After a strong effort against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, the New Jersey Devils took a step back in Lost 3-2 to Nashville Predators last night. The demons got off to a good start, but like so many times before, their power play earned them a win and two points. Let’s go over that and some other important lessons before they finish turning their backs on a tilt against the New York Islanders tonight.
The Demon Power Game continues to be a shame
After a couple of matches that seemed a bit stronger, the Devil’s power play was completely reversed compared to the Predator. The team controlled play 5 to 5 in the first half, resulting in 3 power play opportunities. They didn’t score any of that and looked awful in the process.
The demons only got four shots with three power play opportunities in their first period. They don’t have a high chance of danger. Oh, and the Predators actually have more of a dangerous chance against the Devil’s power play in the early stages. Yes, you read that right. The Predator had a high danger of killing the Demon’s power plays in the first stage. In total, The Devils finished with just seven shots and a high danger between four serves. That’s not even good enough.
There are many problems with Devil’s power play. But what stood out last night was the lack of movement, which has been an issue since the start of last season. ESPN’s black commentator Dominic Moore even noted that the Devil’s power play was too fixed and made it too easy for the Predators to take the penalty because they couldn’t create firing lines.
In Moore’s view, the Devils are the team that create the most chances and lose power in terms of power play in the league. Look at their team’s RAPM chart from Evolving-Hockey, and it’s clear that their power play is having a serious negative impact on their results:
Last night was a perfect example of the Devil’s power play having that negative effect. They had a clear advantage over Corsi and were expected to score 5 of 5 after the first half. But they couldn’t convert, and it brought the Predator to life in the second season. Had they scored a goal or two in the first game, the final score could have been much different.
I’m not sure what the Devil’s plan is to change their power play, but something has to be. The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. The same problems that befell them at the start of the 2020-21 season continue to hurt them today. If they only had a medium power play, they would probably have a better record than 10-10-5. And if it doesn’t get better, it guarantees that it will continue to cost them games.
Hughes & Sharangovich Reconstruction Chemistry
Although Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangovich didn’t count until the Devil pulled in more offensive players in the third inning, both arguably the team’s best players. After clicking and figuring out the chemistry as line-mates in a five-of-five game last season, yesterday’s performance as linemates was almost identical to what the two had done. available for the period 2020-21.
Sharangovich and Hughes finished the match with the best score on Devils, a composite metric that measures a player’s speed in a game. Hughes finished with an expected goal rate (xG%) of 69.87 per cent in a five-fifth match, placing first above the Reds, with Sharangovich right behind him with an xG% of 66, 27 percent. Hughes created a couple of quality scoring opportunities and eventually paid off with the main assist in Sharangovich’s goal for 6v5.
Hughes and Sharangovich, along with Andreas Johnsson, have looked very good together over the past few games. With Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Pavel Zacha rekindling some of the chemistry they had a season ago, the Devils’ top six could be in good form for the foreseeable future. That’s especially true of Hughes looking as if he’s almost 100% recovered from shoulder dislocation. And that will benefit Sharangovich, who the Reds need to start scoring more consistently.
Kuokkanen fights hard
After a solid rookie season in 2020-21, Janne Kuokanen had some tough stuff to start from 2021 to 22. Yesterday’s effort against the Predator was no different. He finished with Corsi third-worst percentage on Devils and had an xG% of 8.73 percent. His match score of -1.11 ranks second worst among all players between the two teams. He also dozed off on the Predators’ third recheck of the goal, which he ended up winning the game.
Head coach Lindy Ruff has used Kuokkanen as a boxing killer, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept him in the squad. With that said, a few matches for Kuokkanen would probably serve him well. Ruff healthy scratch a struggling Ty Smith for the last few games and his game has improved a bit since then. Perhaps giving Kuokkanen a few nights off could help him reset and do so.
It also wouldn’t hurt to give Jesper Boqvist another look. Through the Devils lose 8-4 to Winnipeg Jets on December 3, Boqvist played quite well in that match. However, he hasn’t played since. He’s played on the wing a lot before and would be a great fit in the third line with Dawson Mercer and Tomáś Tatar. That would allow Jimmy Vesey to move to the fourth row alongside Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian, giving the Devils a bit more depth in their final group of six.
The demons hope to end the week with a high score
The Reds end the week tonight with their first trip to UBS Arena, the Islanders’ new arena in Belmont. Despite the loss to Predator, a win would see the Reds finish 2-1 for the week. The Islanders are yet to win a game at UBS Arena since it opened a few weeks ago (0-5-2), and the Devils certainly don’t want to be the team to take home their first win.
With Jonathan Bernier is injured as a substitute and likely to be out for a long time, rookie Akira Schmid could make his NHL debut for the Reds tonight. Schmid was 8-0-2 with a 0.944 save in the AHL with Utica Comets before being called up. If he gets started and his lights out match in the AHL gets moved to the NHL, he can give the Devils the spark they need to keep the Islanders from winning in their new cage. surname.
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Alex Chauvancy is a New Jersey-based Devils writer for The Hockey Writers who has a penchant for advanced stats, prospects, contracts, and deals. Before that, he wrote for the Demon Army Blog, a New Jersey Devils fan blog, from 2015-2017
https://thehockeywriters.com/devils-takeaways-loss-predators-december-10-2021/ 3 takeaways from the New Jersey Devils’ loss to the Nashville Predators