Shootout Could End Up Costing New Jersey Devils Playoff Spot

By Nick Villano
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils are currently in a four team tie for the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.  Unfortunately, the team is currently winless in six games that ended in a shootout.  If they could have won any of those six games, they would currently be in sole possession of third place and the last guaranteed playoff spot.

Not only are the Devils bad at the shootout — they are atrocious.  Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider seem to hold up their end of the bargain, but the shooters are just awful.  The goalies could be a little better, saving 64 and 50 percent respectively, but if the shooters did not put so much pressure on them they could excel.   The team is currently 1-for-20 on the season in shootout attempts.  The only player to score in the extra session was Reid Boucher who has only had one attempt and is a rookie.

Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias are the main culprits, going scoreless in four attempts apiece.  Ryane Clowe, Adam Henrique, Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, and Damien Brunner have all had multiple attempts without scoring one goal.  The shootout had a lot to do with the fall of the Devils last season; this season is looking like it is going the same way.

The Devils lost another point on Friday night when they lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the shootout.  Of course, you want to beat these teams in regulation, but when it goes to a shootout the team has to respond at some point.

Jagr is a guy who is noted that he hates the shootout, but even he is giving it a shot to try to help the team out.  He actually had the best attempt of everyone on the team.

The shooters just seem to have a defeated attitude when it comes to the shootout.  Elias was disgusted with his attempt on Curtis McElhinney on Friday as he went in and threw it right at the goalie.  These easy shots should not be happening in the shootout, but they happen all too often for the Devils.

Can it be fixed?  It needs to be.  They won 12 out of 16 shootout games in the 2011-12 season, but Brodeur hasn’t won a shootout since.  They really miss the tag team of Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk in this regard.  They need to find someone to take the reigns and start scoring shootout goals.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports.  He also adds to their NFL, NBA and MLB content.  You can follow him on Twitter here.

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