The Columbus Blue Jackets were in town this Friday afternoon taking on the New Jersey Devils. As both teams have been struggling as of late, this was a must-win for the Devils, which did not happen.
It’s the same story every game for the Devils; a slow, sluggish start and go down a goal early on. Another defensive breakdown for the Devils led to Boone Jenner, the Blue Jackets’ captain, being left wide open in front of the net for an easy tap-in. Giving the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.
Three minutes later, Ondrej Palat put in the work to free up the puck which led to Alexander Holtz having an opportunity to find the back of the net. The young Devil forward tied the game 1-1 but then found himself in the penalty box very soon after for a four-minute high-sticking penalty. The Devils were able to kill off all four minutes, which seemed to tilt the ice in their direction until 30 seconds were left in the period and Eric Robinson found the back of the net, giving the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead.
The second period was not as eventful as the first period. Neither team found the back of the net, but the Devils did close the gap in shots. At the end of the second period, the score remained 2-1 Columbus, who also led the shots 19-18.
Despite the Devils having a solid third period, they were not able to capitalize on any of their opportunities. At the end of the game, the Devils had a total of 38 shots, meaning during the third period they had 20 shots all together, more than the first and second period combined. The Blue Jackets ended with 28 shots.
A huge question still is, why can’t the Devils play a full 60 minutes?
It is clear changes might be on their way to the Devils. Whether that means coaching changes, line changes, sitting certain players, etc. The defensive breakdowns and lack of offensive ability are shooting the Devils in the foot. Hopefully the Devils will be getting their captain Nico Hischier back in the upcoming week as he rejoined practice this past week.
The Devils have the second half of a back-to-back tomorrow night at home against the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m. What changes will the Devils make tomorrow night to get them back in the win column?