of this Jeff Carter shot. It certainly did not help Wedgewood not stop this puck. Please notice that there were three Devils on the left side of this photo and the play went to the middle.
NHL.com
April 22: Ken Daneyko complained about no one being in the lane during the broadcast of this goal against.  There are a lot of bodies in the lane.  Pavel Zacha is closer in this picture to Cody Ceci than it looks, and Tennyson is bodying up a screener from behind such that he would be in Dell’s line of sight.
April 22: Ken Daneyko complained about no one being in the lane during the broadcast of this goal against. There are a lot of bodies in the lane. Pavel Zacha is closer in this picture to Cody Ceci than it looks, and Tennyson is bodying up a screener from behind such that he would be in Dell’s line of sight.
NHL.com

The Passive Penalty Killers Getting Beat

April 9: The Devils did not really defend well. No one was paying attention to Jared McCann on the weakside until it was way too late.  They were punished when an open shot was stopped and a wide open McCann put home a rebound at close range.
April 9: The Devils did not really defend well. No one was paying attention to Jared McCann on the weakside until it was way too late. They were punished when an open shot was stopped and a wide open McCann put home a rebound at close range.
NHL.com
April 9: The play was on the nearside of the camera until Pittsburgh changed the point of attack to Rust. Just as the Devils turned their heads, this slapshot would go. By the way, that’s 5’11” Guentzel screening Blackwood - also uncovered.
April 9: The play was on the nearside of the camera until Pittsburgh changed the point of attack to Rust. Just as the Devils turned their heads, this slapshot would go. By the way, that’s 5’11” Guentzel screening Blackwood - also uncovered.
NHL.com
April 11: Once again, the Penguins found a wide open man unnoticed by the penalty killers. The play was in the far corner, the Devils could not deny the pass. When Rust sent it over to Guentzel, it would be a tap in for the Penguin winger and another PPGA for NJ that further kneecapped Blackwood’s overall save percentage.
April 11: Once again, the Penguins found a wide open man unnoticed by the penalty killers. The play was in the far corner, the Devils could not deny the pass. When Rust sent it over to Guentzel, it would be a tap in for the Penguin winger and another PPGA for NJ that further kneecapped Blackwood’s overall save percentage.
NHL.com
April 17: This is a bit harsh as it is a 3-on-5 for New Jersey.  Still, the general principle in a two man disadvantage is to protect the slot. This includes denying seam passes cross it.  One was made to Ryan Strome, who would finish it on the goalie’s flank from a sharp angle.
April 17: This is a bit harsh as it is a 3-on-5 for New Jersey. Still, the general principle in a two man disadvantage is to protect the slot. This includes denying seam passes cross it. One was made to Ryan Strome, who would finish it on the goalie’s flank from a sharp angle.
NHL.com
April 17: The 3-on-5 was converted and Pavel Buchnevich converted the second penalty.  Buchnevich is surrounded by McLeod (behind him) failing to get to his stick before the shot, Andreas Johnsson (right) failing to get in the way in time, and Siegenthaler (front) decided to go for a shot block instead of a challenge on the puck.  Before this, Blackwell was in the middle of the diamond and knocked the puck back to Buchnevich which led to this too-little-too-late convergence.
April 17: The 3-on-5 was converted and Pavel Buchnevich converted the second penalty. Buchnevich is surrounded by McLeod (behind him) failing to get to his stick before the shot, Andreas Johnsson (right) failing to get in the way in time, and Siegenthaler (front) decided to go for a shot block instead of a challenge on the puck. Before this, Blackwell was in the middle of the diamond and knocked the puck back to Buchnevich which led to this too-little-too-late convergence.
NHL.com
April 18: This is the play that led to the headline photo for this post.  This is yet another PK where they fail because a man is wide open on the goalie’s flank at the post and a pass is made to that man.  Through the seam by Mika Zibanejad, right on Chris Krieder’s tape, and it is impressive that the only Ranger in this picture that is covered is meaningless.  This is a PK failure.
April 18: This is the play that led to the headline photo for this post. This is yet another PK where they fail because a man is wide open on the goalie’s flank at the post and a pass is made to that man. Through the seam by Mika Zibanejad, right on Chris Krieder’s tape, and it is impressive that the only Ranger in this picture that is covered is meaningless. This is a PK failure.
NHL.com
April 18: This play was crushing as it turned a 3-3 forced by a Devils comeback into a 3-4 game.  This is the passive diamond at its worst. Zibanejad set himself up perfectly in the middle where he is surrounded but is not covered. The Devils fail to stop a pass to him or win the puck earlier.  He gts it and hammers in a shot that would give Our Hated Rivals the sweep in The Week of Hate.
April 18: This play was crushing as it turned a 3-3 forced by a Devils comeback into a 3-4 game. This is the passive diamond at its worst. Zibanejad set himself up perfectly in the middle where he is surrounded but is not covered. The Devils fail to stop a pass to him or win the puck earlier. He gts it and hammers in a shot that would give Our Hated Rivals the sweep in The Week of Hate.
NHL.com
April 24: This section began with Jared McCann and it will end with Jared McCann.  Like in the first one, McCann was uncovered and unnoticed on the weakside before the shot came.  Unlike the first one, both Severson and McLeod noticed and tried in vain to stop McCann from putting in this rebound past Blackwood doing an Arturs Irbe.  McLeod tripped him, Severson’s stick was not long enough, and McCann scored anyway.  This PK hates paying attention to what they’re not focused on.
April 24: This section began with Jared McCann and it will end with Jared McCann. Like in the first one, McCann was uncovered and unnoticed on the weakside before the shot came. Unlike the first one, both Severson and McLeod noticed and tried in vain to stop McCann from putting in this rebound past Blackwood doing an Arturs Irbe. McLeod tripped him, Severson’s stick was not long enough, and McCann scored anyway. This PK hates paying attention to what they’re not focused on.
NHL.com

