The New Jersey Devils suffered their league-leading fifth shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens last night.
They have been thoroughly beaten in the skills competition so far, to the point where the only Devils player to actually convert on a shootout attempt was 20-year-old forward Reid Boucher in his NHL debut.
“It hasn’t been working, so we wanted to change some things up,” coach Pete DeBoer said of his decision to go with the rookie, according to the Bergen Record.
It wasn’t enough though as goaltender Cory Schneider couldn’t make a save in the shootout and veterans Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias were unable to follow Boucher’s example.
This has been an ongoing problem for the Devils, as they were 2-7 in the shortened campaign and have now suffered nine straight shootout defeats.
DeBoer, knowing his team’s history, finished the overtime period with only forwards on the ice in an attempt to end things there.
The Devils are currently tied with the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey has played in one more game than those teams. At this rate, New Jersey’s struggles in the shootout could be the difference between them making and missing the playoffs.