The New Jersey Devils' 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night marked their 13th straight win - tying a franchise record. Over that span, the Devils have outscored their opponents 57-32, and their underlying analytics are at the top of the league.
One critique of the Devils has been their strength of schedule; on their win streak, they've beaten a handful of bottom-feeders such as the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Ottawa Senators, and the Vancouver Canucks. On the flip side, however, they have also defeated the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames twice, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. So, it's not like they have defeated exclusively bad teams.
During last night's Sportsnet panel, retired NHL defenseman Keith Yandle had a spicy take on the Devils. Despite New Jersey's torrid start, Yandle believes the Devils will not only simmer down but miss the playoffs entirely.
Last season, the Nashville Predators held the lowest points total of all playoff teams with 97; in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals held that spot with 100 flat.
Using those totals as reference points, with 32 points, the New Jersey Devils are nearly one-third of the way there. With 63 games remaining, going .500 the rest of the way puts the Devils right around 95 points on the season.
To Yandle's point, the season is still in its adolescence, and there are no guarantees. New Jersey is still the third-youngest team in the NHL, and that inexperience could come back to haunt them.
Still, given their total dominance so far, it is supremely difficult to see this team taking such a giant step backwards. Is it possible? Sure. Will it happen? Doubtful, judging by the numbers.
When in doubt, trust the numbers.