The New Jersey Devils are one of the worst scoring teams in the league, but it is especially bad when Cory Schneider is in net. The team averages 1.63 goals per game when he is in net. If that was the norm, they would be last in the NHL.
In fact, if that was their goals per game for the entire season, they would have 133 goals. In case you are curious, the worst team ever in the expansion era was the 1998-99 Tampa Bay Lightning, and they managed to score 151 goals. If you want to look way back historically, a team hasn’t been that bad at scoring since the 1920s.
On the other hand, the Devils score around 2.96 goals per game for Martin Brodeur. If that was their year-long number, they would be in sixth place in the NHL, one spot behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins.
Why is the difference in offensive support so high? Is Brodeur finding a way to play lesser opponents? Yes, but not by much. Brodeur’s opponents average 48.4 points, while Schneider’s opponents average 49.2 points on the season.
If it isn’t playing stronger opponents, are they just used to playing Brodeur’s style? It is no question that Schneider is not a savant when it comes to playing the puck, while Brodeur may be the best ever in that regard. It may actually give the Devils more confidence since they pretty much know what Brodeur is going to do. That being said, I don’t think that it is the difference between almost a goal and a half per game.
The difference between shots against per game is just above half a shot, so the team’s defense is playing up to par. The shots for the Devils aren’t crazy different either. The Devils record 24.32 shots per game in Schneider’s starts, and 26.08 in Brodeur’s starts.
The most interesting stat is the difference in power plays for the two goalies. It doesn’t make much sense that the goalies would affect it, but it does in this case. During Schneider’s games, the Devils have been on 51 power plays total, or 2.68 per game. During Brodeur starts, they received 75 total power plays, or 3.13 per game. With the Devils’ troubles to score, they need as many power plays as they can get.
After a bad start against the Chicago Blackhawks, Brodeur’s save percentage dropped to .903 on the season. Schneider’s currently sits at .914. They both need to raise this statistic if they are going to have a chance in the division, especially Brodeur. The sad truth is that the statistics don’t say that the Devils play harder for Brodeur, and the fact that the team doesn’t score for Schneider may be down to bad luck.
It is very unlikely that the Devils will continue these historically low numbers for the rest of the season. That is good news if you’re Schneider.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their NBA, NFL and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.