There's still time for the Devils to turn this season around, without a major hot streak. Just slow, steady progress (obviously starting son, but that's beside the point of this post.) I've seen estimates of up to 92 or 93 points being required to make the playoffs. I postulated here that it could take as little as 86 based on recent history. For the sake of argument here, we'll split the difference and round up. This means for this post, I'm assuming that 90 points will be sufficient to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. I will demonstrate how that doesn't look like the impossible dream after the jump.
First some starting points to set up where we are. The Devils current record is 5-11-2. I will break the season down month-by-month. Since November is half over (based on games played), I will halve the expectation for points over .500. Basically, I'm stating that if they are generally 2 or 3 games over .500 per month, they can end up with 90 points.
In November so far they are 2-3-1. If they can finish November one game over .500 for the month, they will be at 20 points. Assuming 3-1-2 for the rest of the month (4-2 will result in the same point count, but let's be a little less aggressive), they get there at 8-12-4.
December has 13 games. With the extra game, they need to be 3 games over .500. Let's call this 7-4-2. This brings the season record to 15-16-6 and 36 points.
January has 12 games, so the requirement is +2. 7-5 gets us there (I don't want to use too many OTLs so they finish the season at the league average of 10). Overall, 22-21-6, 50 points.
February has 13 games, they need to hit +3. Let's use 7-4-2. Now they're at 29-25-8 and 66 points.
March has 14 games, again, +3 is the goal. Call it 8-5-1. Overall now 37-30-9, 83 points.
April only has 6 games, so I'm going back to the +1 requirement at 3-2-1. They finish the season at 40-32-10, 90 points.
January and February look like a pretty difficult months with 7 road games apiece. December only has 5, so perhaps they ought to have a bigger goal for December. But regardless, slow, steady improvement is all that is necessary to at least be in the range for making the playoffs.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. For the Devils, that step is a victory in Toronto tomorrow night. The journey to the playoffs begins with just one win!