Two-on-One Failures

April 13: A turnover on offense from Jack Hughes up high in the zone yielded this 2-on-1. Damon Severson and his 470+ NHL games of experience covers no one on it.  He also got surprised by Artemi Panarin stopping here for this one-timer that will go in.
April 13: A turnover on offense from Jack Hughes up high in the zone yielded this 2-on-1. Damon Severson and his 470+ NHL games of experience covers no one on it. He also got surprised by Artemi Panarin stopping here for this one-timer that will go in.
NHL.com
April 17: Michael McLeod trying and failing to get around Panarin led to a turnover that led to this 2-on-1.  Former Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban doubled down on that error by going down to his stomach instead of defending anything.  Pass, shot, goal for Pavel Buchnevich.
April 17: Michael McLeod trying and failing to get around Panarin led to a turnover that led to this 2-on-1. Former Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban doubled down on that error by going down to his stomach instead of defending anything. Pass, shot, goal for Pavel Buchnevich.
NHL.com
April 22: A picked off pass from Jack Hughes at the blueline led to this 2-on-1.  Matt Tennyson decided to make a bad decision worse by going towards the puck carrier instead of the open. This may shock you, but the result was: pass, shot, goal for Bryan Rust.
April 22: A picked off pass from Jack Hughes at the blueline led to this 2-on-1. Matt Tennyson decided to make a bad decision worse by going towards the puck carrier instead of the open. This may shock you, but the result was: pass, shot, goal for Bryan Rust.
NHL.com

Bad Breaks & Exceptional Opposition Plays

Yes, there were some bad breaks against the Devils. Some goals against were just “OK, I can’t be mad about that, actually” plays. Save percentages, expected goals, etc. doesn’t care for those, though. Still, they are here.

