The New Jersey Devils had a very tough first half of the season. Ahead of the All-Star break, they have dealt with very bad injuries, goaltending issues, and an overall dip in play from what they experienced last year.
On Saturday night, they needed a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning badly. However, they did that thing where they played incredibly poorly early in the contest. It wasn’t until being down 2-0 when they decided to finally start showing up.
It was eventually 4-3 late in the game but the Devils were unable to tie it. Tampa threw in two empty net goals and the final ended up being 6-3 but it was a “close but no cigar” type comeback.
Not a single team in the league needs the All-Star break more than the New Jersey Devils. For one, the hope is that Jack Hughes is good to go when they return.
The New Jersey Devils are a team that needs this All-Star break badly
There are a few other guys battling through stuff that could just simply use the time off. It could also be a good time for reflection, relaxation, and overall rest.
It was a year that started with high expectations. Only one team wins the Stanley Cup but 16 get a chance to compete for it when the regular season ends. As of right now, the Devils would not be one of those teams.
Missing the playoffs would be a disaster for this squad. There are plenty of issues with the roster but they should be able to make a run at the postseason if they get healthy in the second half. Specifically, getting Jack Hughes back would be the most impactful.
Lindy Ruff is certainly on the hot seat right now but it doesn’t feel like it is all his fault. When a coach has a healthy roster and two goaltenders, he looks good. When he doesn’t, there’s a lot of heat to take for the coach. Hopefully, some of that evens out once they return.
The Devils will try to get back on track starting on February 6th. It won’t be an easy one though as the Colorado Avalanche are paying a visit to The Rock.