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Is Devils’ increased focus on offense costing them defensively? Jagr joins elite company
The Devils lost 7-4 in Detroit. The Hurricanes lost 4-2 to the Rangers at PNC Arena.
Martin Brodeur will start in net for the Devils tonight as scheduled. Brodeur and Friday night’s scratches – defensemen Peter Harrold and Anton Volchenkov and center Jacob Josefson – were the only Devils to skate this morning.
The Devils have suddenly fallen apart defensively, matching their season-high with the seven goals against Friday and giving up 14 goals over the last three games.
Coming out of the Olympic break, the Devils stressed doing more to score goals while trying not to sacrifice anything defensively.
They have succeeded in scoring more. They’ve scored four goals or more in four of their five games since the Olympic break. But has that increased scoring cost them at the defensive end.
Center Adam Henrique, who scored twice more Friday and has seven goals over the last five games, believes that might be partly to blame for Friday’s meltdown at least.
“I thought in the past few games we were good,” Henrique said. “We were still doing what we wanted to do offensively, but we were still tight defensively. That’s the way we’re going to have to play. (Friday) it opened up and, obviously, they capitalized on their chances.”
Henrique believes the Devils can still score at the pace they have been recently and get back to playing the way they were playing defensively.
“There’s no question we can,” Henrique said. “We have the first few games, but again (Friday) we got away from it and we’re going to have to turn it around for (tonight)”
What should we take from Devils' bad night? Here are 3 things
There was a little good and a lot of bad in the Devils' 7-4 loss in Detroit.
DETROIT – Devils coach Pete DeBoer spent a couple minute talking about his early days as a coach after Friday's morning skate at Joe Louis Arena.
Thirteen years before getting his first NHL gig with the Florida Panthers, DeBoer was a law school student at the University of Detroit and a first-year assistant coach in the Ontario Hockey League for the 1994-95 Detroit Junior Red Wings. A year later, he was an OHL head coach when Paul Maurice left to coach in the NHL.
The Devils' first and only visit to Detroit this season began as a nice homecoming because DeBoer's parents live right across the river from Detroit in Windsor, Ontario, and he was with them Thursday night for dinner.
Friday night, his stay ended with big disappointment, as the Devils were smoked 7-4 by the Detroit Red Wings.
This was a strange game with the Devils falling behind 2-0, pulling ahead 3-2 and then getting blown out.
On a night Cory Schneider allowed a career-high seven goals, the Devils were spanked good in a matchup against a team that was just two points ahead of them for the last wild card playoff spot in the East.
What should we make of this night?
Here are 3 things:
1. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
You wanted more goals, and you're getting them … at the expense of defense. What’s the lesser of the evils, losing 7-4 or 3-2? At least when the Devils play to their systems, they’re in almost every game and often sneak out a point or a 2-1 win. Check out this interesting comparison: The Devils have scored 21 goals in five games since the Olympic break, but it’s led to just three wins. In the nine games before the break, they scored 20 goals and were 4-3-2.
2. MISTAKES R US
Ryane Clowe said after Friday’s game that he hasn’t liked the Devils’ compete level for three games in a row. That's been an issue, but a bigger one is their sloppy, careless passes and puck handling. Every pass doesn’t have to be tape-to-tape, but too many times pucks are being fed too hard or off the mark. That’s led to bad turnovers, rushes their way and goals in their net. On Friday, the many culprits included three of the Devils’ best players - Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Andy Greene.
3. THE SILVER LINING
How about Adam Henrique's game over the last two weeks? We've been waiting for the third-year forward to elevate his play, and he's done in it a big way since the Olympic break with seven goals, nine points and a plus-5 in five games. Henrique has said that he prefers playing center, but his hot streak began immediately after he switched to left wing. At his new position, he's been crashing the net a lot more and pouncing on rebounds. All the while, his usual strong two-way play hasn't suffered. Devils coach Pete DeBoer said recently that he saw Henrique as a 20-goal guy who maybe could get to 25. Hearing what his coach said, Henrique responded, “Why not 30?” He's up to 21 with 18 games to go. It may be too late to hit 30 this season, but hoping for 30 in 2014-15 might be a hair too low for a very talented 24-year-old who is looking like he's on his way to becoming a star.