April 9: Brian Dumoulin (not pictured) took a shot from the point that Janne Kuokkanen tried to block.  Instead, the puck hit off his right arm (circled) which managed to elude Blackwood on the deflection.
April 9: Brian Dumoulin (not pictured) took a shot from the point that Janne Kuokkanen tried to block. Instead, the puck hit off his right arm (circled) which managed to elude Blackwood on the deflection.
NHL.com
April 9: This goal was a fortunate circumstance for Colton Sceviour, who bats this puck in mid-air. Crosby can do this. Sceviour? Really?  Do note that no one was near him on this play.  Smith seems to be the one trying to get there but 14 is in his way. Sami Vatanen was doing something else? I don’t know. I still think it was more a bad break because it was a goal from Sceviour smacking in a mid-air puck.
April 9: This goal was a fortunate circumstance for Colton Sceviour, who bats this puck in mid-air. Crosby can do this. Sceviour? Really? Do note that no one was near him on this play. Smith seems to be the one trying to get there but 14 is in his way. Sami Vatanen was doing something else? I don’t know. I still think it was more a bad break because it was a goal from Sceviour smacking in a mid-air puck.
NHL.com
April 20: Sidney Crosby makes a perfect bank pass to spring Rust past Severson. Live and then, I thought Severson was beaten badly. But the pass was perfectly placed and Rust had forward progress.  Most (all?) defensemen would have been beaten here.
April 20: Sidney Crosby makes a perfect bank pass to spring Rust past Severson. Live and then, I thought Severson was beaten badly. But the pass was perfectly placed and Rust had forward progress. Most (all?) defensemen would have been beaten here.
NHL.com
April 22: As annoying as giving up a goal in the first minute is and as bad as it was to see the Devils run around their own zone with reckless abandon, this goal by Crosby was just a fantastic shot.  I don’t think there was much anyone could do about it.
April 22: As annoying as giving up a goal in the first minute is and as bad as it was to see the Devils run around their own zone with reckless abandon, this goal by Crosby was just a fantastic shot. I don’t think there was much anyone could do about it.
NHL.com
April 24: The eventual game winning goal on April 24 was a double deflection.  Ceci took the shot from the point, Guentzel deflected the puck that was going to go to Blackwood’s left, and the puck hit off Rust’s thighs to re-direct it into the net. That is only a bad break.
April 24: The eventual game winning goal on April 24 was a double deflection. Ceci took the shot from the point, Guentzel deflected the puck that was going to go to Blackwood’s left, and the puck hit off Rust’s thighs to re-direct it into the net. That is only a bad break.
NHL.com
April 25:  The Devils lose a defensive zone faceoff. The puck goes to Phillipe Meyers, who fired a rising shot. Sean Couturier tipped it down and past Blackwood. Couturier was close to having that be high-sticking but no.   Not much that can be done there. Except maybe covering or tying up Couturier.
April 25: The Devils lose a defensive zone faceoff. The puck goes to Phillipe Meyers, who fired a rising shot. Sean Couturier tipped it down and past Blackwood. Couturier was close to having that be high-sticking but no. Not much that can be done there. Except maybe covering or tying up Couturier.
NHL.com

Assorted Nonsense

April 11: The Devils gave up a 3-on-1 to Pittsburgh on this play.  The Penguins did not make the most of it.  But the backchecking Devils either did not or could not account for Sceviour, who found the loose puck by the net.  He curled it to the near post and jammed it in for a score.
April 11: The Devils gave up a 3-on-1 to Pittsburgh on this play. The Penguins did not make the most of it. But the backchecking Devils either did not or could not account for Sceviour, who found the loose puck by the net. He curled it to the near post and jammed it in for a score.
NHL.com
April 13: In the neutral zone, Ryan Murray tried to stick check the puck away from Kravtsov.  The puck ended up dropping for Zibanejad to take it and charge ahead. With Murray committed to the stickcheck and Butcher on the opposite side, no one was going to catch Zibanejad. He broke away and scored on Our Hated Rivals’ second breakaway of the period.
April 13: In the neutral zone, Ryan Murray tried to stick check the puck away from Kravtsov. The puck ended up dropping for Zibanejad to take it and charge ahead. With Murray committed to the stickcheck and Butcher on the opposite side, no one was going to catch Zibanejad. He broke away and scored on Our Hated Rivals’ second breakaway of the period.
NHL.com
April 17: Artemi Panarin got past Ty Smith quite easily for this shot.  It should have been stopped; the puck went in off the glove. But the rookie Smith was taken to Panarin school on this play.
April 17: Artemi Panarin got past Ty Smith quite easily for this shot. It should have been stopped; the puck went in off the glove. But the rookie Smith was taken to Panarin school on this play.
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April 22: This shot should have been stopped by Dell.  Still, Kasperi Kapanen easily used his speed to get past Siegenthaler and force him to turn, which gave the forward plenty of time to fire a shot on net that became a goal.
April 22: This shot should have been stopped by Dell. Still, Kasperi Kapanen easily used his speed to get past Siegenthaler and force him to turn, which gave the forward plenty of time to fire a shot on net that became a goal.
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April 22: This was a shorthanded goal.  Honestly, the Devils defended Blueger’s partner well.  Blueger waited until the last possible moment to look at the net and fire a shot.  It could be argued this was a stoppable shot too.  But I think the Devils abysmal power play deserves some blame for the shorthanded play happening at all.
April 22: This was a shorthanded goal. Honestly, the Devils defended Blueger’s partner well. Blueger waited until the last possible moment to look at the net and fire a shot. It could be argued this was a stoppable shot too. But I think the Devils abysmal power play deserves some blame for the shorthanded play happening at all.
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