When the Devils won 7 of 10, and I had heard faint whispers of a playoff run, I warned people to proceed with caution. No sense getting emotionally invested in a playoff run that could be halted by the slightest of two game losing streaks. Then the Devils reeled off 4 straight losses. A demoralizing, eye sore of a loss against the cellar dwelling Edmonton Oilers, as well two hard fought losses against Chicago and Nashville. Two games that the Devils were to even be in in the first place. Listening to those games on my phone I had to stop and make sure I wasn't just listening to a Cory Schnieder highlight reel.
Well, the Devils are currently in the midst of something that has been unprecedented, uncharted territory for the last two calendar years. 730+ days, over 24 months, and finally, FINALLY the Devils have a 4 game winning streak. While that may seem petty to most franchises, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I'll be damned if this ain't the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Do I want to talk playoffs? Absolutely not. Is the faint possibility still there? Your damn right it is. Currently 8 points behind Boston, a team who is sinking quicker than the stock of Malaysian Airlines. Six points behind Florida, a team that is as familiar with winning as a blind person is with the color wheel. Four points behind the Flyers, a team who prides itself on disappointing it's loyal fan base. I'm still taking a very skeptical approach to this team, but to say the Devils are completely out of it is simply erroneous.
I think the most glowing thing we could say about this new formed trifecta of a coaching staff is that as least we know what to expect. The Devils are going to battle every night. Each player on the team has a very distinct role, and as of recently, is filling it quite nicely. Who would have thought that Jordin Tootoo would be the perfect fit on a line with Travis Zajac and Mike Cammalleri? Who would thought Bernier would help Elias and Henrique find their scoring touch? It might be blind luck. After all, a broken clock is still right twice a day. However, the coaching staff's ability to see the uselessness of Martin Havlat and Michael Ryder has the Devils playing with the best possible lineup that they can offer.
Timely goal scoring, steady defense, and a lights out goaltender. That's been the formula and the Devils have it down to a science. This recent span of success hasn't shown the Devils to be an overwhelming offensive team. Hell, on most nights they still get outshot and out chanced by a fairly wide margin. But the secondary scoring has been there, the defense has chipped in on offense, and Cory Schneider has all but refused to let this team lose. This team is getting the most out of a roster that is still sorely lacking in the talent department. If i had shown these line combinations to even the most respected hockey analyst a month ago he would have had the Devils sweeping the basement floor.
I respect the hell out the turnaround the Devils have engineered. Lou has always been a man that has the win at all costs attitude. Will that attitude cost him a puncher's chance at drafting McDavid or Eichel? Most likely. But it's the same attitude that has raised 3 Stanley Cup banners to the ceiling. It's the same attitude that took a 6th seeded Devils team to the finals in 2012. While the playoffs remain a pipe dream. It's encouraging to watch this team play solid hockey, and win some games along the way.