Cory Schneider tries to keep Devils afloat without Taylor Hall
LOS ANGELES – Cory Schneider said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure to succeed without offensive superstar Taylor Hall in the lineup.
The New Jersey Devils goaltender said he always has a desire to stop as many shots as possible and not having Hall doesn’t change that.
“He’s obviously a big part of our team but we have enough pieces and guys to step up to replace some of what he does,” Schenider said after a 4-2 Saturday loss at the Los Angeles Kings. “For me it never changes just because he’s in the lineup. I don’t think I can give up more goals regardless of who’s out there. I’m looking to play the best I can and give my team the best chance to win.”
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In the three games Hall has missed since it was announced he would be out three-to-four weeks with a meniscus tear in his left knee, the Devils have scored just six goals. In that time, they’ve allowed eight goals. New Jersey is 1-2-0 in that stretch and their only win came in a 2-1 shootout against the Dallas Stars. Before then the Devils (9-5-3) had won five straight.
“I think right now we’re a team that needs to have one or two (goals) allowed and that’s on me to be one goal better and that’s been the difference the last two games is one goal,” Schneider said. “I can look at myself and just find a way to make one more save.”
Against the Kings, Schneider was “fine” according to coach John Hynes. But he wasn’t game stealing good.
At the 4:58 mark of the second period, Los Angeles defenseman Alec Martinez fired a wrist shot from above the circles past Schneider to tie the game at 1-1. Tanner Pearson’s blast at the 18:20 mark of the second put Los Angeles up 2-1.
Jeff Carter fired a wrist shot off a 2-on-1 and then found his own rebound to put the puck past Schneider for the game-winner 45 seconds into the third. Overall Schneider stopped 24 of 27 shots on goal in the loss. In his last two games, both losses, he has stopped 44 of 50 shots on goal, which equates to an .880 save percentage.
“The last two games I haven’t felt bad. I don’t think there has really been bad goals, but just ones that have trickled in or tonight the rebound on the third one just sits there for him,” Schneider said. “Just some bad breaks. For me, you make your breaks. I have to work a little bit harder and be just one save better.”
Hynes said New Jersey’s struggles in their last two games haven’t had much to do with Hall being hurt and more to do with some players not playing up to their potential.
“The structure and the system are one point but there’s a couple of guys in our lineup that we count on to be productive and help us win games. We need more performances, more than we do to rely on structure,” Hynes said. “Our structure is in place we need to get some guys to step up and play.”
If anything, having Schneider as their starting goaltender should set up the Devils well to deal with not having an elite offensive player like Hall. In his career with the Devils, Schenider has held a 2.15 goal-against average and .924 save percentage. Last season, Schneider had a 27-25-6 record and kept the Devils afloat for most of the season though the team didn’t quite have the same high-end scoring as other groups. New Jersey is confident that Schneider will help them keep pace while Hall mends.
“Cory’s an elite goalie and he makes big saves for us,” Devils forward Vernon Fiddler said. “He’s one of the best for a reason. He cleans up a little bit of the mess defensively sometimes so it’s nice to have him back there.”
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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper
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