Mar 2, 2013, 8:20 PM EDT
Last season, the New Jersey Devils took advantage of a 12-4 shootout record to produce a 102-point season. They’re still in the mix in the East, but after Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, they’re now 0-3 in the skill competition in 2013.
“Last year, we got (12) shootout wins, so it’s (12) extra points,” Kovalchuk said. “If we wouldn’t (get) that, I don’t think we would have made the playoffs.”
Technically speaking, Kovalchuk is correct; the Devils would have finished with 90 points; the eighth-place Ottawa Senators ended 2011-12 with 92.
It’s hard to imagine any team going 0-16 in shootouts during a full season, but either way, head coach Peter DeBoer still regrets seeing three bonus points slip away already.
“We’re leaving a lot of points on the table,” DeBoer said. “We were the benefactor of that last year and this year we’re on the other side of it.”
The Devils are now on a four-game losing streak, yet they’re still just one standings point behind the Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins as of this moment. Winning more shootouts might just close the gap (or keep them in the playoffs).
Shootouts aren’t everything, though, obviously. As the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington points out, the struggling Sabres hold the NHL’s best shootout record at 3-0.
- Of course: ‘Hawks, Ducks’ back-and-forth series is going to Game 7 1
- WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Blackhawks, Western Conference Final Game 6 1
- As Bolts deal with illness, extra day of rest could prove beneficial 10
- Sounds like it’s Rundblad, not TVR, in for Chicago on defense 16
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ 39
- Report: Sharks to name DeBoer head coach 17
- Video: Lundqvist helps lead Rangers back to New York for Game 7 6
- Lightning get taken to ‘school of hard knocks’ in third-period collapse 11
- A storm brewing: Rangers rally to force Game 7 with Lightning (Video) 11
- Video: Lundqvist stones Stamkos with left-pad save 0
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (75)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Fetisov wants to restrict young Russians from playing in the NHL (53)
- Babcock wants to ‘put Canada’s team back on the map’ (49)