The Devils were one minute and 47 seconds away from wrapping up a tremendous home victory over the Colorado Avalanche when the worst thing happened again. Patrick Roy pulled his goalie and the Avalanche drew even with the Devils, knotting the score at one goal apiece. Soon enough, the Devils would go on to lose in overtime when the Avalanche’s Ryan O’Reilly netted his 21st goal of the year on the power play.
The waning-moments lead slippage is a trend the Devils just cannot afford to continue. This is the third consecutive game in which they have allowed their opposition to tie the game as fans were heading for the exits; it has cost them points in the last two games, not to mention the erosion of their confidence.
Monday’s game was just another unfortunate ending for goalie Cory Schneider, who played his heart out for 60-plus minutes, only to come away with another loss under his belt. The Devils had played an all-around good defensive game, holding the Avalanche to just 25 shots in the game (with about three minutes to go, the Avalanche only had five for the whole third period), but as time evaporated, they put four more on target, including the game-tying goal and then the winner in overtime.
Offensively, it was the same old story for the Devils, who got one goal and couldn’t make it hold up, while missing multiple chances to make it two. Coach Pete DeBoer said after the game, “We got one goal out of our fourth line, which is a bonus goal, and enough chances to get five.”
That goal was Ryan Carter’s fifth goal of the season, but the fact that the Devils’ two hottest players, Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias, couldn’t get on the board only hindered them further. The power play continues to be a liability for the Devils, as they finished a dismal 0-4 in the game with the extra man. On the flip side, the Devils managed to stop four out of the five power plays the Avalanche had, the fifth one being the winner in overtime.
Things have got to turn around fast for the Devils; the point lost Monday was the difference between the Devils being in fourth place in the wild card instead of being in seventh. Dropping points is unacceptable, and the Devils are lucky it happened against Western Conference foes and not against rivals in the East. Whether it’s General Manager Lou Lamoriello going out and acquiring new talent — NorthJersey.com is saying he’s looking at Mike Cammelleri– or DeBoer shaking up lines and power play units, something has to be done and done quickly.
The Devils have two more games before they break for the Olympics. They’re at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, and then play a massive game in Washington against the Capitals, the team currently tied with the Devils on points in the Eastern Conference’s wild card race