The New Jersey Devils are still somehow in the hunt for the playoffs

The New Jersey Devils are still somehow in the hunt for the playoffs.
Chicago Blackhawks v New Jersey Devils
Chicago Blackhawks v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Everything that could have gone wrong for the New Jersey Devils has gone wrong this season. They have had injury trouble (to their best players), goaltending woes, and coaching problems.

Despite all of that, they are still in the Eastern Conference postseason race. They aren't sitting pretty by any means but they aren't dead with a few weeks to go.

At 35-33-4, they have 74 standings points. They are five points behind the Washington Capitals for the final Wild Card spot. They are seven points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. With how bad they were this year, you'd think they are 20 points out of both races.

New Jersey is 3-1-0 in their last four games and has played better overall lately. That, along with the talent on the team, is the only reason they are still somehow in the hunt.

The New Jersey Devils are still alive in the playoff race somehow

If we are honest with ourselves, they will probably not make it. They dug themselves too deep but there is some positivity to take away from their recent good play.

With Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec, Jesper Bratt, and Timo Meier all there and only getting better, the future is very bright.

We know that this team can play as well as anyone when they are healthy and on top of their game. During the off-season, they must find their coach and a solution in the net.

If they did somehow get in, they would be dangerous because that means they got very hot at the right time. Teams like the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, or Florida Panthers would not want to see a team that hot in the first round.

Right now, with Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen in the net, they need to focus on playing well in front of them. The results will come if they keep working on things like that.

We can see that this team is good when it wants to be but this was a very down year for the reasons named above. Hopefully, they learn from their mistakes as an organization.

On Tuesday night, the Devils will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Auston Matthews and company are very good and playing well these days. This is an incredible challenge for the Devils but they have done much better against good teams than bad teams this year.

American hockey fans are going to enjoy this one as two of the best USA-born stars are involved with Matthews and Hughes. It should be very fun to watch from that perspective as these two are going to play big roles the next time a best-on-best tourney involves the red, white, and blue.

If the Devils win this game, they will remain in the race. If they don't, things will be even harder than they already are.