New Jersey Devils Are Flying Into the Break

Nicholas McCutcheonContributor IOctober 22, 2016

The All-Star break is coming at the worst time for the Devils as they are playing some of their best hockey of the season.

New Jersey (29-15-3) has won five straight, four of those coming on the road, and have taken a one point lead in the tight Atlantic division.

The Devils were left for dead following the injury to Martin Brodeur and the subsequent slump that followed. However the team has rebounded, gotten healthy, and are poised to be a real threat in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Zach Parise will be spending his break in Montreal, competing in his first career All-Star game. Parise finished the first half with a team-high in points (55) and goals (28). The star from Minnesota has become the teams best forechecker, despite his diminutive size.

Patrick Elias, snubbed from competing in the All-Star game despite 54 points and 34 assists, has helped to change the notion that the Devils are all defense all the time.

Devil throwbacks, Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik, have rejuvenated their careers and brought back some of the toughness that New Jersey hockey has been known for the last decade.

Brendan Shanahan, 40, cashed in a goal in only his second period of a second tour of duty with the Devils. Shanahan not only adds a scoring touch to New Jersey, but also  knows how to win, having captured three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings during his career.

It will be tough for the Devils to remain hot enough to hold off teams like the Rangers and Flyers, who are both within two points of New Jersey, however the Devils have proved that there can be life without Brodeur.

Brodeur skated for the first time last week and is scheduled for a late February to early March return to the team. Fans should not expect a controversy surrounding the starting job, no matter how well Scott Clemmenson may be playing.