Did you know? New Jersey is one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
Since starting the season 12-12-1, the Devils have gone 11-4-1, a stretch that’s seen them climb the standings to sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Tonight in Calgary, they kick off a three-game Canadian swing against the Flames. Tomorrow they’re in Edmonton; Saturday it’s a visit to Winnipeg.
Then, after returning home, they play six straight at the Prudential Center against the Jets, Bruins, Flyers, Sabres, Rangers and Habs.
The back-to-back versus Winnipeg looms especially large, with both sides fighting for the final playoff spots in the East.
Despite the 17 teams below them in the standings, the Devils have just 15 regulation/overtime wins, tied for the 23rd most in the league. An 8-1 record in the shootout is what’s pushed them into a postseason position.
Consider: Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Patrik Elias are a combined 16-for-23 in the shootout. That trio’s been so good that only three other Devils have been forced to make a shootout attempt (Adam Henrique twice, David Clarkson and Petr Sykora once each.)
It begs the question, are the Devils a playoff-caliber team or just one that’s taken advantage of a contrived way to decide games in the regular season?
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger