Let's just say what it is, this team is bipolar. That's not to say that there aren't legitimate reasons why that is the case. The commitment to being more aggressive was bound to create just as many chances against as it was for a team that's taken risks to maintain a scoring touch that has had Devils fans slapping themselves across the face to make sure they aren't dreaming. Despite their defiance of the odds with their offensive contributions this defense is still starved for talent, so some breakdowns in their own zone were to be expected. I would prefer that those breakdowns didn't constantly result in the best player on the opposing team standing in front of their net completely uncovered, but I guess that's just what happens when 66.6% of your blueline would benefit from playing sheltered minutes.
Still, putting your finger on the pulse of this team is like putting your finger on the pulse of a pregnant women while she's Christmas shopping a week before the Holidays. It's almost guaranteed to leave you scratching your head wondering how a team could experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in matter of minutes. I legitimately have never seen anything like it. One second the Devils are running their opposition off the ice faster than a bunch of pesky kids drawing dicks on a snowy public pond and the next they are chasing them around their own zone as effectively as Paul Blart without his segway. Watching the 'fast, attacking, supportive' tagline come to fruition warms my heart so much that I have to wipe away a single tear every time Miles Wood outraces two guys on the forecheck, but there has been just as many instances when a more accurate slogan would be 'loose, lackadaisical, undisciplined'. This team has so many mood swings that even the posterboy for consistency between the pipes had appeared schizophrenic at times.
I'm certainly not complaining because this version of the Devils was never supposed to be a finished product. That said, if they want to achieve that all-too-elusive playoff spot then they'll have to maintain the intensity that has them scoring 3-5 goals a night while cutting down on the mistakes that have them giving up just as many. Especially with a comically daunting schedule on the horizon. Last night's game against Vancouver was closer than it should have been because somehow the Devils were penalized two men when their best penalty killer had his nose broken, but they still have to be better than they were in the final minutes if they want survive the next couple of weeks. I can't believe I am saying this, but they have proven they can go goal-for-goal with some of the best teams in the league. What will make or break this season is whether they can defend against those teams with any consistency.
P.S. Thoughts and prayers to Philip Larsen, because this got scary quickly...
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