In their last six periods of hockey, the New Jersey Devils have limited their opponents to 23 shots, which is the kind of defense you expect from a successful Devils team.
Unfortunately, when Ilya Kovalchuk left the lineup with an injury, he took the team’s offense with him: Since March 23, the Devils have scored two or fewer goals in eight of 10 games.
They’ve lost all 10. They are not a successful Devils team.
Hey, silver lining: It’s a great Hart Trophy argument for Kovalchuk.
The defending Eastern Conference champs were stymied by James Reimer (32 saves) and flat-out snake-bitten at other times in a 2-0 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night. They limited the Leafs to 12 shots; all Toronto needed was a Phil Kessel power play goal for the win, because the Devils’ offense is as potent as a keg of O’Doul’s right now.
The Devils have 40 points with six games remaining. That’s six points from the New York Rangers in the No. 8 seed, who have seven games left. The teams face each other twice before the end of the season, which keeps the Devils’ hopes faintly alive.
But who are we kidding? This 10-game losing streak has all but guaranteed that, for the second time in franchise history, the Devils will go from the Stanley Cup Final to outside the playoff picture in the span of a season.
Was it the ill-timed Martin Brodeur injury earlier this season? Was it the Kovalchuk injury at the end of last month? Was it Zach Parise’s departure?
Or was is the demonic hex placed on the team when Marty Brodeur reached the Number of the Beast …
As you may know, ‘666’ is associated with the Devil, a.k.a. Lucifer, a.k.a. “the dark spirit of seething rage.”
As you may know, the Devils’ Marty Brodeur is the all-time leader in wins for a goalie in the NHL. He won his 666th game on March 23, a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers.
Neither Brodeur nor the Devils have won since.
Making the situation just a tad more eerie: Brodeur’s brother told him that he should retire after reaching win No. 666 “because that's the number of the Devil."
Via Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, Brodeur addressed the hellish curse on the Devils after his 666th win:
Could it be the number that’s causing this incomprehensible run of losses?
“Now, it looks like that, huh?” Brodeur said tonight. “We’ve got to find something. We’ve got to break through that curse, I guess.”
Look, not to get all Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobic, but clearly the Devils’ demise can be tracked to Brodeur reaching the Mark of the Beast.
Nope, not Johan Hedberg becoming a sieve in Marty’s absence. Nor Kovalchuk’s ill-timed injury. Nor the injury to Dainius Zubrus. Nor David Clarkson’s one goal in 10 games. Nor Travis Zajac playing like a third liner despite a fat new contract. Nor captain Bryce Salvador failing to resemble the player he was last season. Nor the losses of Larry Robinson and Adam Oates from Peter DeBoer’s bench. Nor the punch-less roster that’s second to Nashville in fewest goals per game. Nor their terrible 2-7 shootout record that’s starved them of their steady diet of charity points.
No, it’s gotta be the 6-6-6.
Which means the Devils can do only one thing here: Sign Miro Satan, give him the No. 6 (featured on his shoulders and his back) and balance the equation. (You realize what Satan’s player profile number is on Yahoo!, right? Check the URL.)