New Jersey Devils: What do Devils need to do as series heads home?

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 12: Andy Greene (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 12: Andy Greene (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils find themselves in a hole after dropping their first two playoff games since 2012 in Tampa Bay. The Devils head home for Game 3 on Monday. Here are some things they can do to regain momentum.

The New Jersey Devils are in a situation no team wants to be in as they find themselves down 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. However, just because they are down, does not mean they are out. The Devs still have a chance to make use of the full seven games they get.

The Devils, although they haven’t gotten blown out, haven’t looked like themselves in this series so far. However, Tampa Bay is a tough place to play and they are a solid team. The biggest advantage for the Devils moving forward will be their home ice.

That is one of the things they must do; capitalize on the environment.

The Prudential crowd will be rowdy and wild as they cheer on the red and black in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Lightning has played in “The Rock” this year but no environment will be quite like the “first playoff game in six years” environment they are about to face.

Another thing the Devils should do is get their goaltending under control. I understand the pressure of the playoffs. There is no room for error and everything must be perfect. However, the Devils need to figure this out.

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The Devils rode the hot hand of Keith Kinkaid all the way to the playoffs. Then the first time he crumbled in the playoffs, he got pulled. I get that he gave up a whopping five goals in the Game 2 loss but the Devils offense answered.

Even though Cory Schneider is also capable of being the starter, the Devils need to get this situation down. They need to fully commit to their guy and let it ride. This is up to John Hynes but imperative against a team that gives every goalie in the league a hard time. He needs to allow a little more room for error so he does not keep killing the momentum, even if he is trying to change it.

The Devils also need to continue what they have been doing on offense. They only have five goals this series thus far but the production is well spread out. Taylor Hall is the guy who gets this team going, Nico Hischier is the guy who often keeps them going, and Sami Vatanen is the guy who is out there always getting minutes. So far this series, they all have goals.

The production is not nearly enough to keep up with Tampa’s firepower but it is enough to be able to squeak out at least one game. Tampa is bound to be nervous on the road and the Devils are bound to get a few more bounces and luck in their favor.

If they stick to their formula and keep the game close then what they produce will eventually work on their home ice. They need to make adjustments but not go too far and overcompensate.

The key for the New Jersey Devils is too not overwork themselves. Don’t try too hard to shut down the Lightning, but just keep up with them. 10 goals in two game are not ideal. However, if the Lightning score only three or four in Newark, the Devils’ game plan should net them a win or two.

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Home-ice advantage is only useful if the team is good enough to take advantage of it. The Devils might be in too deep to be able to come back and win this series. However, they should be able to win at least one game at home and give the Devil faithful even more reason to cheer for their team.

Game 3 is in Newark at 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday night. For the New Jersey Devils, a different atmosphere is going to help.