Devils Must Count on Kinkaid Down the Stretch

Goaltender Cory Schneider has missed a large period of the season due to injury. –Getty Images

If I told Devils fans before the season that in late March their team would be facing a goalie controversy, I would’ve been ridiculed. The Devils are locked in a fierce battle for a playoff position and do not have a primary goaltender. How have Kinkaid and Schneider performed? What would be a good way to attack the rest of the season? Hopefully, this article will help fans understand what the Devils are currently facing, and what option is the most viable.

Breakdown of Performances

Table A:

Cory Schneider Keith Kinkaid
Record 17-14-6 19-10-2
GAA 2.88 2.90
Sv% (total) .909 .908
Sv% (5-on-5) .918 .907

 

Table B:

Cory Schneider Keith Kinkaid
Record 0-9-1 7-3-0
GAA 3.95 2.18
Sv% (total) .869 .936
Sv% (5-on-5) .882 .935

 

Analysis of Statistics

Each of the above two tables tells a very different story from one another. From Table A, which describes each respective goaltender’s season statistics, you can deduce both options have been pretty even. However, Table B shows a much different picture in their recent performances. Over each netminder’s last ten starts the results are baffling; as Keith Kinkaid has been the far superior goalie. He has produced a great five-on-five save percentage, which has resulted in him holding opponents to fewer goals. It’s the polar opposite when examining Schneider’s recent play. He is winless in his last 11 games and has allowed almost four goals per game during that stretch. Whether this is due to Schneider’s battle with injury or lack of consecutive starts, Kinkaid has outplayed him by a wide margin.

To give more insight on why I included the first table, many wrote Keith Kinkaid off as a terrible backup option. Fans were even urging the Devils to trade for a new backup during the recent trade deadline. These arguments had validation behind them as Kinkaid was just miserable early in the season. However, as evident by Table B, Kinkaid has done a masterful job in turning his season around and is the main reason why the Devils still are barely holding on to a playoff spot. The main point I am conveying about Table A is I am amazed that each goaltender’s season statistics are now even. It just goes to show how well Kinkaid has played down the stretch, and how ineffective Cory Schneider has been in recent months.

Goaltender Keith Kinkaid has been a pleasant surprise during the second half of the season. –Getty Images

Conclusion

Only nine games remain in the season, which means the Devils must play their best hockey to guarantee themselves a playoff spot. With this mindset, the answer to who should be in net is a very simple one; the goaltender who gives your team the best chance to come away with a victory. After examining the tables above, Keith Kinkaid is the answer. Many may argue that you must aid Cory Schneider in regaining his confidence, so he is ready to go for playoff time. However, with not much time until the first round of the playoffs begin and being in a position that doesn’t guarantee you a postseason position; there cannot be any “confidence-gaining” starts. As long as Kinkaid is out-dueling Schneider, which he’s been for a while now, he must be in between the pipes.

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