NJ Devils: Fluke or for Real?


Devils Forward Jack Hughes

Vincent Scolaro, Staff Writer

The New Jersey Devils are 3-6-1 in their past ten games as of January 6th. People expected this before the season began, but that’s not the ’22-’23 Devils. They started off with two straight losses but then held a 13-game winning streak, tying the franchise record. Are the Devils actually playoff contenders for the first time since 2018, or was this one giant fluke?

What’s Going Wrong

There’s a lot that can go wrong in hockey; goalie injuries (we saw a lot of that in the ’21-’22 season), offensive struggles, defensive struggles, bad coaching—the list goes on. For this past month, I’d blame it on the offensive side of the puck. Since the loss to the Islanders at the beginning of December, there has been significantly less offense. You can’t win games with one or two goals. Whichever team has more goals wins – that’s just how it works. They lost to the Blues 5-3 on January 5th, and the offense looked decent. Hopefully, they’ll stack up some wins and climb back up to #1 in the division (overtaking the Hurricanes). 

Playoff Chances

It’s alright everyone, you can relax. According to PlayoffStatus, the Devils have an 84% chance of making the playoffs. It is a young team (5th youngest in the league) and a lot can happen within the next few months. It’s easy to look at a five-game losing streak and say, “Well, that’s it,” but there are still 43 games left. As long as Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier continue to dominate, there’s no need to worry. I’m confident because unlike the 2017-2018 season with Taylor Hall dominating the ice, this year there’s an overall good team. That year Hall had 39 goals. The runner-up was Hischier, with nearly half as many (20). Without Hall, the Devils were nothing. This year I’d still feel confident with two or three good players out.

I’m not expecting performances similar to those during the 13-game winning streak, but they’ll get it together. They have a young team with talent. Especially once they get potential superstar Luke Hughes (defenseman), Jack Hughes’ brother, the idea of a Stanley Cup will get closer and closer.