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NHL New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils Continue to Struggle Without Ilya Kovalchuk

Ed Mulholland – US PRESSWIRE

The New Jersey Devils simply aren’t finishing games. Though they’ve collected points in five consecutive games, the Devils lost three straight in overtime to close out a streaky month of March. Two overtime losses came to bottom-of-the-conference Florida teams, featuring squandered leads and late-game collapses.

After responding quite poorly to Martin Brodeur‘s injury, it was easy to question whether the Devils had the ability to endure an injury to Ilya Kovalchuk given all he does for the team. The power play has certainly struggled without Kovy, and top-line production has been limited considerably. Still, New Jersey is playing better as a team, battling through tough games to collect points.

Though the end result could have been better for New Jersey, they’ll take points in their battered state.

While it is easy to be disappointed by a three-game losing streak, the five-game points streak New Jersey is riding with a healthy Brodeur in net should be viewed as a positive. New Jersey collapsed without their goaltender, and a similar fate could have been possible when they lost their biggest offensive weapon. So far, New Jersey has avoided disaster with resilient play.

The Devils are getting timely production from their role players, and the defense has been sharper with Brodeur handling the puck. Their forechecking system is back on track, and the team has responded.

While it would have been nice to come away with two points in any of the past three games, New Jersey should be happy with points as they continue to push towards the playoffs — even without Ilya Kovalchuk.