Monday night, the Devils dropped their second straight in overtime, losing to the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. Frustrations are building among players and fans alike as they blew the lead in the final 2 mintues for the third consecutive game, falling in two of them.
Against the Dallas Stars on January 30, Stars forward Tyler Seguin scored with 51 seconds left in the third period to tie the game 2-2 before Patrik Elias was eventually able to score the game winner in overtime to give the Devils the victory.
The following night on January 31, the Devils took on the Nashville Predators. Leading 2-1 late in the third, Preds forward David Legwand was able to redirect a shot past Cory Schneider to tie the game at 2-2 (sound familiar). However, the Devils fell 3-2 in overtime when Shea Weber scored on Schneider in overtime.
And tonight, the Devils blew a 1-0 lead late in the third when Colorado Avalanche forward P.A. Parenteau redirected a shot past Schneider with 1:47 left to tie the game 1-1. In overtime, while on a power play, Ryan O'Reilly beat Schneider in overtime. As Cory Schneider skated off the ice, he slammed his stick on the ice, breaking it in half in clear frustration. After the game tonight, he called this current streak of blowing leads "excruciating." Even head coach Peter DeBoer was discouraged by the inability to close out games late, saying "It's unlucky until it keeps happening over and over and over again."
The inability to close games is just another side effect of a serious problem this team has- goal scoring. In all the games, the Devils controlled play, generated the cycle effectively in the offensive zone, and outshooting their opponents by 4 shots over the three games. Especially tonight, the Devils were clearly the better team through the first 58 minutes. However, when your team only scores one goal by a 4th liner (Ryan Carter), it is tough to win games. The Jagr-Zajac-Zubrus line was excellent tonight, carrying the play for the most part and keeping the Avalanche player on their heels. And a famous quote, "You gotta be lucky to be good, and you gotta be good to be lucky" rang true tonight, as the Devils rang shots off the post four times tonight and had one more chance where the puck stopped on the goal line before Avalanche goalie Jean-Sébastien Giguère was able to cover the puck.
Should the Devils make any moves at the trade deadline, it would most likely come on the offensive side of the puck. Defensively, they are fifth best in the league in goals against per game, and number one in the league in shots against per game. Offensively, however, they are last in the league in shots for per game, and fifth worst in goals for per game. Clearly, the focus is obvious- get offense