Cory Schneider was playing like one of the best goalies in the NHL prior to the break. He was second in the league in goals against average and in the top 10 in save percentage. He was a cautionary tale because of how the New Jersey Devils could not score for him, wasting many great performances.
The opposite seems to the the case lately. Since the break, the Devils are 1-3 with Schneider in net, and they are 4-0 with Martin Brodeur between the pipes. This is a huge cause for concern, especially since goals aren’t as hard to come by. Brodeur beat the Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings, three teams who the Devils are fighting with in the crazy playoff race. Schneider has not helped the Devils in the standings at all.
In the past four games, He has allowed 17 goals; his save percentage is hovering around .800 in the month of March. He allowed seven goals to the Red Wings when the team beat them a few nights prior. This is unacceptable play from the guy who is supposed to carry the Devils into the playoffs.
The loss to the Florida Panthers was the worst. The Devils had a two-goal lead with about seven minutes left in the second. By exactly half way through the third, the team was losing. All of the goals were 5-on-5 goals, and they weren’t outlandish goals, either. A few trickled past Schneider, others were on juicy rebounds (an issue for him all season), and one was just right through his five hole. All this against the 25th ranked offense an the 27th ranked defense.
This loss will be one to look back on if the Devils miss the playoffs. They are currently in sixth place in the Metropolitan. As of this writing, it looks like they will be chasing the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final playoff spot, as they are three points outside of them. A win tonight with a Columbus loss will put them only a point back of the playoffs.
There are only 15 games left in the season. With the playoff race as tight as it is, the Devils cannot waste anymore points. Schneider needs to turn around this slump if the Devils are going to have any chance at the postseason. If he can’t get it together, the Devils are going to need to rely on Brodeur.