They are not decisive wins… in fact, far from. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the New Jersey Devils saw action against both the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins, respectively.
Tuesday, when the playoff spot was actually clinched, the Devils took the Islanders to Overtime and Patrik Elias’s shot, deflected by Zach Parise, got the game winner.
On Wednesday, the Devils needed a shootout to clinch the victory, with Zach Parise getting the lone goal in the shootout.
Unfortunately, the Devils will not be seeing a divison title this year, despite the two-in-a-row vistories because the Penguins also won on Wednesday and now hold the lead in the conference with 102 points and one game left. The Devils have two games left, but only 97 points, and two games left. The most the Devils can get up to is 101 points.
Regardless, now the Devils will most likely take the fourth spot in the conference, which could pit the Devils against teams like the New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, or the Boston Bruins. Other mathematical possibilities include the Carolina Hurricanes, the Philadelphia Flyers, or even the Washington Capitals.
In good news, the Devils have clichéd their 11th consecutive playoff spot. Nevertheless, their weak offense should not be overlooked. Sure, anything can happen in the playoffs, but they must improve scoring if they wish to post a strong stand in the playoffs. With the exception of a March 28 game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Devils have scored no more than two goals in regulation since March 15th. To be precise, that’s 7 out of 8 games in which no more than two goals have been scored. That’s early low, especially for a team approaching the 100-point mark in the season.
The Devils will see the Flyers one more time, playing against the April 4, and the Rangers for the last game of the season on April 6. For the record this season: NJ vs Philadelphia: 6-1-0 and NJ vs NYR: 0-4-3.
The Rangers are technically do not have a guaranteed playoff spot, but have the most games remaining. They are only one point ahead of Ottawa, Boston, and Carolina; two points ahead of Philadelphia, and three points ahead of Washington.
The Flyers find themselves in the last seat for the East and could very easily drop out depending on what occurs with Washington and even Buffalo if they do not get critical points in the last two games.