The Devils’ second home game in December started out a lot like their last home game… a quick couple of goals by the opponent in less than two minutes. Against Montreal, the Devils gave up two goals in 1:38. Against Detroit on Saturday night, it took only 1:42 for the Red Wings to tally two goals.
Unlike the Montreal game, coach John MacLean did not pull Martin Brodeur for allowing two goals in 1:42 like he had done with Johan Hedberg the week before. Instead, Brodeur stayed in net to see a total of four goals scored against him.
Since Brodeur’s return on Friday night in Ottawa, he’s had seven goals scored against him in two days.
Most people would easily fault Brodeur by saying he’s not at the top of his game anymore…let’s trade him for scoring talent. Media reports keep encouraging that solution.
Then there are the next batch that say it’s time to fire coach John MacLean. But those on the inside disagree with that assessment, especially the players and Devils President, CEO and General Manager Lou Lamoriello. They have to find a way themselves with the resources they have and that has been their focus.
“We’re all frustrated,” captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. “We’re all kinds of beside ourselves of what the heck is going on out here. What are we doing wrong? What are we missing? I think that’s the most frustrating part. We can’t find the answer to that. I don’t think anyone can.”
The players take full responsibility for what is happening out on the ice. They do not fault their goalie. They are very adamant about not faulting their coach. After all, the players are the ones making the mistakes out on the ice, not the coach.
“We’re playing hard,” Langenbrunner said. “We’re doing a lot of things we need to do, but we’re not playing well enough to win the games. Bottom line, we’re playing hard, but we’re not playing smart. We play smart, then we don’t play hard. It’s finding that line and we’re not doing it. We’re making too many mistakes for our own guys out on the ice. We’re putting ourselves in situations in giving them chances, not making anything ourselves, or putting the puck in the right place. Our dumping is ending up chasing.
“We can only control what we do. We can’t worry about the what ifs, or the could haves, or the should haves that have been around. Sure we’re all pissed.”
“Our mentality coming into the season is Stanley Cup Playoffs every year,” Travis Zajac said. “It doesn’t change. Anything else is unacceptable. Everyone knows that coming here. It’s a tradition of winning and having success in the playoffs and the regular season.
“Right now, it’s not happening. Guys have been there before. They’ve won before. They know what it takes, so we all have to find a way together to get out of this.”
Lamoriello said recently that he plans on making no changes anytime soon. The Devils have to find their own way out of this. There are no shakeups forthcoming. They have to find a way.
They’ve been in similar situations like this before. They’ve been the team on the outside looking in. They’ve also been that team that was last in their division at the midway point to winning nine straight games to becoming number one in their division on the last day of the regular season. They have witnessed miracles before.
It’s not over yet and the Devils haven’t given up.
Langenbrunner went into the boards awkwardly 0:18 into the third period. Niklas Kronwall was called for boarding on the play.
Langenbrunner reported that he was fine after the game, even though there was a possibility of aggravating his neck area where he sustained a similar injury during the November 10th game against the Buffalo Sabres. In that game, he also fell into the boards awkwardly and ended up missing eight games as a result.