Entering play on Saturday the New Jersey Devils were the only team in the NHL that had yet to win a game this season.
That changed in a big way when they blasted the New York Rangers, 4-0, on Saturday night to earn their first win of the season.
It was long overdue.
The combination of some dreadful goaltending from Martin Brodeur and a little bit of bad luck had been the Devils' downfall through the first seven games of the season, continuing a trend that started during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. As a team, New Jersey was not playing anywhere near as bad as their early season record indicated and entered play on Saturday as one of the best possession teams in the league. It was only a matter of time until the floodgates opened a little bit offensively and some of those shots started to find the back of the net.
Getting some better goaltending certainly helped as well. They received a strong performance from Cory Schneider as he turned aside all 22 shots he faced to record his first shutout with the Devils. That effort from Schneider should earn him more playing time going forward, and it's becoming pretty clear that it's time that the Devils simply turn the No. 1 job over to him.
New Jersey acquired him from the Vancouver Canucks on draft day for the No. 9 overall pick in the draft, solidifying the position for the future for when Brodeur is no longer in the picture. That time is starting to come. Brodeur is a Hall of Famer and one of the best players in franchise history (arguably the best), but it's clear that his time as a starting goaltender has come to an end as it's been a steady downward trend for him over the past few years. The Devils, as a team, probably played well enough to win at least one or two of their first games only to lose due to goaltending. The position was a huge drain on the '12-13 Devils season and provided they turn the No. 1 job over to Schneider and allow him to get the majority of the starts, it could make a big difference in 2013.