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.
- Are the Pens leaning towards trading Letang? (Updated) 34
- Playoffs Tonight: Can ‘Hawks solve Rask? 16
- Sakic: If we keep top pick, we’ll likely draft a forward 14
- Report: Flyers will buy out Briere, Bryzgalov another story (Updated) 36
- Report: Flyers, Ducks talking about Bobby Ryan 59
- Marchand accuses ‘kitty cat’ Shaw of eye gouging 94
- Quenneville says Hossa is ‘likely’ to play Game 4 12
- Datsyuk announces three-year, $22.5 million extension with Red Wings 12
- Bruins go ‘above and beyond’ to take 2-1 series lead 47
- Chicago’s powerless power play — it’s a problem 4
- Heat rally to beat Spurs in Game 6
- PBT: After blowing lead, can Spurs rebound in Game 7?
- CSN: Report: Hernandez 'not ruled out' as suspect
- PHT: Can Blackhawks solve Rask in Game 4?
- PST: On-fire Altidore lifts USA over Honduras in WCQ
- Underseeded? Nadal draws No. 5 at Wimbledon
- CSN: Celtics-Clippers KG, Rivers trade talks dead