Who would have thought that all it would take to break Cory Schneider out of his funk was having two defenseman that were committed to clearing his crease at any given time?! Here we were mourning the cataclysmic downfall of a guy whose legs have probably gone numb with how often he has had to stand on his head the last few seasons, and all it took for him to find his game was decreasing his workload from 40-something shots to 20-something shots? I can't believe it wasn't until Cory Schneider blanked a team that has had the Devils' number for as long as I can remember that we realized that he's much more likely to perform up to par when facing 3-4 point blank opportunities per game as opposed to 10-12 point blank opportunities per game. Whew, I guess I can finally wipe the sweat from my brow knowing that the sole reason the Devils have won 85% of their games since 2014 didn't go from their lone consistent to a hapless seive over a two month span. Playing something that mildly resembles passable defense actually has an effect on the performance of the person whose job it is to cover up for their mistakes, who knew!?!? Does this mean we don't have to staple an All-World netminder - that happens to be struggling - to the bench in an effort to get the guy that most fans wanted waived from the roster 10 starts ago more playing time?
Trust me, I love me some Keith Kinkaid. I was one of the few that advocated for him to assume the backup role this year, so - in that sense - I feel vindicated by his relative success. However, the fact that it has people - who supposedly have something that could be confused as a long term memory - questioning the abilities of Cory Schneider is nothing short of astounding. Don't get me wrong, I am all for riding the hot hand in between the pipes but that doesn't mean we have to ignore any and all factors that contribute to a goalkeeper's numbers. At this point, bickering about who gets the start is the equivalent of deciding between which pig at the slaughterhouse gets put through the meat grinder first. The masked men have been nothing short of sacrificial lambs for a blueline that is one beat per minute away from flatlining. Hopefully the insertion of Steve Santini (who became my favorite defenseman simply by going 12+ minutes without doing something that made me want to put my head in a vice) continues to help the Devils in their own zone, because I'm really tired of debating which goalie fades more when left hanging out to dry for too long.