The New Jersey Devils looked slow and listless against the New York Islanders on Saturday night. Especially in the first period, where the Devils only mustered up two shots, the team looked like they were the ones just playing out the string.
After only getting a point, the Devils fall five points out of a playoff spot. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings both won, giving them the Wild Card lead. Now the Devils not only have to overcome a five-point deficit, but they have to jump the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals along the way.
Adam Henrique was the only player to score for the Devils. He has been the only player who has consistently scored during the Devils run toward the playoffs. He really could use some help from any of the other “scorers” on this team.
The Islanders were much more physical than the Devils were. This was confusing since the Devils went big with their forwards. They put Steve Bernier back into the lineup after he was a healthy scratch for the past few games. They put Dainius Zubrus at center and took out Jacob Josefson. The issue was that the team decided to go small on the defensive front with the healthy scratch of Anton Volchenkov and the injury to Bryce Salvador. Instead, they put in 185-pound Peter Harrold on the blue line.
The game once again ended in a shootout. The Devils, once again, lost in the shootout. They, once again, allowed the other team to score in the shootout before they even took a shot. They didn’t even score a goal in the shootout, making them 1-for-30 on the season. Those numbers are appalling.
This was one of the worst performances of the year for the Devils. The Islanders are missing John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Evgeni Nabokov, Michael Grabner, Brian Strait and Lubomir Visnovsky. Even with only part of the lineup on the ice, the Isles still walked out with the win.
These games are the ones the Devils are going to be kicking themselves about at the end of the season. From the looks of it, it seems that they are going to be on the outside of the playoff bubble when the season ends on April 13. The whole organization will look back on this season and circle these losses as the reason why it was not successful.