February 27, 2024

Bryce Salvador

Hey everyone,

After dropping 3 of their last 4 games in regulation, I see this West Coast swing as a perfect opportunity for the Devils to get a change of scenery, put the recent losing skid behind them, and gain some traction here on the road.

As for the rest of the season as a whole, well, based on the last 2 NHL seasons, the Devils are going to need at least 33 of the 48 PTS on the table starting tonight if they want a strong chance of securing a playoff berth in the spring.Looking short-term, this upcoming trip has a strict 4 PT minimum attached to it, and I expect the urgency levels to reflect that from the onset of tonight's game in SJS!

Before I get into a couple of other areas of focus for the Devils on this road trip, I have to start with the most prominent issue costing the team points right now, and, in my eyes, that's the power play. It’s not necessarily the fact that the PP isn’t scoring, it's the fact that the team is giving up back-breaking goals shortly after their failed opportunities that have stung the most in the 1-3-0 stretch since the Stadium Series win.

Of course, an easy solution to this problem would start with your PP finding a way to execute more — but, when they do fail to score, that's when you really need to bear down and focus on your next shift rather than getting deflated.

At this point in the season, I'm not sure anyone would argue that the most perplexing storyline haunting the Devils' season, causing everyone to go grey and lose their hair, is the team's inability to score first in games. 

Through the first 58 GP, the Devils have only scored the first goal a total of 16 times (27.6%), and, by no coincidence, they have a solid 11-3-2 record in those 16 games. That's a .732 PTS% when they've scored first, in comparison to a .452 PTS% (18-22-2 record) when they've conceded first.

If the Devils want to have a successful end to the regular season and ultimately make the playoffs, they're going to have to start on time, or they're going to find themselves with the all-time "conceded first" record and swinging golf clubs in April. No excuse for this glaring issue!

Equally as important, the Devils have to get back to the way they were defending in the first 7 GP coming out of the 9-day All-Star/bye-week break, protecting the slot and defending well in transition. Over the last 4 GP, the goaltending has done its job, but the Devils have conceded an overwhelming rate of rush chances and high-danger chances from the inner slot.

So, my keys to tonight's game are to GAIN momentum from your power play opportunities, START ON TIME, get back to your disciplined structure in the DZ, and, most importantly, respect your opponent! (Devils fans, your key for tonight's game is just to have your coffee ready for the pregame show at 10 PM!).


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