Devils Notebook: Playoff race coming down to its conclusion

Head coach Peter DeBoer
Head coach Peter DeBoer is still pushing for the playoffs.
Credit: Getty Images

The numbers do not lie.

Entering the 70th game of their season, the Devils were 11th in the East and sixth in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points. The Devils trail Columbus by five points for the last wild-card spot.

Should the Devils miss the playoffs, they can point to their season-long inability to win overtime and shootout games. The Devils entered Thursday night’s game against the Wild with a 29-27-13 record. Of their 13 losses, eight have come in the shootout.

Another issue has been their record away from The Rock. The Devils have a 13-18-6 road record this season.

But there are some reasons for Devils fans to hold out hope for a playoff berth. The Devils have a 16-9-7 record at home, where they will will play eight of their final 12 games of the season.

Another has been the suddenly hot play of top-line center Travis Zajac. Zajac has eight points (four goals and four assists) in the last seven games.

He has recorded 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 67 games this season.

“Travis is Travis,” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer said after the Devils’ morning skate at the Prudential Center. “You get the consistent game and effort out of him. Pucks are going in for him. I don’t see a big change in what he brings to the rink. He gives you what he’s got.”

Still, for a team that’s built on the collective group instead of an individual star, the Devils need more. That’s why Jacob Josefson skated on a line with Dainius Zubrus Thursday morning.

“We’re looking at some different options for the lineup,” DeBoer said. “We’re going to make some game time decisions. That’s where we are right now.”

When pressed about Josefson, DeBoer said there’s a “good chance” the center would be in the lineup. Josefson has one assist in 21 games this season.

That was as much as DeBoer was willing to disclose about his lineup.

“I’m not trying to be evasive here,” DeBoer said after a chuckle. “We’ve got some decisions to make on some guys. We’re going to take the time to do that.”

Mixed reactions

The Devils were acutely aware that last night’s game marked Zach Parise’s return to New Jersey.

They also had an idea what kind of response their one-time captain could expect from the fan base.

“Probably mixed emotions,” Patrik Elias said with a wry smile. “I’m sure there will be people respectful for what he’s done [for the Devils,] and there will be people upset at him [for signing with Minnesota]. That’s life. That’s hockey life.”

“The fans, for sure, are not pretty pleased with his decision to leave us, especially being the captain,” added Martin Brodeur. “The only drawback is that he went home to Minnesota.”

Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…