They say everything is bigger in Texas. But the only thing big about Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Stars was the disappointment New Jersey Devils’ fans feel as their team racked up another loss. I’ve lost track of how long the losing streak has gone, and I know if I check I’ll only end up depressing myself.
By no stretch of the imagination is Dallas a bad team, but they were beatable last night. The Devils had the intangible advantage that Dallas was dealing with a surprise coaching change just a few hours prior. But New Jersey still failed to get even a single puck past Ben Bishop.
Big Ben Bishop
Bishop has long been one of the NHL’s best and the backbone of the Dallas Stars’ team. His shutout last night was his first of the season, but he only had to turn away a mere 25 shots from a lackluster New Jersey offense. Bishop could have taken a nap during the game’s first two periods, New Jersey struggled to get anything on net.
The more telling stat is that the Devils have lost nine straight with Ben Bishop in net. That streak even predates his time in Dallas, where he’s spent the last three seasons. Any team that faces the 6’7” goaltender is going to have a tough night. And for the Devils, it’s become almost a guaranteed loss.
On the other end of the ice, Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 33 of Dallas’s 35 shots, a .943 save percentage. That looks great compared to his average 0.902 save percentage this season, but that’s a small consolation prize for another Devils’ loss.
Struggles To Score Continue
All season long the Devils have struggled to score, but last night was at an entirely different level. If the final result of a shutout wasn’t bad enough, the Devils only got nine shots on goal in the first two minutes, including only two in the first period. That total made me want to take shots of alcohol to numb the pain of watching this team.
The Devils only had two shots the entire first period, which matches the number of goals Dallas scored in the game’s opening frame. Radek Faksa scored under two minutes in, followed by Joe Pavelski at just before the twelve-minute mark. Those would be the games only tallies.
Not a single goal was scored on the man advantage for either team, as New Jersey went 0 for 3 and Dallas went 0 for 5. The Devils were also obliterated in the face-off circle, where Dallas won 67% of face-offs. The two statistics in New Jersey’s favor was 28 blocked shots, compared to Dallas’ 8. The second statistic was the shot totals from Blake Coleman and a still struggling P.K. Subban. Both had four apiece, the most on either team except for Denis Gurianov, who had six for Dallas.
The Third Period
If there was a silver lining of maybe something, the Devils did better this game, it’s that the third period was their best period; granted, the bar was set incredibly low by the first and second periods. Still, the Devils are known for the games last 20 minutes traditionally being their weakest.
Blackwood was pulled with just under three minutes remaining, as the Devils hoped to get two quick goals. A penalty to Sami Vatanen killed any hopes and sent Blackwood back to his crease. The referees would then miss a high sticking call on Tyler Seguin, which drew blood from the hometown kid Blake Coleman, on what could have helped the Devils.
The more than newly minted Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness gets his first career win. His counterpart on the other bench, Alain Nasreddine, is still waiting for his first. New Jersey is back in action on Friday against a high flying Colorado Avalanche team.