When the New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs last season, coach Pete DeBoer felt his team deserved a better fate.
If they miss them again this season, he may feel exactly the same way. Or possibly even more so.
Take New Jersey’s record in the shootout — zero wins, eight losses. The only winless record in the league. If the Devils were simply .500 in the “gimmick,” they’d be in a playoff position. Alas, they go into tonight’s game in Florida on the outside looking in, with Sports Club Stats giving them a 58.8 percent chance of qualifying.
You may be surprised to hear that goaltending has been an issue for New Jersey. Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider both rank near the bottom in even-strength save percentage, and the Devils’ overall team save percentage (.905) ranks 25th in the NHL. (The pair has also combined for the third-worst save percentage in shootouts, at .560.)
Which has to be frustrating, since no team gives up fewer shots on average than the Devils (25.5).
Based on a stat like Corsi, the Devils possess the puck more than they don’t. And while no stat tells the entire story, there’s something to be said for the teams that do well in it:
After tonight’s game in Florida, the Devils play in Tampa Bay tomorrow before returning home to take on Boston Tuesday.
If there’s one reason for optimism, it may be the remaining schedule for New Jersey. Of its 16 games, 10 are against clubs not currently in a playoff position.