Are the Devils in trouble of completely losing the season?

How would the New Jersey Devils bounce back after what has to be one of the worst losses of the season? That's the question following an epic collapse of a four-goal lead in the third period against the Florida Panthers just a little over 24 hours before Sunday's puck drop.

Prudential Center played host to the Islanders this time as they drove in from Long Island to square off against their Metropolitan Division rivals. The game didn't have much on the line other than pride, as both teams were eliminated from playoff contention.

As the first ten minutes of the first period unfolded, the Islanders controlled the pace of play early, holding a 10-5 shots on goal advantage over the Devils. It turns out that the next shot on goal would prove to be a big one as New York struck first with a goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau for his 11th this year. Pageau benefited from a two-on-one opportunity that saw former Devil Kyle Palmieri feed Jean-Gabriel in the high slot for a one-on-one chance with Nico Daws he would not miss on.

Things started to worsen for the home team as Jesper Boqvist took a tripping penalty shortly after that proved to be costly. Once again, Pageau's stick delivered for the Islanders with his second goal in the first fourteen minutes of the contest. Anders Lee was the one who started the play as he created a turnover with his pressure in the offensive zone, driving to the net after getting the puck. Lee then attempted a shot blocked by Damon Severson's stick; however, it ended up on Pageau's to bury it and double his team's lead.

In the first five minutes, a bizarre moment to open up the second as Oliver Wahlstrom would hit Jack Hughes. Now it isn't crazy for these two teams to get into it as they do not like each other, but when P.K. Subban took exception and went after Wahlstrom, he got thrown out of the game. He got an instigating penalty that ultimately ended with Subban receiving a game misconduct for his actions.

Another penalty would put New Jersey behind the eight ball when Jonas Siegenthaler took a tripping penalty defending against an odd-man rush. Unlike the night's first power play, the Devils managed to kill off the man advantage and avoid giving up another tally. While the penalty kill was effective, New York seemed it would be inevitable for them to get another goal and proved that theory right. The game would be memorable for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, earning his third of the night for a hat trick on the road and a 3-0 lead.

I don't know if the embarrassment of giving up a hat trick at home created a spark on the Devils' bench or not, but they would finally answer with a goal of their own. After getting to the corner, Janne Kuokkanen carried the puck in along the right boards, sending it back to Severson. Damon took a slap shot from the blue line, hoping to get a good bounce, which Jesper Boqvist provided as he got his team on the board with his sixth goal of the season to try getting them back into it.

During the intermission, Lindy Ruff must have given a great pep talk as it helped the Devils cut the lead to just one with a little over fourteen minutes to play in the game. Tomas Tatar went top shelf off the rush on Corey Schneider after a great setup pass by Andreas Johnsson after Dawson Mercer carried into the offensive zone to cut the lead to just one. However, the New York Islanders wouldn't let New Jersey get the chance to tie the game.

Palmieri netted his 13th goal to put this game just about out of reach with five minutes remaining. New Jersey didn't go down without a fight as Nico Hischier picked up his 19th goal while the Devils pulled Nico Daws in a desperate attempt to get the game tied. Unfortunately, it was just too little too late as New Jersey's inconsistencies through the first two periods were too much to overcome as they fell to the Islanders at home, 4-3.

Overall the theme of the New Jersey Devils season has been one that has severely lacked consistency. They're going to need to address something to become a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference next season. Additionally, they need to address it before this becomes a trend for the remainder of the games this season. Though it's only thirteen games left, New Jersey needs to finish strong to set the foundation for their future next year.

For now, the Devils will look to focus their attention on their most hated rival on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the New York Rangers.

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