When it comes to winning hockey games this season the New Jersey Devils have been fortunate the NHL adopted the shootout to eliminate ties. Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias scored in the shootout as the Devils fought back again from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in Florida.
The win moves New Jersey’s record in shootouts to 7-1. And, after going 2-for-3 against the Panthers, they have now scored on 16 of 23 attempts. Pretty impressive for a team that cant score consistently in regulation.
With their goals, Kovalchuk is now 5-for-6 this season and Elias improves to 3-for-5. Zach Parise had been lights out but was stopped by Jose Theodore. He also missed a game-tying penalty shot attempt against the Montreal Canadiens last week. It was only the second time he’s failed to score during the shootout in his last eight tries.
The shootout gave the Devils a win but they’ve had to rally from two or more goals again to do it. It doesn’t seem to matter who has the lead in any games the Devils have been involved in this season. No lead is safe for any team.
The Devils blew a 3-0 lead in a 4-3 loss to the Panthers in Pete DeBoer’s return to Florida last month.
The good news is that New Jersey has shown enough resolve to be able to come back from any deficit. The bad news, they keep falling behind and when they do have a lead they can’t hold onto it.
Sigh. It’s a long season but I don’t like what I’m seeing from this team. It’s up to the players to figure this one out. There is only so much the coaching staff can do.
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