The Devils squared off with Minnesota Tuesday and showed little improvement upon their season of struggles that lasted its 40th game.
The New Jersey Devils continue to find different ways to lose hockey games. Tuesday night, the Devils fell to the Minnesota Wild 2-1 after a freakish bounce on a goal by Clayton Stoner. Besides the fluky goal against the Devils, the game showed a lot of indicators of why the team now has a 10-26-2 record.
First, they came out pretty flat, putting up just one measly shot on goal in the entire first period and didn't execute any better than that stat indicates. It almost seemed as if the team had never played a hockey game together, as they had trouble connecting on passes, and didn't work too well together. They were lucky in a lot of ways to only be down a goal at the intermission. Ilya Kovalchuk scored his team-leading 10th goal early in the second before Stoner's goal early in the third provided the margin of victory for Minnesota.
All in all, it was another game where the Devils either couldn't or just plain didn't give a consistent enough effort and got ultimately what they deserved. A lot of people put a big part of the blame for this team's downfall on the rookie head coach of John MacLean, but if the six games since Jacques Lemaire has taken over have proven anything, it's that the New Jersey Devils have a LOT of things to correct.
There may have been some small improvements in their defensive end, as far as preventing goals and even scoring chances. However, the defensive zone breakouts continue to be a disaster. Any offensive flow is pretty non-existent. Pretty much everything I pointed out a little under a month ago continues to be problematic.
While the players and coaches at least hint at some improvements, it's not like the outlook for the last 42 games appears to be too rosy, but if Devils fans can have anything to look forward to, it's maybe that some trades will be on the horizon soon with the trade deadline coming on February 28th.
Rumors in the Boston Globe about Zach Parise wanting out of New Jersey were refuted to an extent in this Fire & Ice post, but guys like Dainius Zubrus, Brian Rolston, Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott probably should think about contingency plans for their families if the call were to come down.
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