New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers
(JSN file photo by Mark Fischgrund)

Devils crushed by Rangers in important divisional matchup

NEWARK, NJ - The Devils need a mindset change after a deflating 5-1 loss to their rival New York Rangers on home ice.

After a few games that seemed like the Devils might have turned things around, they suffered a morale-crushing defeat, and clearly, changes need to be made.

The Rangers found the back of the net twice in the first period, thanks to Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere, and twice in the second, courtesy of Chris Kreider and Lafreniere again. Vincent Trocheck added another in the third period for five Ranger goals. Jack Hughes picked up the lone Devils' goal in the game's last three minutes.

There is no doubt there are still questions around the goaltending in the Devils' system that need to be answered, but a huge issue right now is the power play. The Devils had five power play opportunities, including a five-minute major they could not convert. At the beginning of the season, the Devils had the number one power play in the league. After going 4-for-62 on the main advantage since Jan 3., the Devils have dropped to 15th in the NHL.

Granted, key players of the New Jersey power play were missing during this stretch, but this is the closest to a healthy roster the Devils have had in quite some time.

Nico Daws started his sixth game in a row despite having a rough outing against the Washington Capitals, which resulted in a 6-2 loss. The Rangers only had 18 shots on the net in this game, and Daws let in five. In the previous game, the Capitals scored six goals on 26 shots, equalling 11 goals on 44 shots over the past two games. The Devils had 79 shots on net during those two games and only scored three goals.

Goaltending has to be better as the Devils are already getting shots on net. But, even though they have shots on net, they still need to be quality scoring chances. The Devils need to start finding the back of the net more since the goaltending will not win them games.

Changes need to be made in the Devils' system before there is no more hope for the season. On paper, New Jersey are about as talented as it gets; there is no reason for them to drop games like this and be as low as they are standing. Questions need to be answered quickly. What do the Devils do with head coach Lindy Ruff at this point? What trades need to happen? What's wrong with the power play?

The Devils take on the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday at the Prudential Center in a must-win game.

Gabrielle Nordstrom