Why did the New Jersey Devils fail to make the playoffs last season?
Many would point to how they catered to a 41-year-old goalie with a .906 even-strength save percentage in 39 starts. And they’d have a point. But the bigger points are the ones the team pissed away in the shootout.
The Devils were 0-13 in the shootout, converting four of 45 chances. Of a possible 13 points, they gained all but 13 of them. They finished five points out of the wild card because of it.
They sucked, and on a historic level: The 2013-14 New Jersey Devils were the first team in the history of the skills competition to fail to win a shootout in an 82-game season.
How does one remedy this, ensuring that the Devils aren’t crippled by the gimmick again? If you’re Devils Ruler of All He Surveys Lou Lamoriello, you don’t.
You chalk it up to bad luck and focus on the first three periods of the game.
“I am not upset. Or saying, ‘What’s wrong?’ Or trying to address something,” he said on Wednesday, discussing the re-signing of defenseman Andy Greene to a 5-year deal. “The focus was how we can make ourselves better offensively
“I look at how we play during the 60 minutes, because that’s what you have control of. The shootout is an individual thing.”
That it is, and the Devils’ hope is that the individuals on their team are better than abjectly terrible next season – Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Ryane Clowe and Adam Henrique were a combined 0-for-24 in the shootout.To put that in context, they were outscored by Yannick Weber last season.
Speaking of individuals, maybe Cory Schneider’s .552 save percentage (No. 62 in the NHL, right ahead of Al Montoya) will improve if he doesn’t feel the need to be perfect in every shootout.
“If you look at the history of the players on our roster last year, and the history of their success, you would say, ‘How did this come about?’” he said.
Well, there was also that 41-year-old goalie that gave up 8 goals on 16 shots against. But that won’t be an issue next season …
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