The losses, however close, however heartbreaking, keep coming for the Devils, a season-high 10 straight now.
But at least there’s the AHL playoffs ahead for a significant portion of this roster. The Devils had seven rookies dressed for Saturday night’s 5-4 loss to the Coyotes at Gila River Arena to conclude a three-game road trip. The Devils rallied from a four-goal deficit as they suffered their seventh, one-goal defeat in their slump.
The Devils (25-31-12), in last place in the Eastern Conference, are in an 0-8-2 slide.
“It’s tough to be in this environment right now,” said 22-year-old center Joseph Blandisi, in his second professional season. “Everybody is really desperate and wants to win and we’re just not finding ways to do that right now.”
The Coyotes (24-35-8), with the second fewest points in the Western Conference _ the Devils lost, 3-2 to the NHL-worst Avalanche on Thursday night at Colorado _ scored three in the first period and chased Cory Schneider, who received minimal defensive help, after he allowed four goals on nine shots. Keith Kinkaid came on to make 20 saves and Mike Smith stopped 26 shots for the Coyotes as well as turning aside Taylor Hall’s penalty shot at 17:22 of the third period.
The AHL postseason will be part of the evaluation process in terms of determining who can help the rebuilding organisation next season at the NHL level. Still, it’s these last 15 regular-season games that management will weigh most heavily when making its offseason decisions.
The plan is to return Blandisi and up to seven of his current Devils’ teammates to Albany for this season’s AHL playoffs.
Fellow forwards Nick Lappin, Blake Coleman, Miles Wood, Kevin Rooney, Blake Pietila and possibly Pavel Zacha and defenseman Steven Santini – all rookies – may all be key playoff contributors for Albany.
“We’ll get most of the guys back from here and I think we’ll have a good team,” said Pietila, 24, recalled on Saturday with Devante Smith-Pelly out with a lower-body injury.
“The more hockey the better,” added Blandisi, who received the secondary assist as Hall, from the right circle, set up Kyle Palmieri’s power-play goal at the far post to cut the Coyotes’ lead to 4-1 at 5:47 of the second period. “I was happy to do that last year. That was my favorite playoff run of my career to date. So I think we’re all pretty excited to go back down there and have a long playoff run.”
Predators 3 Sharks 1; Blue Jackets 3 Sabres 5; Flames 3 Jets 0; Panthers 2 Lightning 3; Maple Leafs 3 Hurricanes 2; Senators 4 Avalanche 2; Devils 4 Coyotes 5;
Islanders 3 Blues 4; Penguins 3 Canucks 0; Capitals 2 Kings 4
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Afghanistan crush Scotland by 130 runs
Star at night: Afridi, Pakistan’s first-strike destroyer
Verstappen holds off Hamilton to double his F1 lead
Messi muted as 10-man PSG draw with Marseille
Man Utd thrashing by Liverpool 'was coming', says Shaw
Injured Federer slides further down rankings
Asalanka, Rajapaksa lead Lanka to comfortable win
Babar, Rizwan star as Pakistan break India jinx with 10-wkt rout
Arab Cup last-minute ticket sales from Monday