The New Jersey Devils have been surprising all season long, beating teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings on their way to a 17-14-5 record. They haven’t been great, but they have been much better than most people expected.
The problem with the Devils is they are terrible when they play the worst teams in the league. They already have eight losses and only three wins against the worst eight teams in the NHL. If you take those games out altogether, this team would be four games over .500.
Why can this team beat some of the best in the league, but play like they want the top draft pick when they play the bottom feeders? There really isn’t something central to point at, but when they lose this team tends to play really badly.
You must give coach John Hynes credit for what he has done with a depleted roster, but the lack of showing up to games against inferior opponents is frustrating. It seems this team takes what they perceive as bad teams lightly.
The Devils just came off of a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The same Carolina Hurricanes that don’t rank in the top 20 in any major stat. The Devils have lost both games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the worst team in the conference.
If the Devils won their two games against the Blue Jackets, they’d be in a playoff spot right now. With how close the race in the Eastern Conference is, one game could make or break everything. The Devils have lost that one game too often this season. If they want to truly be contenders, they need to bring the same intensity to every game. This team is not good enough to take any night off. They need to be at 100 percent on a nightly basis if they want to stay in the playoff race.