from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
A year ago, the Devils were set to embark on a run that ended in the Stanley Cup Finals. Today, we’re left to wonder what has gone wrong this season:
1. Injuries to two stars
Goalie Martin Brodeur was sidelined by a pinched nerve in his upper back and neck for most of March. He did not play in 13 straight games and the Devils went 3-8-2 in those games.
Kovalchuk hasn’t played since clattering into the end boards on March 23 against the Florida Panthers. The Devils have lost all 10 games, albeit three times in shootouts and once in overtime.
That’s a combined 3-14-6 during those two periods. Had the Devils even played .500 hockey during those stretches, they’d be in the playoffs.
2. Too many role players
General manager Lou Lamoriello made some key moves to assemble a winning team last season. The additions of Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier were outstanding and Stephen Gionta completed the fourth line.