The jet lag from Montreal must have been worse than we thought. At least that’s the only excuse I can think for the New Jersey Devils’ absolutely pitiful effort yesterday, and there isn’t even a time difference between New York and Montreal. And to make it hurt even more, it was against the hated New York Rangers.
Even with Jack Hughes out, Devils and Rangers’ matchups are always well anticipated. Saturday’s matinee was an absolute heart breaker for Devils fans, as Rangers fans left with their heads held high, which is always a disappointing sight at Prudential Center.
The Power Plays
Remember when we used to get excited for power plays? We were at the beginning of Saturday’s game. But as the game went on, we lost that excitement.
The Devils got six separate chances on the man advantage, including a double minor and a five-minute major, which “technically” equates to 8 power plays. The Devils got power plays like the refs were giving them out for free at a Black Friday store. Instead they blew every chance. Every. Single. Chance.
All of the Rangers three goals came on the special teams. The first goal was a power play goal off of an Adam Fox wrist shot. The next two goals would be shorthanded goals on Devils’ power plays. Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast both had one-timer snapshots for tallies two and three.
Let’s Talk About The Goalies
Mackenzie Blackwood has been the Devils’ best goaltender all year. On the other side of the ice, Georgiev has been coming off a tough string of games that say him surrender 10 goals on 66 shots. Devils fans were hoping that stretch would continue.
By no means is Georgiev a bad goalie, but the Devils caught him at an opportune time. Instead, all that goal-scoring the Devils seemed to find in Montreal was nowhere to be found. No matter how good of a chance the Devils had to score, and they had plenty, Georgiev was a brick wall.
Late in the third, after all hope had been sucked off at the Prudential Center, the Devils almost finally got one passed the elusive Georgiev. The play was stopped prior to the goal crossing the goal line, but the play still went to review. The review confirmed the on-ice call, and the Devils were still scoreless.
Odds and Ends
After their impressive showing against the Montreal Canadiens, the Coleman, Zajac, Gusev line continued to be the Devils’ best line (Gusev’s third-period penalty seems to be the exception). By then the game was so far out of hand to pin that on him.
Brendan Lemieux, son former Devils Conn Smythe Winner, and Stanley Cup champion Claude Lemieux, had a pretty good game for the Rangers. He picked up an assist and has evolved to a consistent NHL player, even if he doesn’t have head-turning offensive abilities. The Devils passed over him to take John Quenneville with the 30th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
By no means am I advocating for head coach John Hynes to get fired or am I defending him, but this game definitely calls his status into question. There’s no way to turn a blind eye to the monstrosity that’s was this team’s performance on Saturday. The decision to pull Blackwood when they were already down 3-0 at the end of the third was completely pointless. I’m not saying Hynes is getting fired, but if there was ever a game to convince Ray Shero and the front office to do so, we just saw it.