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Lightning Round: Learning how to not give up five goals like the New Jersey Devils did in front of Louis Domingue

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Don’t throw away the tape.

New Jersey Devils v Buffalo Sabres
BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 2: Louis Domingue #70 of the New Jersey Devils tends goal during an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 2, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

I feel bad. No one wants to see a goalie get shelled, especially when the team in front of them is heading downhill as fast as a roller coaster. Things are bad with the New Jersey Devils and Louis Domingue is one of the two goalies who has to sit in the net and take all the punishment night in and night out.

This was one of those nights for our former backup goalie, a person I think a lot of the fanbase likes and wished well after we had signed Curtis McElhinney to take his job. Domingue is on the higher end of backups in the league and deserves to play for a winning team. That is not what the Devils are and it’s awful that they have to play games in this state.

I wanted to go through the goals because, one, I hate myself, and two, a period like this is potentially season-changing and it’s important to know how and why such a level of give-up happens. How does a team fall apart so quickly and how does one avoid that?

The first goal of the game is important because it sets the tone for the entire game. It’s one awful mistake that opened the door for every one after to follow. You may think this was Sami Vatanen’s man (Jack Eichel) that was left all alone in front of the net, but it was actually 34-year-old Travis Zajac.

The NHL veteran of 14 seasons thought he could get away with sneaking up to the top of the zone and looking for an outlet pass from a 2-on-2 battle along the boards. He left his man in front of the net in order to go have fun in the offensive zone. Even when he saw that Eichel was right there, he dragged his feet and made the motions players make when they want to look like they’re giving effort. Even when Eichel bobbled the puck, Zajac wasn’t there to save his mistake. When a vet does that, you have a problem.

Second goal, Andy Greene got double-teamed while his teammates left him to make a change. The puck never got deep, barely past the blueline, and Jeff Skinner was able to jump on the puck like he just stole candy from a baby and snipe on Domingue like the elite shooter he is.

Third goal, Damon Severson drifted too far to the outside and got made to look like a dummy as Skinner cut to the middle of the ice for an undeniable Grade-A scoring chance. My issue with Severson here is that he wasn’t skating to keep up with Skinner’s pace of movement, and he tried to guess where Skinner was going instead of thinking and reacting. It’s lazy and easy to catch if you do it too often.

Fourth goal. Nearly done. This goal sucked, it was unlucky and salt in an already gaping wound. Ugh.

Fifth goal, an incomplete pass leads to a turnover in the defensive zone by Jesper Bratt, who was more worried about getting hit than making an accurate pass. The Sabres come in at speed against a stationary Devils group and it’s almost no contest. Casey Mittelstadt is able to walk into the corner with his head up, and once again, Bratt doesn’t come up high to cover the pass to his man (the goal-scorer Rasmus Asplund), giving him an unguarded shot at the net.

This is what it looks like when a team gives up and I hope I never see the Tampa Bay Lightning put up an effort like this. For a player, it’s not helpful to throw away the tape from this game. It’s important to watch, notice the flaws, and internalize it so that the next time you feel yourself or a teammate doing the same thing, you can make it stop so the team around you doesn’t spiral into what the Devils are now.

Here are the recaps from the game, in order to gauge where the fandom is at in both teams. and the boxscore.

Lightning Links

Nolan Foote is heading to the World Juniors. Lauren is going to have an absolute field day at this website for the next month and a bit. [Raw Charge]

Here are the quotes from practice yesterday morning. [NHL dot com]

Braydon Coburn did not practice, while Alex Killorn did, but neither are likely to play tonight.

Alex Killorn is doing a fundraiser with Ryan McDonagh. Go check them out on Instagram!

Hockey Links

The Hershey Bears are notorious for their Teddy Bear Tosses. Check out yet another elite haul.

Injured Hockey Tyler Ennis was mixed up with injured Basketball Tyler Ennis when he was getting evaluated for his broken leg. The story is wild.

More dirt on Mike Babcock came out as former players spoke up against the now-fired head coach. [Pension Plan Puppets]

Continuing in that vein, the Chicago Blackhawks have started a review of assistant coach Marc Crawford, who was a long-time NHL head coach.

In the WHL, the Swift Current Broncos have fired their equipment manager for his conduct.

Hockey Canada addressed the current coaching issues, stating the organization needs to be better.