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Devils ends first half with strong run

Dec 31, 2013, 6:54 PM EDT

New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur blocks a shot by the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in Newark, N.J. The Devils won 2-1. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) AP

Expectations were about as low as they could be for the New Jersey Devils after Ilya Kovalchuk left them and their 0-4-3 start to the campaign did nothing to change people’s minds.

Lately though, they’ve managed to turn things around. With their 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh this afternoon, the Devils are now 5-1-2 in their last eight games. They also only lost two contests by more than a single goal in the month of December.

“We’re doing a good job staying in games and getting points,” Martin Brodeur said, according to the Star-Ledger. “And, as of late, winning games also. For sure omce in a while we’re going to have off games. When you do, it’s how you respond.

“Early on we didn’t respond very well to some of the adversity. We seem to be a little more fit for it now.”

They still have a lot of work to do with half their season now in the books. Their offense is still a weakness and they’ve been relying heavily on Jaromir Jagr, 41, to lead the charge. If he slows down as the season wears on, they could be in serious trouble.

Devils fans also have to hold their breath as they await for news about forward Patrik Elias, who left Tuesday’s contest due to an injury. Devils coach Pete DeBoer said that he would have an update tomorrow.

At the same time, the Devils have the benefit of playing in the Metropolitan Division. If they were in the Western Conference, they’d have a daunting uphill climb ahead of them from their current 17-6-8 record. As it is, they’re tied with the Flyers in terms of points for third place in their division, although Philadelphia has played in two fewer contests.

In other words, with half the season left, the Devils still have plenty to play for.

  1. chill1184 - Dec 31, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Plenty of ups and downs in the first half no doubt. In my view I’ll take one game at a time, considering the expectations that I had for the season.

  2. 950003cups - Dec 31, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Take that Sid!

    • nj666 - Jan 1, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      you mean the same sid that offered help to clowe after his recent concussion…

  3. thejrod2006 - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    The second half also sets up fairly well for the Devils…..they’re done with the West Coast trips. They’re done with Pittsburgh. 23 home games vs. 18 away (with 10 of the final 14 at home). 10 games in the Metropolitan division to go, so they’ll probably determine there whether or not they’re going to get in the Top 3 in the Metropolitan with their games remaining against the Caps, Flyers, Rangers, etc.

    Hopefully the Elias injury isn’t too serious, but you can tell from watching the games that the team is starting to come together…..there’s chemistry with the Zubrus-Zajac-Jagr and Clowe-Henrique-Ryder lines. I’d like to see Boucher and Elias on the same line and the team continue to get secondary scoring from the defensemen…..maybe add one more forward for some complimentary scoring.

    The Metropolitan stinks, so there’s no real good reason why after half of the season, the Devils can’t find a way to sneak into the playoffs….that would make the whole not having a first rounder sting a little less if they got in and they could potentially steal a round or two if they got a good matchup.

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