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Devils' D Keeps Them in the Game

Posted by Webster Washington on 2/17/2016 3:51:37 AM

At the start of the NHL season, the New Jersey Devils weren't given a chance in the tough Metropolitan Division. They're still not, but it's not like they're going away, either. The Devils are surprisingly hanging with Pittsburgh for the fourth spot on the Metro ladder and are in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild-card race.

Shabby Offense; Strong D

You wouldn't think the Devils would be around 30 wins this year, considering they are about the worst offensive team in the league. Going into this week they ranked 30th in the league in scoring, with just 2.2 goals per game. Most of the offensive work comes from new winger Kyle Palmieri, who was picked up from Anaheim during the offseason. Palmieri had 20 goals coming into the week. In addition, veteran winger Lee Stempniak has contributed 40 points, with 20 assists.

But at the other end of the ice, New Jersey is a force that continually frustrates foes. At the forefront of that force is the goalkeeper, and no, we're no longer talking about the great Martin Brodeur. But Cory Schneider apprenticed under Brodeur, and apparently some of that talent rubbed off. He carries a goals-against average of under 2, and like Brodeur, carries the lion's share of the workload between the pipes. In addition, the Devils' special teams are beginning to kick in. The power play unit is 11 for 25 in the past nine contests coming into the week, including 7 for 11 at home. When shorthanded, they've killed 22 of last 23 penalties.

Playing the Devils

If the Devils make playoffs, they will certainly be a pain in the goal for any opponent, and that could take them a round or two. In the meantime, check the under in the betting odds of all of their games; the oddsmakers have caught up to their tricks, so you may not get decent price. But under 5 goals at -120 or better should have value. They've hit the under almost twice as much as the over this season, and have three straight unders coming into this week. They have some key Eastern showdowns with a couple of back-to-backs this week.

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