The Devils came up short in last nights comeback against the Carolina Hurricanes and have not played stellar hockey over the past eight games. The Devils are 4-4-0 in their past eight games and even their wins against St. Louis and the Senators have not come easy. The only clear cut victories were a 4-2 win against the Rangers and a 4-1 win over the Canadians.
Despite the weak performances lately the Devils remain two-points behind the Rangers and Flyers and a win against the Thrashers on Thursday is needed before the Devils head out on six game nine day road trip.
One of the Devils problems under Brent Sutter has been their inability to play a complete 60-minute game of hard hitting, quick puck movement and hard forechecking hockey that he expects night in and out. This has been evident over the past eight games with every player and every line (Yes even Zach Parise). It has not been one thing that stands out, it may be one thing one night and one thing another.
For example, over the past two games the Devils have given up 3 PPG against in 8 chances, while in the previous six games they had killed off 19-21. In that same time the Devils have 3PPG for in their last 7 chances, but in their previous six games they had only gone 2-for-23 on their power-play. Other times it has been the Devils long streak without scoring a goal or maybe the top line of Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner scoring like crazy one night and the next night not even seeming as if they can sniff a chance.
Over this time the one player who has shown to be the one true reliable constant is Patrick Elias (2G-7A in last 6 games). Let us hope Sutter can get his team back on track to playing 60-minutes of hard hockey or we could looking up at Philly and the Rangers by the end of the month.