The New Jersey Devils, who have not missed the playoffs since the 1995-96 season, are in danger of not making the postseason this year. This is a surprise to the NHL and a disappointment to the team's fans, who have seen early playoff exits in the last three years.
The Devils struggled out of the gate and fired their coach John MacLean in December when they had a 9-22-2 record and were last in the Eastern Conference. They lost Martin Brodeur and Zach Parise, two members of their core, to injuries and Ilya Kovalchuk was not producing at the level he was expected to after signing a mega-deal over the summer.
However, things have been getting better for New Jersey. They are 16-1-2 in their last 19 games, Kovalchuk is stepping up and backup goalie Johan Hedberg has been reliable.
So can the Devils make the playoffs?
Let's look at how they are faring and see what they can do in the last quarter of the season.
Regardless of my prediction, feel free to let me know what you think New Jersey's chances are in the comments section.
Alison Myers is an NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins Featured Columnist. You may reach her at Alison.Myers@mail.com or follow her on Twitter.