On Monday, the New Jersey Devils put 12 shots on Chicago goalie Antti Raanta in a 5-2 loss at the United Center, the second-lowest shot total in the NHL this season.
Think that’s dubious? Well, it gets dubiouser (new word, roll with it.)
With just 12 SOG, the Devils were flirting with breaking their own record — on Dec. 6, New Jersey posted a season-low 11 shots on goal in a 3-1 home loss to Detroit.
While the Devils insist this is not how they draw it up — “not our identity,” forward Michael Ryder told NJ.com — statistics suggest otherwise.
Heading into the holiday break, New Jersey sits last in the NHL in shots for per game (25.4) but first in shots allowed per game (24.8), suggesting their games might be played entirely in the neutral zone.
Here are some highlights from New Jersey’s “we don’t get a lot of shots, but we don’t give up a lot either” campaign:
— Oct. 19: Beat the Rangers 4-0 with 19 shots on goal. New York had 22.
— Oct. 29: Beat Tampa 2-1 with 22 shots on goal. Lightning had 17.
— Nov. 2: Lost to Philly 1-0 after putting 14 shots on net. Flyers had 21.
— Nov. 10: Beat the Preds 5-0 despite putting just 23 shots on goal. Nashville countered with 15.
— Nov. 21: Beat Los Angeles (in overtime!) 2-1 with 15 shots on goal.
— Nov. 30: Beat Buffalo (in OT again!) 1-0 with 24 shots on goal. Sabres had 15.
What’s curious is how the Devils react to this. Following the aforementioned 11-shot performance against Detroit, head coach Peter DeBoer said he was OK with the way his team played.
“I don’t look at the shot clock and say we didn’t have any offense. We created enough chances to score three goals tonight,” he said. ”We didn’t cash in on some of our chances and with our group we have to be opportunistic.”
But following the Chicago loss, Ryder said the lack of pucks on goal was a problem.
“In order for us to win games and to be in them for the whole 60 minutes,” he explained, “we need more than 12 shots.”