Cory Schneider has been at the top of the stats sheets for most of the season. He has been top ten in save percentage and goals against average in the NHL. The only problem is he is towards the bottom of the standings in wins.
That is of no fault of his own. In his last three games, he has allowed three goals. Not three goals per game, three total goals. The Devils have helped him out by scoring three goals themselves. On the season, the New Jersey Devils have been shutout four of the ten games where Schneider was in net. Two other games the team only scored one goal. To get wins, Schneider has to be perfect.
His stats are actually better than crease mate Martin Brodeur, but the biggest difference is Schneider’s winning percentage is .200 and Brodeur’s is .583. The team just seems to play better in front of the old guy.
Schneider’s performance on Thursday was nothing short of phenomenal. He was all over the crease stopping everything the Los Angeles Kings were throwing at him. He stopped 34 of 35 shots against him, but the Devils could only muster 15 shots themselves. The Kings dominated the game, but Schneider dominated them. The only goal he allowed was a tip in off a rebound that Mark Fayne was too late to get to himself. Justin Williams was credited with the goal off of the Anze Kopitar shot. If you watched the game you wouldn’t have been surprised if the Kings won the game by four or five goals.
This was a big game emotionally for some of these Devils. The last time that most of this team was in Los Angeles they were watching Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Jeff Carter raise the Stanley Cup. They needed this win after losing to this same team on their home ice less than a week ago.
Looking towards the future, it looks bright for the Devils in the 2013-14 season. Their offense is starting to turn it around, albeit slowly. The two goaltenders are playing as well as any players in the league. Now that Schneider has finally been rewarded for his amazing play, hopefully this can become a very good run. The starting goaltender will continue to be a question mark, but it won’t matter. The team will be confident in their chances no matter who is in net.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also contributes to the NFL and MLB content for the site. You can follow him on Twitter here.