It’s All About Team Depth For Devils

In the latest Dano on the Devils, Ken Daneyko recaps a fruitful weekend for the Devils, including a wild tilt in Chicago. To quote your partner Steve Cangialosi, [Monday’s] 7-5 win in Chicago was a confidence-building win for the Devils. Was this a statement of intent from them, considering the situation: the second half of back-to-back games, down three goals against a strong team like the Blackhawks?

Ken Daneyko: It’s certainly an improvement and step in the right direction from what we’ve seen in the past. The Devils might not have had the capability to come back from three goals down in recent years. This team has the confidence and belief that it can.

You don’t always want to fall behind like that, but during a long year, it’s going to happen. The Devils have been able to come from behind on a few occasions already this season. This comeback against the Blackhawks was probably the most impressive this season – on the road, coming back from three down in a place like Chicago. I know the Blackhawks have had their ups and downs this season, but they always have that presence and that winning DNA. When you head into a place like Chicago, you know it’s not easy to pick up a win.

It’s all a part of a process of believing in your team and yourself. The Devils had to put some wins together to avoid going into a prolonged swoon – they were 0-2-2 before this weekend. Like I’ve said many times, this is a different team, a different group and they have a different mindset. This is definitely a more skilled team and what’s most impressive to me is that it’s not just the big guys like Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri coming up with the points, it’s all over the lineup.

They’re getting scoring from all four lines, which is key and it makes them that more dangerous. In the past, if it wasn’t coming from Hall, Palmieri or Adam Henrique, it’d be pretty tough to come back. It’s because of that balance that’s allowing them to have more confidence and it’s good to see everybody contributing. The balanced attack includes a guy like Miles Wood, who recorded his first career hat trick Sunday night. After being a healthy scratch in the season-opener, he’s really come into his own late. What type of progression have you seen from him this season?

Ken Daneyko: Miles being a healthy scratch early on this season just shows the depth of the hockey team. Jimmy Hayes, who had a huge assist on Saturday, was a healthy scratch against the Blackhawks. It doesn’t mean Hayes didn’t play well — he did — it’s just that the Devils have a lot more options. You need everyone on your roster, not just the guys that play on any given night. You have different elements and different factors on this roster and when the time is right, coach John Hynes is going to use those different options.

As for Miles, what I see from him is a lot of improvement. He continues to work on his game and we know he has blazing speed. He brings passion and energy, and that’s an element you need. You can’t have the same type of players on your team. He continues to work on his hands, and having his mind and the feet working together at the same time. He’s thinking the game a lot better and that’s what you like to see, a guy continually improve.

He’s come a long way in the last year in improving other areas of his game that he needed to work on, things like his finishing around the net. That’s exactly what we’ve seen from him.