Devils winless in six; DeBoer says ‘I don’t doubt we can string together nine or 10 wins’


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.”

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. For one thing, Torres is a repeat offender who once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.