Everyone plays a hard-working game across the board but comes up short on the one that counts, the scoreboard. The end result remains the same, another tally in the loss column.
However, the number of games left is rapidly decreasing and the Devils now find themselves out of a playoff spot.
Yes, theoretically there isn’t a need to panic because they are only missing the last slot by a point. Yet, the time for excuses is over. The bottom line remains clear. This team is not able to put the puck in the net and you cannot win games if you can’t score.
“The guys did everything we asked them to do but score,” Coach Pete DeBoer lamented in a post game comments in The Star Ledger. “You can’t fault their effort or their execution of the game plan. That’s a good team and a tough building. I thought we played a heck of a road game. It’s that time of year, though. You have to forget about it, move forward and get ready for the next one.”
“I think we’ve played a handful of games like this and haven’t gotten rewarded,” DeBoer continued. “I feel for the guys because the effort is there. On a lot of nights we’re just not on the right end of it.”
While all of this is true, it does not change a thing. The team may be missing former captain Zach Parise and his 30-plus goals, but Parise was also a streaky goal scorer. He would go through stretches where he couldn’t find the back of the net either. This was especially true in the playoffs last year. Yet, the team still managed to win.
The acquisition of Steve Sullivan is an interesting one as well given all the possibilities at the trade deadline. If general manager Lou Lamoriello wanted an aging forward with a scoring touch, he could have kept Petr Sykora. Sykora had an outstanding year for the Devils last year and could have definitely helped the club in that department all season long. The lockout-shortened schedule would have favored him as well. Instead, he was let go in training camp and is scoring goals in Europe.
While Sullivan certainly deserves an opportunity, it may very well be too late for that. Lamoriello has been saying since the summer that he would like to obtain a high-scoring forward. Well, the offseason could literally be 11 games away so he will have plenty of time to look around for one before training camp in the fall.