The regular season comes to an end this month and the New Jersey Devils will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. They were officially eliminated after their regulation loss against Carolina on March 25th but there is plenty to look forward to the next couple of weeks, as written about here: Approaching the End of the 2016-17 Regular Season: Expectations Galore
The Devils have just five games this month, three at home and two away. They will play all but one of these games against Metropolitan division opponents. They start the month with a home-and-home series against the Flyers, which should both be good games. The second game will commence the Devils’ Fan Appreciation Days, taking place on April 4th, 6th, and 8th. They will play the Penguins on the 6th and the Islanders on the 8th. Patrik Elias, who officially announced his retirement yesterday, will drop the puck on the 4th against the Flyers, and will warm-up for the final time with the team on the 8th against the Islanders. The Devils will hold an open morning skate on the 7th, one that Elias will also attend and participate in.
New Jersey will also play in the last ever game at the iconic Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, a game that fans will be paying attention to. This is one game I wouldn’t mind the Devils losing, just to give Red Wings fans something to cheer for, especially because Detroit won’t be in the playoffs for the first time in about 25 years.
And while this season has been disappointing and frustrating to say the least, there is a bigger picture that needs to be recognized. The team has good pieces, but it’s a matter of fitting them together and plugging in any holes. A new era is beginning in New Jersey.
4/1- @ Philadelphia
4/4 – vs Philadelphia
4/6 – vs Pittsburgh
4/8 – vs New York (Islanders)
4/9 – @ Detroit