New Jersey Devils

Devils special teams success keeping team in playoff contention

In the season's most crucial time, the Devils special teams have risen to the occasion. With the playoff race still on, the Devils needed their power play and penalty kill units to be as good as they could be.

Since New Jersey played the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 19, they have gone 6-of-15 on the power play. This power play has been the driving force of some games, and it is a huge reason they have been winning more consistently. For example, on March 21, the Devils played the Winnipeg Jets, and they won 4-1. Three of those goals happened to come on the power play.

One reason New Jersey's power play has been more successful recently is the movement from each player. The players are switching spots, moving as a unit, and creating space and lanes. With this type of movement, it is easier to create plays because the defenders can not read the Devils as well.

The first unit of the power play consisting of Timo Meier, Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Luke Hughes have had all of the success.

Meier has added three power-play goals, Hughes has two, and Hischier has one during this timespan.

Despite having had a very rough few weeks on the man advantage, the Devils still have the 10th-best power play in the league.

The Devils' penalty kill has been very successful over the past week, going 16/16 on the kill. Even before the game against Pittsburgh, the penalty kill was one of the bright spots in the month of March, going 37/41 so far.

Not only have the penalty killers been good, but the Devils have been getting good goaltending during the kills. Goaltending was a sore spot for most of the season, as New Jersey was not getting the timely saves they have gotten now. With more confidence in the net, the players can feel more comfortable knowing that if they make a mistake, the goalie can bail them out.

New Jersey's penalty kill is currently 11th in the league.

With special teams clicking, that gives the Devils a huge boost in their race to try to get into a playoff position. With just a few games left in the season, they need to continue to be successful to give the Devils the best chance to make it into the playoffs.

Winning teams have successful power plays and penalty kills.

New Jersey takes on the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow. The Leafs' penalty kill will be tested, as the Leafs have the fifth-best power play in the league. The Devils will certainly have a chance on the power play, as Toronto has the sixth-worst penalty kill.

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Gabrielle Nordstrom

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