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It is just two – count them, two – games into the NHL season the ‘Fire Lindy’ chants have started for the New Jersey Devils. The Devils opened with a disappointing loss on the road and then came home and disappointed again. The blame is falling on head coach Lindy Ruff.
An 0-2 start is not a disaster. The sellout crowd getting the chant going in the second period is close to it. That sellout crowd becoming a near empty arena by the middle of the third period… well, that is a disaster.
The good news is that the Anaheim Ducks present the perfect opportunity to get right. The Ducks had a lot of the same season-entering questions as the Devils. And though the Ducks have tallied a win so far it also has a blowout loss on the docket – to the tune of a 7-1 setback.
Ultimately this game comes down to how New Jersey responds with a couple days of rest.
Before the loss to Detroit, Mike Wood called the contest a “must win.” If that wasn’t the case, then this contest with Anaheim certainly is. If for no other reason than he said it…
There are other reasons it matters.
First and foremost, the fans believe it. The coach and GM are squarely on the hotseat and the results have not looked good. Wood is obviously frustrated. And if he was comfortable in saying it, plenty of others are thinking it.
Changes on the ice need to happen. Jack Hughes needs to finish one of his countless chances. Ruff needs to re-use the Holtz-Palat-Hughes combination that he did most of the preseason. It has been seen enough all through last year that Holtz-McLeod-Sharangovich doesn’t work. Ryan Graves with Damon Severson together on defense isn’t a fit either.
With an overwhelming “must win” vibe now firmly in the air the pressure has been turned up. The Ducks present the best chance to get in the win column before games against the Islanders and Sharks. The Capitals might be the next winnable game and if the team doesn’t get those two, Ruff may not be around the next time the team plays Detroit on Oct. 25.
Betting on the emotional state of a team is tough but the Devils are firmly in a corner. Anaheim is also the perfect team to take it out on. The Ducks will have just played the Isles and Rangers, and have this as a sandwich game before the Bruins and Red Wings. The time for the Devils to strike is now.
Take New Jersey to bounce back to win to and get your free $200 from BetMGM when a goal is scored!