Some may think the sky is falling.
Take a deep breath and say this three times: "It's only three games."
In the wake of their meltdown loss in Edmonton on Monday night, the Devils are a team still trying to find their footing amidst this nascent 2013 campaign. All this team can do is chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. In truth, no matter how bad that loss was, there are still 79 games left to play. In terms of the big picture, this game will be a blip on the radar three months from now, if the Devils are able to learn from this game.
Though it feels like an eternity ago, as they were blowing the lead, another 3-0 game came to mind.
Remember that loss? That was game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2012. This was a home loss in a playoff game and it didn't cripple the team. They were able to overcome that defeat. That's all that this year's club needs to do. It's almost a good thing that they have another game tonight, because it forces them to quickly put this defeat in the rear view mirror.
Last night, in the process of learning how to win, this team got a good lesson in playing a complete, sixty-minute hockey game. This early in the season, teams have to lose in order to learn how to win. The fact is, no matter how bad last night was, there's a game tonight in Vancouver and it's another chance for this team to get their first win of the season.
Still, there are some glaring issues that this team needs to address moving forward.
So far through three games, there are almost an equal number of positives and negatives to take away. The offense doesn't look like it'll be an issue. They've scored seven goals in the past two games. Usually, if you score three or four goals, that should be enough to win the game. Both times, however, it was not enough because of the defense.
The defensive breakdowns and struggles at neutral ice are correctable, but the two areas that stand to be a problem are the faceoff dot and the shootout. Last night the Devils won just 25 of 67 faceoffs. That's 37.3% which is completely unacceptable. Considering that one of the Edmonton goals came directly off of a faceoff loss by Travis Zajac, who won five of seventeen faceoffs for 29.4%, this is an area which will plague this team.
Losing faceoffs limits offensive zone opportunities and also allows opponents better scoring chances of their own. If this team is going to constantly get beat in the dot, they will struggle.
Looking at some of the positives, the offseason acquisitions are already paying dividends. Damien Brunner has been spectacular at times so far, with three goals to start the season. Michael Ryder has shown dead-eye accuracy with his shot, as he has notched two goals on the season.
Whatever the case may be, this team is searching for a W in the worst way. A win tonight, coupled by a strong performance by Cory Schneider in his return to Vancouver, would go a long way. Most teams would sign up for three out of four points to begin a road trip in a heartbeat.
All that's left is for this team to take what they experienced last night and channel it into a full, three-period effort. A win would go a long way for this team's confidence. You have to believe that the Devils view tonight's game as a must win, because if these losses keep piling up, no amount of positives from these last few games will hide the early blemish on their season.