The New Jersey Devils Face Their Own March Madness

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IMarch 8, 2012

After a frustrating shutout at the hands of the New York Islanders followed by a quick bounce-back dismantling the New York Rangers, six of the Devils' seven next games will have a major impact on the Atlantic Division and the playoffs.

Starting tonight, the Devils will look to avenge their March 4th shutout in back-to-back games against the Isles. After they leave New York, New Jersey will return home to face the Flyers in back-to-back action. 

After the Avalanche come to visit on March 15, the Battle for the Atlantic continues against Pittsburgh and the Rangers, with one last trip to Pittsburgh at the end of March to end inter-division play for the month. 

This month is the Devils' own personal March Madness. 

Sitting atop not only the Atlantic but the entire NHL is the New York Rangers with 91 points. As untouchable as they seem, the Devils are only 11 points back, and the Rangers' play as of late has been suspect at best. 

New Jersey has the potential to leapfrog not only Philadelphia but Pittsburgh as well. Pittsburgh's playoff position is the all-important fourth seed, which is the last home ice-advantage slot in the East. 

The Florida Panthers will match up against the Flyers and Penguins while the Devils are busy with the Islanders. Then on March 11 Philly comes to the Prudential Center. That's when the real fun begins.

Who will win the Atlantic? Can the Devils capture home-ice advantage? Who is going to step up their game for their respective teams and carry them on their back all the way into the playoffs?

March will be the Devils' month.