Two games have shown us that the Devils have no desire to play past April 24th, as they are well on their way to the first sweep in franchise history.
I’ve always been relatively optimistic about this Devils team. I predicted them to win this series in six games. Holy crap I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not one single Devils player has any desire to be playing hockey past April 24th. It is pretty obvious to anyone watching that they all placed non refundable deposits down for vacations beginning April 25th and don’t want to lose their reservations. The proof is all over the ice but specifically the “penalty kill”, if you can even call it that. The Devils attempt to ensure the Rangers score every time they get a power play by simply standing still. Every time the Rangers get a power play, the Devils get into a small box, and then stay there… They don’t move their feet, they refuse to apply any pressure to the puck carrier under any circumstances, they don’t even bother to have active sticks. All four “penalty killers” just stand still and wait for the Rangers to score. Even if the Rangers miss a pass or fumble a puck, the Devils are never in position to try and force a turnover. They are all just standing still in their little box waiting for the Rangers to score. No one even considers attempting to tie up the man in front of the net, usually Kreider. It is an obvious lack of effort and desire to win. Look at this and tell me that those “penalty killers” were trying to stop the Rangers from scoring. You can’t because they obviously weren’t. Graves made sure to stop before he got too close to Kane and Marino never considered trying to tie up Kreider.
The lack of interest in the game or desire to win it was obvious at five on five as well. I don’t remember seeing the Devils win a single puck battle or get to a single rebound first. The turnovers were constant as the Devils were seemingly passing to no one or directly to the Rangers all night. Furthermore, anytime Panarin or Kane touched the puck, the Devils all made sure to stand at least eight feet away and give them all the time and space and the world to try and score. You can’t tell me that the Devils were trying to stop Kane and Panarin from scoring because they obviously were not. No one every bothered to even attempt to step up on Kane or Panarin because no one in that Devils locker room cares how many goals they lose by, so long as they can make their flights and/or tee times on April 25th. Look at this horrible turnover and pathetic excuse for back checking as Patrick Kane ends the series. The Devils are not even trying to hide it, they do not want to win. At all.
It took 40 years but the Devils have finally been swept in a playoff series. I know that they technically still have games three and four, but stick a fork in them, they’re done. There is a ZERO percent chance the Devils win either of these next two games. The Rangers could play their ECHL team in these last two games and the Devils would still put in no effort and make sure to lose both games in embarrassing fashion so they can make their vacations on time. The Devils don’t want to risk accidentally winning a game and having to miss their reservations. It is obvious that these guys had the playoffs as their only goal and were happy with just getting there. Playoff participation was all these guys ever wanted and all they will get. They will get to leisurely skate around for four games and then go play golf or lay on the beach for a few months. They can’t even be bothered to compete in this series. An absolute disgrace from top to bottom. Every coach, every player, all of them pathetic.