Already off to their worst start in franchise history, the New Jersey Devils must deal with more adversity in attempting to turn around their season.
It’s another blow to New Jersey (3-8-1), which is in the midst of a six-game road trip and has lost four of five overall. Although the Devils took 40 shots in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Los Angeles, they were held to one goal for the sixth time.
“Who cares how many shots we put on net?” forward Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) told NHL.com. “It’s only one goal, and you’re not going to win a lot of games with one goal. We have to find a way to be better. It’s a five-man unit.”
It may be even tougher without Parise, who led the team with 38 goals and 44 assists last season. Kovalchuk, meanwhile, has one point in his last six games after signing a 15-year, $100 million contract in the offseason.
“I don’t think (Kovalchuk struggling) has anything to do with the contract,” captain Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) said. “I think it has to do with us not winning games. He wants to win and that’s why he stayed here. That’s where he’s feeling the pressure. If anything, maybe he’s trying too hard.
“We all have a job to do here and we all have a role we have to play,” Langenbrunner added. “All of us need to pick up the slack when it’s not going well for someone else.”
New Jersey fell to 0-8 when trailing after two periods, and it still hasn’t scored more than three goals in a game.
Martin Brodeur(notes) has done his best to make up for the Devils’ offensive shortcomings by posting a 2.78 goals-against average with a .905 save percentage. However, he’s lost six of his last seven starts against Vancouver, giving up five goals in each of the last two.
In contrast to New Jersey, the Canucks (4-3-2) haven’t had any offensive troubles lately. Vancouver has scored nine goals in its last two games - both victories.
Daniel Sedin(notes) had an assist in each, extending his streak of regular-season games with at least one point to 19 dating to last season. Daniel’s twin brother, Henrik, is tied for the NHL lead with 11 assists.
“Louie gave us a chance to win, without a doubt,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “In the second half of the game, we turned the puck over, we got beat to loose pucks, we got beat one-on-one and they took the play to us. He gave us a chance to win on a lucky bounce at the end.”
Luongo has won his last three starts against the Devils after starting his career 3-13-0 against them. The Canucks won 5-2 at New Jersey in the only meeting last season.