The New Jersey Devils lost 2-1 to Toronto on Saturday, their third straight regulation loss and sixth game without a victory.
It left the Devils 10th in the Eastern Conference, with 39 points, three back of the Islanders for the eighth and final playoff spot.
For some, that would be cause for concern — but head coach Peter DeBoer isn’t there yet.
“I don’t doubt we can string together nine or 10 wins,” DeBoer told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “We obviously have to get on the other side of that line.
“Right now, we’re on the wrong side of that fine line where we’re just doing enough not to win.”
New Jersey’s season has been torpedoed by two significant injuries: One earlier in the year to starting netminder Martin Brodeur, one currently sidelining the team’s best scorer, Ilya Kovalchuk.
Despite this, DeBoer’s confidence isn’t waning.
That’s probably because he believes in the group, one that exhibited a high level of play before injuries hit. The Devs were 10-3-4 on Feb. 21, tied on points (24) with Montreal for first spot in the Eastern Conference.
Since then, though, the team has gone 5-11-5 and struggled badly on offense. In their last five games, the Devils have scored just four goals, and sit 29th in the NHL in goals per game.
DeBoer says the solution to the offensive woes must come from within.
“There’s some frustration in not winning. Whether we win 1-0 or 2-1, we have to find a way to win games,” he told The Record. “That’s where the frustration lies and the solution has to come from within the room.”