What's that you say? The Devils have been playing a wide open, free flowing brand of hockey? It has resulted in goals - for and against - by the bunches? So many goals, in fact, that there was even a few left over for an anemic power play that had been producing nothing more than two minute migraines for those emotionally invested in it's success? Gee, that sounds swell. Nothing wrong with loosening the reigns and playing a more entertaining style of puck, right?
Wrong. So, so very wrong. The four points the Devils managed in the last three games are a falsehood. A facade. An inexcusable performance parading around as an acceptable effort because it benefited from a half-decent result. The sense of optimism that one could get potentially gain from looking at the increase in their 'Goals For' is all-too-comparable to the increase in self-confidence a man could get from looking at his junk immediately after trimming up around the shaft. It's merely an illusion. Your dick doesn't grow two inches by getting a haircut, and the Devils offense didn't become a juggernaut by cutting down on any and all forms of discipline. Mike Cammalleri - as magnificent as he has been since his return - isn't going to put up 8 points every 3 games. The shooting percentage that has kept them in matchups in which they've been vastly outplayed? A product of fortunate circumstances. The lack of structure that has plagued their collective game recently is just as conducive to short term success as it is to long term success, which is to say that it just fucking isn't.
There's simply nothing okay about quickly going down three goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a fan of the Devils, I didn't find the inability to close out an important period against the Detroit Red Wings to be all that compelling. Getting swaddled to the tune of FIFTY (49, but we're just going to add an "uncounted" one for dramatic effect) shots against from the Pittsburgh Penguins isn't what I consider exciting. I'm all for high scoring affairs, but not if it comes at the expense of watching all-world talents like Auston Matthews and Sidney Crosby stand alone in front of the net with literally nothing to worry about other than how they are going to make an inevitably easy goal look more impressive.
The pleasure I derive from seeing the number '4' or '5' next to 'NJ' is counteracted by watching them make their own goaltenders look bad by getting steamrolled in their own end. Getting to pump my fist once or twice more per 60 isn't worth the sheer frustration caused by witnessing sloppy turnovers, shorthanded chances against, and extended periods of flat out futility. The Devils - especially sans Taylor Hall - aren't anywhere near skilled enough to try to get by on talent alone. They need to play systematic hockey and they need to play within themselves. If that means more 2-1 wins like one they picked up in Dallas nearly two weeks ago then so be it. I think I speak for most educated Devils fans when I say I would rather be "bored" by the execution of that game plan than "stimulated" by it's complete and utter failure - even if the latter does net them a loser point or two from time to time.
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