In the entire month of March, the Buffalo Sabres grabbed just two wins. On paper, that would indicate a should-be win for the New Jersey Devils, but Buffalo instead won 3-2 via New Jersey’s kryptonite (the shootout).
The Devils have three losses in their last four games, all via the shootout. They’re now a baffling 0-11 in the “skills competition” this season. As this post discusses, their desperate push to a postseason spot would be far more comfortable if they merely were near .500 in that area.
For many, there was one more insult: Ville Leino was the guy who scored the shootout-clinching goal.*
The one bit of good news is that New Jersey’s schedule opens up some opportunities, though it’s anyone’s guess if the math is already stacked too highly against them. The Devils ready for a big game against the Washington Capitals on Friday and face a fairly manageable schedule … well, unless those games get to the shootout, perhaps:
Friday: vs. Washington
Saturday: at Carolina
April 7: vs. Calgary
April 10: at Ottawa
April 11: vs. NY Islanders
April 13: vs. Boston
Considering the strong possibility that the Boston Bruins may opt to rest players late in the season (Zdeno Chara could probably use a breather, eh?), you could make an argument that the Devils have a shot at running the table.
Then again, few would expect a team in reasonable playoff contention to go 0-for-11 in the shootout, so assumptions clearly aren’t very safe here.
* -Sorry Devils fans … and a bigger apology to Leino, who innocently did his job.