Another road game equals another loss for the New Jersey Devils.
This time it hurts even more because it came against a division rival in the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reigning Vezina winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 of the Devils’ 25 shots while helping his team improve to 4-5. The Devils now own a lowly 1-5-3 record going into the end of the NHL season’s first month.
The Devils were once again quiet on offense after an unexpected explosion against the New York Rangers. Michael Ryder continues to play up to expectations, but he was the only one on Tuesday night. Ryder made one of the nicest snipes you will see on the power play to get it past Bobrovsky. Beyond that, the Devils’ offense was once again hard to find. Many of their shots were getting blocked, and they didn’t have many good chances after they went down 2-1 in the second period.
The defense played better, but it still had holes. They let Blue Jacket players get juicy rebounds in front of the net. Poor Cory Schneider will look bad on the score sheet, but that is not the case. Of the three goals that he allowed (and one empty netter), all were redirected in some way. One time it hit off a skate, a stick and a skate again until it trickled out in front of the net for an easy put in by Brandon Dubinsky. That isn’t something you want to blame, but Schneider just had bad luck on Tuesday night.
Damien Brunner made his return but was very quiet. It seemed Peter DeBoer held him back coming off his upper body injury. He only played 11 minutes on the ice and recorded one shot. He was a non-factor in this game.
The fact of the matter is the Devils have to play better; there’s no other way to put it at this point. They are quickly falling further and further away from contention. This entire division will eventually turn itself around. If the Devils are a part of that turnaround could be a completely different story.