For most of this season, the New Jersey Devils have been winning on the backs of their goaltenders Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur. Lately, that isn’t the case.
In the past four games, Brodeur has allowed four, three, three and five goals. In his previous nine games, he allowed three goals only once. He is now the loser of five out of his last six games after going on a run that saw him win five games in a row. Tuesday’s game was the worst he has had all season. The Devils have only allowed five goals once this season, and that was back when they were 0-4-3.
It is a shame that the team blew such a good offensive performance. Damien Brunner seems to be out of his slump with a two-goal performance, while Michael Ryder continued to be on fire with another goal in this game. It was his third goal this month after he scored only one in all of October.
The Devils even saw Travis Zajac score a goal for the second game in a row. The team is finally finding a way to create offense outside of Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr, but it isn’t resulting in wins because of the back side of the ice.
Brodeur needs to get back to the player he was two weeks ago. The Devils need their one-two punch of him, and Schneider needs to be elite if they are going to contend in the Eastern Conference this season. All these losses makes that seem like a long shot.
Brodeur has looked increasingly slow at times. He doesn’t bounce back to stop a rebound like he seemed to be doing earlier in the season. He tends to lean on his defense a little more, which can be inconsistent on this team. Most of the goals he let in against the Columbus Blue Jackets were either off a rebound or were poked in the net. That part is on the defense.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier with the team going to Pittsburgh on Friday night. Consol Energy Center will be buzzing with a division rival in the house. The Devils’ goaltenders need to play much better if they are going to have any chance. The Devils beat them once earlier in year when Brodeur had a great game. If they want the result to be the same, they are going to need a similar performance.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their MLB and NFL content. You can follow him on Twitter here.