You know what, as counterproductive as it sounds, sometimes you just have to get a little lifted to get brought back down to Earth. If unintentionally practicing in a hot boxed arena had any hand in helping the Devils overcome their recent home ice woes than the risk of any impending drug tests is certainly worth it. Not going to say that some second hand reefer smoke was able to help the Devils grip their sticks a little looser last night, but I am saying that I can't remember the last time they scored 26 seconds into the game. Take that for what it's worth. Let's face it, the up and down nature of the last few games has had everyone invested in the organization feeling a little anxious, and their is only one tried, true, and almost legal way to relieve yourself of anxiety. This season has started off better than anyone could have imagined, but there is still that lingering thought in the back of everyone's mind that this team isn't nearly as good as it has shown. Well, the best way to forget about something that you try not to pay much attention to is to burn away some brain cells. I think the entirety of the Devils organization owes Hot97 and their following a well deserved 'thank you'. Not only did they leave the the players a little faded following the morning skate, but they left the feeling of a 4-game home losing skid a lot faded following the night skate.
Did the Devils play their best game against the Panthers? Not even close. In fact, before Cammalleri added an insurance goal early in the 3rd period, you would have sworn everyone outside of Cory Schneider was still feeling the affects of their wake-and-bake. That's a concerning trend given how lucky the Devils were to steal a point from Philadelphia, but the wins always become harder to find as you sink deeper and deeper into a hole. The Devils, once again, avoided letting a string of forgettable play develop into a string of unforgettable losses. That's not exactly a recipe for success going forward, but it's something to build off of heading into a meaningful game, for all parties involved, in Toronto. This team still leans on it's top-6 far too much for anyone's liking, but with a bottom-6 that is serviceable, at best, that is not likely to change. Is Mike Cammalleri going to continue his torrid pace? Probably not. However, the ascension of players like Adam Henrique and Kyle Palmieri, as well as the surprising play of Lee Stempniak, make that less and less necessary. This Devils team might not be the one that swept the Blackhawks earlier in the year, but they are certainly capable of getting themselves a playoff spot. Let's just hope they don't need to enlist the help of substance abuse too often to do it.