All you have to do is look at the shot differential to understand how bad the Devils played. They were outshot 37 to 12 as the Blackhawks had more than three times as many shots as the Devils had through 60 minutes. The Devils played in their zone for most of the game.
The Devils had a real shot coming into this game with starting goalie Corey Crawford injured. They played Antti Raanta, who was not on his game as he allowed two goals on the 12 shots he faced.
On the other side, Cory Schneider did all he could with the barrage of shots, but he was done in by the Devils’ inability to clear the puck and a few mistakes of his own. The first goal by Patrick Sharp was a wrist shot that tipped off of Mark Fayne but still seemed like it was blockable. The second goal was all Schneider’s fault. He went to make a glove save on a shot by Nick Leddy, but instead of grabbing it he only tipped it right to Patrick Kane. You can assume what happened after that. The rest of the goals either rang off the post or came on a breakaway, all of which were not the goalie’s fault.
Despite the lack of offense, the Devils were still in the game in the third period. Michael Ryder continued his hot streak less than a minute into the third period when he scored off a forehand backhand past Raanta. That goal cut the deficit to 3-2 and gave the team temporary life. That was until a bad defensive play led to Sharp’s breakaway goal just five minutes later.
There are many things to point to that the Devils need to fix from this night, but there should not be an overreaction. They played the defending Stanley Cup Champions and the league’s leading scoring team on their home ice and got demolished. These things happen. They have to regroup and get ready for Columbus on Friday night. They will enjoy the break they get for Christmas, and hopefully so will all of the readers.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds content to the NBA, NFL and MLB sections of the site. You can follow him on Twitter for more sports information.