The New Jersey Devils have fallen on hard times recently. The Newark team has gone just 3-7-3 since Dec. 29, falling into a tie for third in the Metropolitan Division with the Columbus Blue Jackets (58 points). Their tremendous start to the season, which saw them atop the Metro before their recent skid, provided playoff hopes for a franchise who hasn’t been in the postseason since losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final in 2012.
There were plenty of plays early on that analysts could break down and point to as reasons for success. MSG analyst and part XHP owner Bryce Salvador has discussed the first pass and other important breakout options, but a particular Damon Severson goal on Nov. 11 had Salvador buzzing about the Devils’ ability to move the puck up ice.
As the former Devils captain points out, a proper breakout can indirectly lead to a goal. Because the Devils utilized their speed and puck-moving ability in the defensive zone, the unit was able to get the puck to the crease and cause a faceoff in the offensive zone. Once Jimmy Hayes gets the puck to Severson off the faceoff, the Devils are able to capitalize. If Will Butcher or any of the Devils on the previous rush decided to just dump it in and allow the Florida Panthers to break back out, this goal doesn’t happen.
This is more proof as to why coaches preach proper puck management. Effectively leading the puck out of the defensive zone and generating a scoring chance, even if the goalie saves it, can lead to an even better scoring chance off the ensuing faceoff.
Make sure to check out Salvador on Devils broadcasts all season long on the MSG Network.
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