The New Jersey Devils have had a rough season so far in 2013-14. They started the season as the last team to record a win and have been trying to climb up the standings ever since. They are currently sitting in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, but are only three points out of a playoff spot. If they come out of the break hot, they could easily make the playoffs.
The problem is that this team is having a ton of trouble scoring so far. Their team is ranked 27th in goals per game with 2.3, and they have been even worse lately. This statistic has been beaten into the ground when talking about the Devils’ season.
However, this can all turn around in the second half thanks to the way the schedule plays out.
First of all, the Devils no longer have to play the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins or the Chicago Blackhawks — the four teams with the best records in the NHL — which will make life much easier for them in the last 23 games. Of those 23 games, they have five against teams that have more than 70 points, which means that they won’t have many nights where the team they are facing is much better than they are as currently constructed.
They have seven games with teams that are directly ahead of them competing for playoff spots. They could theoretically get four point swings every time they win those games. That will give the Devils some semblance of control of their own destiny.
Everyone will have a chance to stay healthy throughout the break, seeing that Damien Brunner, Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky are all out of contention for their respective countries. They don’t have the problems that the New York Islanders (John Tavares) and the New York Rangers (Mats Zuccarello) are currently dealing with.
The Devils are as primed as ever to make a run to the playoffs in the Metro. If they can’t play better than they have, then there is something seriously wrong. This is what the Devils should want going into the stretch run of the year. Hopefully, they take advantage of it.