SAINT PAUL, Minn. — New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider has played in plenty of road games against the Minnesota Wild, though very rarely under ideal conditions.
Early in his career, when Schneider was backing up Roberto Luongo in Vancouver, and Luongo seemingly would always struggle in Minnesota, Schneider would usually come into the game sometime in the second period in relief, when the Wild had already built a big lead.
The Devils will play in Minnesota on Monday night after having a rough go of things Saturday at Winnipeg, where the Jets used a second-period outburst to send New Jersey to a second consecutive loss. New Jersey knows the road may get tougher soon.
“We have to learn from it quickly and address any issues we have, from me to the defensemen to the forwards, and sort it out,” Schneider said after the 5-2 loss in Winnipeg dropped him to 7-4-2 this season. “It doesn’t get any easier in (Minnesota). They’re playing well, especially at home, they’re a tough team to play against there. We don’t have any time to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves because no one else does.”
If there is a goalie to feel sorry for, it may be Minnesota backup Alex Stalock, who turned in his highest save total of the season against one of the NHL’s best offenses on Saturday and had nothing but frustration to show for it. Stalock made 40 saves against the Capitals in Washington but got only a 3-1 loss for his troubles, falling to 1-2-1 this season.
“He’s played good every time he’s gotten in a game. He’s given us a chance to win,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Minnesota native in his first full season as the Wild’s backup netminder. “It’s just unfortunate we haven’t played up to the level he’s played when he’s played.”
The bigger concern for the Wild is a power play that keeps experiencing power outages. Minnesota scored once with the man advantage versus the Capitals but failed on three other chances.
“Their power play was better than our power play. That’s pretty well the difference. They score two, we score one,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes we stop doing what gets us the right thing. It’s sort of bothersome, but sometimes guys see openings and get a little excited about it instead of just doing what we’re supposed to be doing and getting back to the basics that work for us.”
Devils coach John Hynes is sticking with the basics as well, not juggling his lines just yet even though the club has lost two in a row.
“I think you switch the lines around if you’re not getting any offense, not getting any production, you’re getting blown out,” Hynes said. “I don’t think you switch things around when you’re right in the game.”
The Wild will look to continue their mastery of foes from the east when the Devils visit on Monday. Minnesota is 4-0-1 versus Eastern Conference teams at Xcel Energy Center this season.