Well, that was quick. I'm glad that Mike Cammalleri netted a hat trick and all, but it would have been nice if he gave me a bit of a heads up before he almost immediately face fucked me with my own foot. Don't get me wrong, I don't take back a single word I wrote even though they pack less of a punch after the person they were directed at went from goalless to third on the team in scoring in no more than an hour and half (which is the most "Devils" stat of all time). The fact that it took every single one of his three goals last night to get the Devils their first road win in relatively comfortable fashion doesn't change the fact that he was absolutely atrocious for the vast majority of the first ten games. That said, I'm glad that his play is a concern of the past because Cammy didn't just get the monkey off his back last night, he put a couple right between it's eyes like a 4 year old child had accidentally fallen into it's enclosure. I was always willing to see if eventually getting his first goal would help the guy regain his composure and stop trying to overcompensate for his lack of production, but even I didn't think that just watching the puck sneak inside the near post was enough to completely rehabilitate his new-found turnover addiction. Couldn't be happier that it did, and that one underwhelming one timer completed aided the performance of someone whose play was beginning to make me sick.
Other than a much needed sigh of relief, I think what last night's victory over the Hurricanes gave us was a look at thing that this team needs to do - or not do - to be successful. Obviously the level of competition was noticeably weaker, but the Devils corrected much of what ailed them the previous night against the Lightning. That's not to say they played the perfect game against Carolina. Scoring two goals on their only two shots in the second period may have been efficient, but it's generally not an effective way to win hockey games. That said, they were able to clear the zone with consistency, win timely face-offs in their own end, limit their penalties to the accidental/necessary variety, and get goal scoring from the players (fine, player) who are paid to score goals.
The Devils just aren't talented enough to win games with regularity when their best players aren't performing like their best players, and they damn sure aren't talented enough to win games when they aren't proficient in doing the little things correctly. I don't want to go full Al Pacino in 'Any Given Sunday' and talk about hockey is a game of inches, but it is a much easier to win when you can complete tape-to-tape passes that travel more than a handful of them. There's still a lot of growing this team has to do, and it will probably coincide with the time period in which Adam Henrique and Kyle Palmieri realize that the thumbs in their asses might be effecting their play. Until they do, the Devils need to focus on the nailing down the basics like a frat boy whose entire dating pool lives in a sorority house, because that and stellar goaltending is currently what this team lives and dies by.
P.S. Mike Cammalleri has to be the leader in the "clubhouse" for deepest breath taken this year...