Are the New Jersey Devils on the path to getting back on track? Coach Pete DeBoer thinks so.
“It’s never perfect in a coach’s eyes,” DeBoer said when he addressed the media yesterday. “But I think we’re getting rewarded for some of our hard work lately, which is what we need and hopefully, we can build on that.”
The team has reached a critical juncture of the season: the halfway point. However, this year is different. There aren’t 41 games left. In this lockout shortened season, there are only 20. Points are at a premium and lately, the Devils haven’t been getting too many.
After a six-game skid, they have won two of their last three, though both were in shootouts. The team has not been on the winning side of a regulation game since beating the Washington Capitals on Feb. 21. They also haven’t had two wins in a row since early February. Another slump and the team will miss the post season for the second time in three years.
The Devils are barely holding onto the seventh playoff spot with the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets breathing down their necks. Even the Philadelphia Flyers, who are currently in 11th place in the conference, are only four points behind.
“Obviously Philly is playing for their life here and we should have the same mindset,” DeBoer said in an interview with the Star Ledger. “We’re in the stretch run and I think both teams are going to compete at a very high level. For us the biggest challenge is going to be channeling that energy and emotion and to play controlled.”
Something else the team needs is goals. It’s time for the top guns to start putting the puck in the net.
The rivalry between the Devils and the Flyers is heated, to say the least, which will make tonight’s contest at the Prudential Center and Friday’s rematch down the Turnpike something to watch.
Dawn Miller is a New Jersey Devils writer for www.RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dawnsmiller, “Like” her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dawn-Miller/393662124056436 or add her to your network on Google.