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Devils finally get first win, Sabres sink some more

Oct 19, 2013, 10:01 PM EDT

schneidergetty Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils finally won their first game of the 2013-14 season on Saturday, pounding the also-slumping New York Rangers 4-0. In the process, New Jersey leapfrogged some of the other grim-looking East teams with five points, including those Rangers (four points) and maybe the bleakest of all: the Buffalo Sabres (three points).

Somber Sabres

Buffalo hosted a team that’s going in a very different direction – the Colorado Avalanche – and lost a game that was arguably more lopsided than the 4-2 score indicates. The Avalanche collected a 4-1 score and 22-14 shot advantage through two periods, then took their feet off the accelerator in the third (Buffalo fired 16 shots to Colorado’s four and brought it to 4-2).

While the Sabres have so little to look forward to that the best news of the night seemed to be that Thomas Vanek probably avoided an injury, the Devils might be able to build some momentum.

Devils see some light

It might be faint praise to say that the Devils are middle-of-the-pack in certain fancy stats, but when you narrow things down to the lowly East, they may be one of the better puck possession teams in the conference. That 4-0 win came against a morbid Rangers squad, but it could also be a sign that the bounces are starting to go in New Jersey’s favor (instead of against the Devils).

Passing the torch

If New Jersey wants to make the playoffs, they might need to make a painful decision to give the majority of the starts to Cory Schneider instead of Martin Brodeur, though.

The numbers are dramatically different so far this season (.927 save percentage for Schneider, .865 save percentage for Brodeur), but most importantly, Schneider has drastically outplayed his colleague the past three seasons:

Schneider
2010-11: 16-4-2, .929 save percentage
2011-12: 20-8-1, .937 save percentage
2012-13: 17-9-4, .927 save percentage

Brodeur
2010-11: 23-26-3, .903 save percentage
2011-12: 32-21-4, .908 save percentage
2012-13: 13-9-7, .901 save percentage

There are plenty excuses you can roll out to explain that away, yet the magnitude of the disparity is pretty tough to deny.

The clock’s ticking

There’s no doubt the Devils owe Brodeur, 41, a lot of gratitude, but are they really going to choose loyalty over what seems to be a better chance at making the playoffs? The plan is clearly to pass the torch to the 27-year-old battling with Brodeur, so why not bite the bullet and do it now?

Making that choice sooner rather than later might just mean the difference between New Jersey making or missing the postseason in a laughably bad division and a weak conference.

Hey, even the Sabres are going with the right guy in net (unless they trade him) …

  1. devilsarethebest - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    You know it!!!

  2. billsin20xx - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Do you think Pegula’s going to sit back all year in an empty arena for the 3rd period or will he finally realize Regier has to go? And listening to Rolston’s post game interview was an eye opener, he had no answer for how to get the team fired up (maybe line dancing?? lol), and no comment if he felt any pressure since he’s only had 8 total wins with this team since last year.
    Again, how do you keep Regier for 15 years with 4 totally unsuccessful rebuilds? The guys a loser!
    FIRE REGIER!!!

    • bullwinkle88 - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:24 AM

      No. Although the fans might force Pegula’s hand, I hope it doesn’t happen. Darcy has a plan in place and I’d rather have Darcy negotiating the Vanek & Miller trades than anyone else.

      • billsin20xx - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        Yea, Regier has done such a great job for 15 years I’d like to see the loser keep his job too…..

  3. 950003cups - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    One win ain’t convincing. Lundqvist played like garbage giving up 3 soft goals. Don’t make much of that story just yet.

    • devilsarethebest - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      I’m seriously having trouble believing you’re actually a Devils fan after your posts the past two days. You’re the kind of fan that makes our team look bad. Not sure why you’re always so angry with the team when we lose. Real fans always stick with us, whether lose or win. Cheer up!

