Several years ago, Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello mentioned in a Chase commercial about coming close is not good enough when better should be expected.
That's his philosophy of success, and what he expects out of his team.
Since the last two years, the Devils have been an one-and-done team. They almost advanced to the second round last year until the team fell apart in the waning seconds of Game Seven of the Devils/Hurricanes in the first round.
Martin Brodeur contributed to the team's collapse, giving up two savable goals in a span of few seconds of regulation. It was the tying goal and the game-winning goal.
The Devils finished their season. The Hurricanes played the Bruins in the next round.
Last year was unacceptable. This year will be no different if the same scenario happens.
It's one thing for folks to accept this for the last few years. The team was rebuilding with guys like Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko retiring along with Scott Niedermayer leaving to play for the Ducks.
Now, these guys grown up to the point we should expect them to make a playoff run.
Even Lamoriello expects it. He should. There's so much patience one can take of losing in the first round.
No one expects them to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings, Capitals and the Penguins are the top three teams in hockey. Those three teams feature three scoring lines along with efficient defense and adequate goaltending.
With that said, it's not too much to ask for the Devils to play in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Devils should beat the Flyers in the first round. This team has better talent and better goaltending. It comes down to who steps up.
Based on tonight's performance, it's time to worry.
This team played terrible tonight. Talk about the effort and what could have been, but it comes down to results.
This team came up lame when it matters.
The Devils were 0-for-5 in the power play. This does not win playoff games. One does not need to be a hockey aficionado to realize that.
Their star players went missing in action tonight. Patrik Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac did nothing with the puck.
When obscure players tend to take more shots and generate scoring chances than the stars, something is wrong.
Stars are paid to make it happen and make it work. If this trend continues, this is going to be a short series.
As great as the Devils are for the last two decades, they choked often in the postseason. With the talent they have, they should not be exiting early, but that's been the case.
It's an enigma to see why this unfolds all the time. The team changed coaches, but nothing seems to work.
It shows you how players matter more in the spring. Coaches can prepare and have them ready for the regular season, but all those Xs and Os go out the window come postseason.
It's about who knows how to get it done. Not even the great Scotty Bowman was immune to that. His Red Wings teams choked their fair share during their successful years.
Anyone can analyze what goes wrong. No one wants to hear that.
What the Devils need to do is perform.
So far, this group of Devils showed they can't get it done. Tonight illustrates that.
How do the Flyers go out and get couple of goals early? How did they find a way?
It took the last few minutes of the final period until the Devils scored their lone goal of the night.
This is what losing teams do right there. When the game is in control, the losing team shows up.
Did anyone expect the Devils to make a valiant comeback on this night? The Flyers decided to sit back by focusing on defense rather than attacking and scoring.
The Devils need to make it happen early. Do whatever it takes. Maybe this team needs to hit people and let other teams know it's going to be different.
For whatever reason, this team does not hit people. It hasn't happened since Stevens and Daneyko retired.
Someone on the team needs to bring that attitude. It can't hurt.
This team needs to be awaken from their slumber. If this team displays that same effort on Friday night, the Flyers will take a 2-0 lead, and this series might as well be over.
They don't have any more time to figure it out any longer.