This 16-1-2 stretch the Devils are on has spurred debate about whether they can reach the playoffs.
I'm going to take a very quick look at how lucky the Devils have been during that stretch.
Devils Goaltending: Over those 19 games, their combination of Brodeur (.922 career even strength save percentage) and Hedberg (.910 ESS%) would have been expected to generate a .916 ESS%. Instead, their goalies have saved over 95% of shots they've faced at even strength in this stretch. Those extra saves gave them 15 fewer goals against than what you would expect based on their talent.
Opposing Goaltending: Over those 19 games, the combination of goalies they faced would have been expected to generate a .921 ESS%. Instead, they saved 89.4% of the Devils' even strength shots. The difference corresponds to 11 more Devils goals than what you would expect based on the opposing goaltender talent.
One-goal games: One-goal games are the most prone to luck. The Devils have played ten one-goal games in this stretch and took 18 points away from those ten games. Even if the goals for and against were at their true talent levels, this isn't a sustainable performance.
The Devils are definitely better than their record, as indicated by their very good Corsi score at even strength -- they're controlling the play and winning the shot battle. But their recent run is way above their talent; compared to what you'd expect they have an extra 26 goal differential in those 19 games and got lucky in 1-goal games. Their true talent level should have you expecting a stretch run of somewhere in the vicinity of 13-9 -- they're as likely to go 10-12 as they are 16-6, so it'll take a lot more luck for them to get to the playoffs.
This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by Broad Street Hockey.