      • 950003cups - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM

        I’m sorry. I lefty my pom-poms in 2003. This team hasn’t won a game all year. DeBoer has made awful line up decisions. Open our eyes. Lundqvist played like complete garbage. Has been all year. This win is great. But if you think the Devils problems are solved over a garbage goalie (I never considered him “elite”) then you need to put away the pom-poms for a minute. This squad has to rattle off 3 wins in a row before they can be taken seriously. This win only extended DeBoer’s stay in NJ.

        He had to go ASAP. He stinks. The team had not woken up for him.

        Talk to me in a 2 weeks. If DeBoer is still here, it’s over.

        What kind of fan are you? One win out of 7 and you get an instant boner? Don’t get me wrong, I’m living the beat down they gave the rags. But I’m the type of fan who looks at the team as a whole. The entire product. And frankly, it’s shown UGOTZ!!!!

      • devilsarethebest - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        You clearly don’t watch the games or just don’t understand what’s going on. The team buys into DeBoer and most games we actually outplayed so he’s not going anywhere. He’s a good coach who has a team that has no luck. Trust me I’m just as angry when we lose. But yesterday we dominated the whole game and that’s the kind of team I like to see. So stop being a fire DeBoer bandwagon and actually watch and read some stuff.

      • 950003cups - Oct 20, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        You’re right. Lundqvist stood on his head. Staal, Girardi and McDonough were unbelievably blocking shots and hitting hard. That Del Zotto kid played like a future HOF. That Matts Zuccini kid reminds me of the rags version of Gronkowski. Nobody could solve him.

        Did you see how Schneider robbed them shot after shot? Loktionov went end to end on some of those rushes, sliding the puck in the net like osmosis. There were no clear holes. Did you see how they held Henrique down but he somehow got a stick on the puck and blasted it net like a laser. Lundqvist had ZERO chance! That Ryder goal was the DeBoer signature Triple Deflection from the point.

        You make it like it was game 2 of the 2012 EC finals.

        Last night was nothing more than the main reason that rags fans will cheer Tortorella when he plays against them next month. Maybe show highlights of his press conferences on the Jumbotron.

        That ranger squad we played was a joke. They’ve become the new Islanders under AV (which is an acronym for Another Victim)

  4. banger60 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Rangers fan but it least they cant lose a game between now and Wednesday, since they play thurs, the really suck right now!

    • barkar942 - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      If they could only lose the GM and coaching staff between now and then!

  5. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    If only Henry’s pads were bigger …

  6. earpaniac - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    This is one of the trickiest things in sports: how to deal with a beloved fan-favorite & all-time great who is obviously way past being in his prime, and maybe hurting a team by playing, but who doesn’t want to retire. There is no good way to handle it, and some teams just make it worse. It’ll be interesting to see how NJ handles it.

  7. blomfeld - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    WITH ALL DUE RESPECT O’BRIEN

    The Sports Desk @ Der Dortmund Messenger had this pegged ‘months’ ago when they ran the following article …

    Montag, 6 Mai 2013

    *** Die besten Absicht-Bewahrer des NHL! ***

    1) Jonathan Quick (kamerad)
    2) Jonathan Bernier (kamerad)
    3) Corey Schneider (kamerad)
    4) Carey Price
    5) Marc-Andre Fleury

    28) Drew Doughty (kamerad)
    29) Alexander Ovechkin
    30) Roberto Luongo

  8. buffalo65 - Oct 20, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Yes, fire Darcy has become popular but so was fire Ruff and how has that worked out? Carful what you wish for.

    • billsin20xx - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Who was the one who fired Ruff??? It was time for him to go, he had been here too long – but his counterpart Regier needed to go to. Please Pegula, get rid of him and let a new GM take of trading Miller and Vanek.
      FIRE DARCY

  9. jhuck92 - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Their first win was a shutout against their arch rivals. When the Devils actually decide to win a game, they win big.

  10. ralphwilsonisrich - Oct 20, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Billionaire Pegula has the franchise so f-up right.

  11. slysipops - Oct 21, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    i thought JAGIR was the answer ??? …………..

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