Before continuing, please read Wednesday's recap of the shootout win by the New Jersey Devils over the Calgary Flames. The biggest issue from that game by the Devils was their abysmal puck movement, which resulted in a lack of offense. Now, I don't know about you, but given that the Devils roster are all professionals as are the coaches, one would think the Devils would do something about that in today's game.
Whoever thought that (e.g. me) was dead wrong. They learned little from Wednesday's game and played like it. The New York Islanders scored fairly early into the game as Jesse Joensuu put home an excellent one-timer from an equally-excellent feed from Frans Nielsen. Here's the radical thing, the home team didn't let up until a while after scoring a second goal, a near-perfect shot by Rob Schremp . Yes, by the end of the game, the Devils would out shoot the Isles 29-20 overall but check the game summary. The first period was 13-5 in favor of the Islanders and the second period only became 11-6 in favor of New Jersey later in the period. In the first half of the game, the Isles dominated the puck and controlled the game whereas the Devils struggled to move the puck up ice. The Devils only found more offensive success in the third period when the game was 2-0 and so the Isles let their foot off the proverbial gas pedal. To put it another way, the Devils came out flat and the Islanders drove all over them until they got a large enough lead they could defend - which they successfully did.
Actually, the Isles did more than that. They managed to hand the Devils a 5-on-3 for 58 seconds followed by a near 3-minute power play in the third period. Of course, true to the rest of this season, the Devils didn't score. Even if they did, who knows if they would have gotten a second goal. Ultimately, they didn't even get one as the Devils lost to the Islanders 2-0. It's nice to see a team outshoot another 13-1, but it's hollow if there's no goals scored and it happens while the team is losing. It's not so much "too little," as it was "too late" and "throwing up crap and hoping it sticks" (which it did - right to Rick DiPietro).
Today really is rock bottom for this season. The New York Islanders have not had a 2-goal lead since mid-October and have lost their last 14 games. The Devils are now the team that lost to the Islanders. We now know that the 5-0 win against Washington on Monday was the exception to this season. We know that they have learned little from that game outside of Johan Hedberg being an acceptably good goaltender. We know that this team has some thing seriously wrong with it that prevents them from understanding fundamentals like passing, understanding things like communication and matchups, and understanding what it takes to win hockey games.
Devils fans all around the world are angry. If not, they should be. This is simply ridiculous. Of course, both fans and outsiders will all have their narratives to promote and scapegoats to blame. Some of you are already writing about it already. What about me? I say this is a team failure and leave it at that. I'm not going to look for silver linings. Not after yet another loss to a divisional opponent, another shut out loss (4th one this month), and a loss to the Islanders who lost their last 14 games. If you want to find some, then by all means, go ahead in the comments. To help you out, here's the event summary of the game and the 5-on-5 Corsi charts from Time on Ice.
If anything substantial is going to happen, then it's likely going to wait until after tomorrow when the glorious and vastly superior Philadelphia Flyers will come down from their clouds to get in contact with the dreadful Devils for a game of competitive hockey, something the Devils have struggled throughout this season.
In any case, this is it for me today. After all, if the Devils aren't going to put a full effort in, then why should I? After the jump, I've add a video of the game highlights from NHL.com; should you want to view them for some reason. Please leave your thoughts, who you want to blame, what you want to happen, and other complaints and missives about this game in the comments. Thank you for reading, I wish the team would perform at a level that the fans deserve.