When a .500 New York Islanders team is the best squad in the general New York/New Jersey* area, you know things are grim. The New Jersey Devils remain in the running for the worst of them all, as they still seek their first win after six games (0-3-3) following a dispiriting 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
The score might be a little misleading (strangely, Evander Kane made it 2-0 with an empty-netter and then Andrew Ladd collected the 3-0 goal moments later), but all that matters is that the Devils still have a big, glaring “0” in the W column.
It’s understandable if you feel some sympathy for Cory Schneider. He stopped 33 out of 35 shots as he watched a befuddled Devils offense continue to struggle to put points on the board.
There were bad moments in the first 5 games for Devils, no doubt, but there were also positives. Can’t think of any tonight in their play.
Sure, New Jersey isn’t in as dire a situation scoring-wise as the New York Rangers (nine goals in five games) or Buffalo Sabres (six goals in six games), but the situation is still pretty bleak.
It says a lot that, despite being without a win, the Devils’ three points leaves them fifth in the Metropolitan Division ahead of the Rangers, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers (all with two points).
The debate regarding which team is the worst in the New York/NJ area – the Devils, Islanders, Rangers and Sabres – might also double as the question of who’s the worst team in the NHL early on this season.
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.