By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils’ playoff hopes have dwindled as a result of a tailspin that has now matched the fourth-longest winless streak in club history.

Here are the team’s longest winless streaks since moving to New Jersey:

•18: 0-14-4 — 10/20/82 – 11/26/82

•11 0-10-1 — 1/17/86 – 2/8/86

•11: 0-7-4 — 12/27/90 – 1/22/91

•10: 0-6-4 — 3/25/13 – present

•10: 0-7-3 — 12/20/86 – 1/10/87

•10: 0-10-0 — 10/14/83 – 11/4/83

•9: 0-7-2 — 10/25/84 – 11/17/84

The longest losing streak (no ties or overtime/shootout losses) in Devils history is 10 games, which occurred between October 14-November 4 in 1983. The losing stretch came to an end on November 6 with a 6-3 victory over the Blackhawks in New Jersey.

The Devils led that game, 4-0, on goals from Dave Lewis, Mel Bridgman Paul Gagne and Aaron Broten. But three straight Chicago goals cut the lead to one at the end of two periods. Joe Cirella got the lead back to two with a third-period goal and Don Lever added an empty-netter to seal the win. Chico Resch got the victory in goal, defeating Tony Esposito.

The franchise’s longest winless streak came as the Kansas City Scouts, a 27-game drought (0-21-6) from February 12-April 4 in 1976.

After defeating the Washington Capitals, 5-1, on February 7, the Scouts proceeded to go winless the rest of the way. The franchise relocated to Denver the following season.

New Jersey’s consecutive shutout losses to Ottawa and Toronto were the club’s first since late in the 2011 season, and for just the fifth time overall in Devils’ history, they have been shut out in consecutive games.

•12/20/83: Mon 6, NJD 0

12/22/83: NJD 0, Phi 5

•1/26/06:  NJD 0, TB  1

•1/27/06:  NJD 0, Fla 4

•12/23/08: Bos 2, NJD 0

•12/26/08: Pit 1, NJD 0

•3/25/11:  NJD 0, Pit 1 (SO)

•3/26/11:  NJD 0, Buf 2

•4/12/13:  Ott 2, NJD 0

•4/15/13:  NJD 0, Tor 2

The Devils allowed two shorthanded goals in the first period in their 5-4 loss to the Bruins last Wednesday night. Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell each scored for Boston with the Devils on two separate power plays.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Devils last allowed two shorthanded goals in a game on December 19, 2006, against the Atlanta Thrashers. Marian Hossa scored both of the shorthanded goals (one in the first period and one in the third) against Martin Brodeur in an eventual 4-3 shootout victory for the Thrashers at the Meadowlands.

The last time that New Jersey gave up two shorthanded goals in one period was on January 15, 1994, against the Los Angeles Kings. Ex-Devil Pat Conacher and Wayne Gretzky each scored first-period shorthanded goals for the Kings against Chris Terreri in a 5-3 Devils loss in New Jersey.

The last time that New Jersey allowed three shorthanded goals in one game was back on January 17, 1989, in a 7-4 loss to the Quebec Nordiques. Marc Fortier, Gaetan Duchesne and Jeff Jackson scored the shorthanded goals for the Nordiques against Sean Burke at Le Colisée.

The Devils’ 10-game slide coincides with the shoulder injury suffered by Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk went down in what was Brodeur’s second start in goal after missing 10 games with a pinched nerve in his back.

Here is how New Jersey has fared with and without them in the lineup:

•Record with both Brodeur and Kovalchuk: 10-2-3

•Record with only Brodeur or Kovalchuk:  5-15-7

While the Devils are in danger of missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, so are the Detroit Red Wings, who have reached the NHL’s postseason 21 straight times.

Either the Devils or the Red Wings have appeared in the playoffs every season since 1986-87, and at least one of the two clubs has reached 10 of the 17 Stanley Cup Finals since 1995, when both played against each other.

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Keep Shooting — The Devils outshot Ottawa, 33-11, in their 2-0 loss last Friday. They also outshot Toronto, 32-13, in their 2-0 loss on Monday night. New Jersey has now outshot its opponents 21 times in its last 23 games.

Minus: Shooting Blanks — New Jersey held both Ottawa and Toronto to a season-low two shots apiece in the third periods of their last two games, only to come away with a pair of 2-0 shutout losses.

A streak — and a season — to forget for Devils fans. Sound off with your thoughts and comments in the section below…

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