By Jeff O’Connor
Listen, the New Jersey Devils did everything right in last night’s game against the Boston Bruins except score a goal. It’s certainly a game to build off, but right now they need points more than anything. Martin Brodeur said last night, “at the end of the day, I wish we could have played bad and get two points.” I can’t disagree.
Now, that effort was encouraging from a fan standpoint. But how will the team respond? They could definitely feed off that, win Saturday and get hot. That’s not out of the question. However, could that have been the final bit of air going out of their balloon? They played so hard and lost because of a bounce…will that mentally be ready to get up and fight again on Saturday? I’d have to lean more towards the former, but who knows.
The Devils playoff odds dropped all the way to 45.5% to make the postseason last night. One game that is crucial to them staying close in the race is the Rangers-Penguins game tonight. The Devils are tied in points with the Rangers, but due to the games played tiebreaker, the Rangers are in 8th and the Devils in 9th. Even if the Rags lose in regulation tonight, it doesn’t put the Devils in a playoff spot.
The biggest problem now, isn’t that the Devils are chasing two teams very close to them in the standings. I think most of us could deal with that challenge. The big issue is that there are teams close to jumping over the Devils. The Flyers have also played 37 games and are only two points back. Winnipeg is only ONE point back, although, they have played two more games than NJ. If they are not careful, they won’t have the luxury of climbing directly into a playoff spot, they may have to climb over several teams just to get into the playoffs.
They have to win Saturday. Simple as that. Whether it’s regulation, overtime, shootout (pray), they need to get both points. I’m not sure how long this team can survive emotionally and mentally if they keep losing games. While the effort in Boston was very strong, it can still deflate a team when that loss goes in the L column, regardless of how well they played over 60 minutes.
Get it done, Devils. Pump some hope back into this organization and fanbase!