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The numbers behind the New Jersey Devils’ horrific 3-9-1 start

Nov 2, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Martin Brodeur

My goodness, the New Jersey Devils are bad. They’re so putrid it’s almost impressive, to be honest.

Only the Chicago Blackhawks have played in more games this season (14 to New Jersey’s 13), yet the Devils only produced a league-low seven standings points. Their expensive home in Newark is no solace either; they’re an astonishing 0-4-1 in their first five games at the Prudential Center this season.

As a polar opposite study to an earlier stats-heavy glance at the incredible beginning by Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, I thought I’d take a look at some of the most shocking, disturbing and bizarre numbers from this nightmarish 13-game meltdown. Enjoy … unless you’re a Devils fan. If that’s the case you might just want to click on another story.

  • It’s not exactly as if the Devils are endlessly losing one-goal games, as they’ve been outscored 42-20 so far this season. That’s more than three goals allowed per game and less than two goals scored per game.
  • “Stat you’d like to point out if you’re writing an article unfairly bashing Ilya Kovalchuk XVII”: those 20 goals mark the lowest amount the Devils scored in the first 13 games franchise history, according to Tom Gulitti. Gulitti points out that the previous low was 29, which they reached during the 1994-95 season.
  • A fair stat for Kovalchuk-bashers: in the last seven games, the $100 million man has one goal and zero assists for one point and a -4 rating. (Gulitti reveals that Kovalchuk isn’t the only top forward producing little to nothing right now, though.)
  • This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the Devils haven’t won two games in a row yet this season.
  • There is an odd pattern forming in their schedule so far. They lost three games, then won one and then lost two to start the season. After a win against the Montreal Canadiens, they went on to lose three games, win one and then two more. So if you want to be annoying like me, the Habs are the win meat while losing four of five games serves as the bread. Or something.
  • The worst part for the Devils is that they actually are putting more shots on net than they’re allowing. In 13 games, they’ve taken 405 shots while allowing 374.
  • In fact, they lost the last two games 6-1 despite putting up 70 shots and only allowing 26. That means their shooting percentage was a horrid 1.4 in the last two contests.
  • They’ve allowed eight PP goals and only scored three.
  • Martin Brodeur’s save percentage has been below 90 percent for eight of his 13 starts.
  • Two out of their three wins were shutouts and they only allowed one goal in their other win.

So those are some of the odd numbers compiled by this so-far-awful rendition of the Devils. Some of the numbers are obscure and some are illuminating, but they’re almost universally troubling.

New Jersey might be playing miserably right now, but on the bright side, the fact that they are out-shooting opponents indicates that they might start churning out wins if their effort level remains reasonable. Eventually, pucks that weren’t going in should go in over a long season.

The question is: will the team be different when they start getting a few breaks? Will John MacLean still be the coach? Perhaps GM Lou Lamoriello might trade a key component or two?

We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but in the mean time, crane your neck to bask in the horrifying glory that is this train wreck of a 13-game start to the season. Unless you’re a Devils fan, of course. (If so, then … sorry.)

  1. cshearing - Nov 2, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    There was no way the Kovalchik signing would end well, but I did not expect this big an implosion. Only 15 years left on that contract!

  2. Manton - Nov 3, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    Yeah, because the first few games of a season will determine the outcome for the next 15 years. You’re the brightest star in the sky, cshearing

  3. jes0458 - Nov 3, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Lou has botched this team over the last 7 years and its NOT the Kovi signing.

    14.5 million for Arnott, Elias and Rolston – 3 guys towards the end of their careers and past their prime.

    Lou got fleeced by the predators by not only taking the 4.5 cap hit for Arnott but also getting Matt Halicuk ( nominated for AHL player of the week) and a 2nd round pick.

    Lou is notorious for overpaying players past their prime and letting his talent get to free agency and letting them walk. ( Rafalski, Neider, Madden, Gionta and again with Paul Martin).

    Then throw in the firing of Claude Julien while the Devils were in first place and Julien wins the Coach of the Year with the Bruins.

    His Resume over the last 7 years is not that of a Hall of Famer but that of someone who should be fired….but the Lou koolaid drinkers will never blame him for anything.

  4. jes0458 - Nov 3, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    The Blackhawks can afford Kane, Toews, Keith, Hossa, Sharp and the Devils can’t afford Kovi! Who’s fault is that?…Teflon Lou!

  5. jes0458 - Nov 3, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Prior to Parise injury the Devils had only 2 top teir players in their prime. Kovi and Zach, everyone else is middle of the road, or past their prime or AHLers. Pretty sure that falls on the GM and I know the revolving door of coach’s does.

    Time for Lou to retire.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1735)
  2. P. Kane (1359)
  3. M. Richards (1241)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1229)
  5. N. Backstrom (1088)