The Devils lost their 6th game in a row tonight to fall out of first place in the division.
The Devils did absolutely nothing well tonight and were totally exposed as frauds by the Hurricanes. From the opening puck drop, the Hurricanes completely had their way with the Devils. The Hurricanes scored just 20 seconds into the game when they shoved the Devils around and whacked away at Vanecek for 20 seconds until they finally scored. New Jersey was totally incapable of taking the puck away from Carolina and totally unwilling to play physical. Carolina had all the time they needed to score, and all they needed was 20 seconds…
The Devils were able to hold on for the rest of the period and start the second period down only 1-0. During the second period the Devils caught a break when the a Hurricane goal was called back due to offsides. On that disallowed goal, Yegor Sharangovich was slow on the back check and Ryan Graves chose not to use his large body to play physical and Carolina put the puck in the net with all of that time and space the Devils gave them. I mention the disallowed goal because, even though it was waved off, it was part of a pattern of terrible play from the Devils tonight. The horrible play continued when Jordan Staal put the Hurricanes ahead 2-0 for real. Staal took a pass from Jordan Martinhook and the two came up ice on a partial two on one together. Jesper Bratt back checked well and made the smart play of covering Martinhook and taking away the pass option. Jonas Siegenthaler then had to play Jordan Staal one on one, but instead chose to back away from Staal and towards Martinhook, giving Staal plenty of time and space to pick his spot and rip the puck into the back of the net. Vanecek could have had it but Siegenthaler also could have stepped up and actually played something resembling NHL caliber defense. Alas, neither thing happened and the Devils fell behind 2-0.
The Devils had three power plays in the first two periods and did nothing positive with them. Just six minutes into the second period the Devils botched yet another power play so horribly they gave up a short handed goal and did nothing offensively with the man advantage. The play began when the Holtz dumped the puck in, Miles Wood retrieved it, and passed the puck to Dawson Mercer, who immediately turned the puck over. Carolina capitalized on the turnover by rushing up the ice two on two against Holtz and Severson. Teuvo Teravainen took the pass from Jacob Slavin and entered the zone one one against Holtz. Holtz just kind of backed up with his stick reached out but did not due much to actually challenge Teravainen. All Holtz did was maybe screen his own goalie. You could argue that Vanecek should have had this one too but Mercer never should have turned the puck over and Holtz should have actually challenged Teravainen. So questionable goaltending and poor defense. Tonight sadly looked a lot like last seasons Devils.
This is now the 6th loss in a row for New Jersey and they have been surpassed by Carolina for first place in the Metropolitan division. The Devils are entering free fall and are not doing much of anything to show that they are real playoff contenders in the Eastern conference. The offense has largely disappeared in recent games. Mainly, Jesper Bratt, Yegor Sharangovich, Tomas Tatar, Nico Hischier, and Dawson Mercer need to step up and start producing points. While the offense has been struggling to score, the goaltending has slipped considerably, as has the defense, and the team can’t win a game right now. The Devils are doing nothing well right now and are falling in the standings as a result. The time has come to panic about if this team has what it takes to stay in the playoff picture. You can follow me on Twitter at PatBoooooth.