Devils Prepare for Second Second Act

The Devils are 3-2 in their last five games and, in general, have looked much better than they looked going into the Olympic break (2-5-1 for February).

A lot of that February malaise was a combination of adjusting to the return of injured players and learning to play with Ilya Kovalchuk.

But one other factor in the Devils recent inconsistency is the play of goalie Martin Brodeur.

Brodeur’s save percentage for March is .906 but was an awful .871 for February. So it’s no coincidence the Devils fortunes have improved with the play of Brodeur.

More recently however, coach Jacques Lemaire isn’t happy with the Devils powerplay, saying they need to look for open ice rather than shooting at opposing bodies.

The Devils powerplay is 0-10 in the last three games.

But still, just a few weeks ago, the Devils seemed unstoppable. And while they’re still a very strong team, they’ve lost some of their first half dominance.

You could make the argument they overperformed in the first half of the season but I think opposing coaches are finally adjusting to Lemaire’s new coaching techniques. Teams know to look for the stretch pass now, so they’re content to let the Devils carry the puck, knowing that a puck on a stick isn’t being used to spring a forward into the offensive zone.

Right now I’m curious if the Devils will pick-up another extended winning streak before the end of the season. The team seems to be trying to rediscover itself and if there’s a team in the NHL that can have two rebirths in a single regular season, it’s the disciplined Devils, who seem to be able to do whatever they put their minds to.