Hey, even Cinderella's other shoe had to drop at some point. I am not saying this magical ride is over, but even the greatest of magicians aren't worth a shit without quality tools of their trade. As much as we don't want to admit it, when the Devils are without their top two centers their lineup is littered with guys that could just as easily be on their hands and knees scrubbing their stepmother's floor. That's not so much an insult as it is a credit to them for being able to keep the Devils in the playoff hunt to this point. Regardless, while this team has proved that nothing can kill their spirit, injuries can certainly kill their ability to put said spirit into action. You can't deny how special the comeback win over the Red Wings felt, but it's certainly not the type of win you can expect to see on a consistent basis. Especially when you are constantly asking each and every player to play a more significant role than they are capable of playing. It's an 82 game season, and everyone has a stinker here and there. However, those stinkers are going to smell a lot worse when you have a 3rd liner, at best, in Jacob Josefson going head-to-head against the likes of John Tavares, and an AHL call-up playing significant minutes against a one of the more talented teams in the league.
In a way, this fight perfectly encapsulated the game. Let's put aside the fact that apparently "player safety" just means putting a guy in the box for half the game when he stands up for a teammate whose safety was compromised, that's neither here nor there. This incident speaks volumes about the game because the intent was undoubtedly there, but the execution was not. I am not questioning the Devils work ethic, but I am questioning them putting that work ethic into practice. They just had one of those games where nothing went right. You know when you wake up on a Sunday morning after a night of heavy drinking and you have the motor skills of Bobby Farnham after eating a pot brownie? I feel like that's what the Devils were dealing with today. The harder they tried to do something the more disastrous it turned out. So we can just chalk this loss up to a debilitating case of the "Sunday scaries", but proceed with caution, because these efforts might not be few and far between if this team can't get healthy down the middle.
P.S. Not that it would have changed the result, but David Schlemko bleeding profusely from the face resulting in an Islanders goal instead of a Devils powerplay was just par for today's course. Appreciate the explanation though stripes...