The New Jersey continue trucking along, finishing a grueling six-game road trip 4-2, amassing eight of a possible twelve points. The trip included stops against some of the league’s best, and, as has happened many times throughout the season, many believed that this excursion was going to be the dagger in the Devils’ season. Alas, it was not.
“No one really gives us a chance,” says Taylor Hall, who set a career-high with 81 points after accumulating three on Saturday night in Pittsburgh, including the game-winning goal twenty-seven seconds into overtime. “No one is still giving us a chance. Every week we never seem to get talked about or be in anyone’s power rankings. No one gives us any respect around the League. And yet, here we are, coming out of our road trip 4-2.”
The Devils find themselves a mere three points ahead of the fast-charging Florida Panthers, who hold two games in hand. Luckily for New Jersey, six of their last eight games are at home. The unlucky part is that of those six games, three are against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Toronto Maple Leafs. They also have to finish the season in Washington against the Capitals.
So the road ahead doesn’t get any kinder, but it falls in line with the team’s mantra: “New Jersey Devils vs. Everybody, New Jersey Devils vs. the World.” These phrases were printed on the front and backs on shirts that the players found hanging in their lockers prior to a come-from-behind victory in Philadelphia on February 13. Even since it has been used as their motivation as they continue their originally unlikely push towards their first playoff appearance since their Stanley Cup Finals run in 2011-2012. Only Travis Zajac and Andy Greene still remain in New Jersey from that team.