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Blackhawks' Sharp, Kane too much for New Jersey Devils to handle

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The Chicago Blackhawks rolled over the visiting New Jersey Devils on Monday night at United Center, serving Pete DeBoer's team their first loss in their last five games and one serious reality check.

After matching up against the top-team in the West on Friday night, losing in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks, the explosive offense on Chicago proved to be too much for the Devils, who left the Windy City with a 5-2 loss.

The Devils are now 3-7-4 against Western Conference teams this season and head into the three-day Holiday break sitting in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division with 37 points.

Cory Schneider made 32 saves, surrendering five goals to the Blackhawks while the Devils generated an abysmal 12 shots on goal.

"You play good teams they're going to get chances. You might not play a perfect game against them. That's why I'm there, to try and keep us in the game," Schneider said.

It was more of the same for the Devils goalie, who was left out to dry by his teammates as they under performed in front of him, as usual. Despite Schneider shouldering the blame for the team's latest loss, his head coach didn't see it that way.

" We didn't give him any help. We can't hang that one on him," DeBoer said.

Stephen Gionta potted his second goal since being activated from Injured Reserve while Michael Ryder added his 11th of the season, now two tally's away from the team-leading Jaromir Jagr (13g).

Jacob Josefson earned his first point of the season with an assists on Gionta's equalizer that got the Devils into the game in the second period. But in the end it didn't matter.

Chicago's Patrick Kane broke the tie with his 22nd goal of the season and Bryan Bickell piled it on New Jersey, notching his sixth to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead before the second period expired.

Patrick Sharp would have two tally's before the night was over for his 17th and 18th of the season. It was Sharp's second two-goal game and his fourth multi-point game this month.

"It was just a messy, ugly game," DeBoer said of his team's effort. " That's a great team. They can make you look bad if you're not on your game and we weren't on our game. I don't have a reason. No excuse."

It would be difficult to argue with the coach's assessment of the Devils debacle against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and Travis Zajac wasn't going to try.

"That wasn't our game. We turned the puck over so much. It was pretty gross. Then they made us look stupid once we did," Zajac said. "Hopefully we got that one out of our system. Now we know what works and how we'll have to play if we want to compete in these games."

The Devils will have a few days to completely work that loss out of their system before heading back to work Friday night at The Rock to host their Metropolitan neighbor, Columbus Blue Jackets.It will be the third meeting between the clubs, with the Blue Jackets taking the wins in each of the first two.

While the loss will sting until they lace up again after Christmas, the Devils head coach knows dwelling on what they did,or didn't do, won't help matters going forward. The crushing loss might even serve as a wake up call to the players and front office, knowing how they compare to the best in the league heading into the second half of the season.

Simply put, they don't.

"Where we go from here is the key," said DeBoer.


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