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Surging Predators Can Help Devils’ Pipe Dream Over the Weekend

The Devils’ playoff odds can significantly increase on Saturday with a regulation win by the Predators.

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New Jersey Devils
Photo by David Russell via Nashville Hockey Now

The New Jersey Devils’ pipe dream lives on.

A dominant effort by the Devils, routing the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 victory on Thursday night, improved their chances of making the playoffs to 14.5% as of Friday morning.

It’s not an overly optimistic number, but it’s certainly better than where they were on Thursday.

New Jersey has now strung together wins in back-to-back games for the ninth time this season after their win over Winnipeg. Perhaps that speaks more to their inability to go on longer winning streaks. They have just four, three-game win streaks this season and have the opportunity over the weekend to claim their first four-game win streak of 2023-24 hosting the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and visiting the New York Islanders on Sunday.

“You know, again, it’s that preparation and being engaged,” interim head coach Travis Green explained when asked how to keep the Devils’ momentum going. “We talked about certain things with our team and not getting ahead of ourselves. We talked about the maturity level of our group on the road trip, being ready to play from the start of the game, and being committed to the game for 60 minutes. It really doesn’t change whether you win or lose. But again, going back to confidence and feeling good about yourself, those are teaching moments and right now the teaching moment for us is ‘hey, we’ve got to play a certain way within our structure, but also with passion and being emotionally engaged in the game to have success, especially going down the stretch into games with teams vying for spots, playoff spots, it’s hard hockey.”

At this point, the Devils’ fate isn’t completely under their control. If they’re going to make this pipe dream of actually sneaking into the playoffs a reality, they’re going to need some help.

Enter former Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette and the Nashville Predators.

Unfortunately, the New York Islanders were no help to the Devils on Thursday. They were routed to a 6-3 defeat at the hands of Christian Fischer and the Detroit Red Wings. As a result, the Devils remain six points back of Detroit in the Eastern Conference wildcard race and seven back of the Philadelphia Flyers.

However, the Predators are in the midst of an incredible 14-0-2 run, having collected at least a point in their last 16 games and winning their last four tilts potting 19 goals in the process. They face the Red Wings on home ice this Saturday and are 4-1-0 in their last five games at Bridgestone Arena.

A Devils and Predators victory in regulation on Saturday certainly helps the Devils inch closer as the situation would pull New Jersey within four points of Detroit in the Eastern Conference wildcard.

Of course, the odds will shift depending on the outcome of the Washinton Capitals’ tilt with the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. The same can be said of the Isles’ matinee with the Jets on Saturday. However, if the Caps happen to drop two points to the Canes on Friday, the Isles continue to spiral, and the Devils & Predators are both victorious on Saturday, New Jersey’s odds to reach the playoffs can reach as high as roughly 23% to make the playoffs, nearly a 10 percent increase from their current projection. Again, not the most optimistic number, but certainly significantly more optimistic than today’s.

A lot of stars need to align, and perhaps the tougher test is on Sunday in the second half of a back-to-back on the road, but that’s why they call it a pipe dream, right?

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