Only two weeks ago, many were calling the Devils the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Now, they've lost five consecutive games and just as many are wondering whether they are headed for another first-round playoff exit.
Could it be that the Devils' players were caught up in the talk of a Stanley Cup?
"When things start to come too easy, we start to get little bit distracted and maybe we did that a little bit," Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner admitted. "We were winning a lot of games and feeling pretty good about ourselves and started patting ourselves on the back a little too much and thinking about May and June instead of playing in March and April. It hasn't been a lack of effort. The effort's there. It's just the mind has been a little bit off."
What was an 11-point Atlantic Division lead over Philadelphia is down to six points and the Devils have only six regular season games to straighten themselves out.
They believe such adversity brings out the best in them.
"What this team has shown is when the adversity is at the most, we seem to rise to the occasion," Langenbrunner said. "It seems like we almost have to have our backs against the wall. It's disappointing because you want to play well all the time, but we put ourselves back in a situation where our backs are against the wall and we have to start fighting our way back out of it and maybe this can be one of those things that, like Marty's injury, will be a blessing in disguise a month from now."