Devils make a radical goaltending change, down 2-0 in the series.
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Devils make a radical goaltending change, down 2-0 in the series.

The New Jersey Devils have their backs up against the wall and head coach Lindy Ruff is taking a big risk.

Jonathan Larivee

The New Jersey Devils aren't out of the Stanley Cup playoffs just yet, but they have dug themselves into a major hole by allowing the New York Rangers to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series.

It isn't just that the Rangers took the first two games of the series though, it's also the manner in which they claimed those victories that have the Devils reeling and on the ropes. The Rangers won both Game 1 and Game 2 by a score of 5-1, prompting what appears to be a desperation move from Devils head coach Lindy Ruff.

Although it has not as of yet officially been confirmed, it appears as though Ruff will be injecting rookie goaltender Akira Schmid in the hopes that Schmid can be the difference maker and claw his team back into this series. Our first sign that Schmid would be getting the start came this morning when Schmid was in his own net during the Devils' morning skate, while both Mackenzie Blackwood and Game 1 and Game 2 starter Vitek Vanacek shared a net.

Schmid would also be the last goaltender to leave the ice on Saturday which further led many to believe that he would be getting the start tonight, and National Hockey League insider Frank Seravalli has now confirmed his belief that Schmid will start while Vanecek will play the backup role.

You can hardly blame Ruff for trying to find an answer here, and given the lackluster performances the Devils received from Blackwood during the regular season he likely isn't a realistic option here. Furthermore Vanecek has struggled in this series allowing 4 goals on just 22 shots in Game 1 for an .818 save percentage and 5 goals on just 30 shots in Game 2 for an .833 save percentage.

Schmid is a rookie and one with only 24 games of NHL experience under his belt, but to his credit he did have a solid showing in the regular season for the Devils. In his 18 appearances during the 2022-23 season. Schmid would record a 2.13 goals against average and a .922 save percentage, so you can start to see why Ruff is turning to him at such a pivotal moment in the series.