Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/16/13
The Devils were back at Prudential Center on Tuesday taking a brief respite from life on the road and still trying to find their way to their first victory of the season. They’ll practice at The Rock again this afternoon before flying to Ottawa for Thursday night’s game against the Senators for the last of their five consecutive games in Canada (and their sixth road game out of seven overall this season). “You get to regroup a little bit” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said Tuesday. “We watched some video. We had a good practice. Now we’ve got to translate that into a win on Thursday.” The Devils (0-3-3) went 0-2-2 in the first four games in Canada and are 0-3-2 on the road this season. Their lone home game was a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders on Oct. 4. “I don’t think that has helped” goaltender Cory Schneider said of the team’s road-heavy schedule so far. “But at the same time sometimes you find teams that go on these early road trips and sort of figure out their identity and become closer and carry that momentum back home. You have to win on the road in this league. You can’t be an average team on the road and expect to be in the mix.” Right now this Devils team can only aspire to be average. They are 2-11-8 in their past 21 road games dating to last season. Before this season the Devils never needed more than five games to record their first win. Only once in their history have they had fewer than their paltry three points after six games. That was in the dismal 1983-84 season when they had just two points and a 1-5-0 record after six games on their way to 2-20-0 through 22 games. As Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said “You don’t slide like that by having one little problem.” It’s a bunch of little things that have added up. One of them has been a failure to play well with the lead and finish games. They’ve been tied or ahead after two periods in four of their six games. Teams with speed have given them trouble. In the past their forwards have done a good job of slowing down the opposition in the neutral zone and made it easier on their defensemen. That’s not been the case consistently enough so far as speedy forwards such as the Islanders’ Michael Grabner and Winnipeg’s Evander Kane repeatedly were able to enter the offensive zone unhindered and blow past helpless defensemen. The Devils have also been guilty of blown defensive-zone coverages at key moments such as rookie Sean Monahan’s winning goal with 2:43 left in Friday’s 3-2 loss in Calgary.
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