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Ruff blames media for Devils' dormant power play

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New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff took aim at an unexpected target when asked about the team's recent woes on the man advantage.

"When you're struggling, and I imagine you've asked every player, now they're feeling it," Ruff told reporters following a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

"You guys are creating excess pressure," the bench boss continued. "Us, as a staff, we'll go through that power play. We changed things up. We met with individual groups tonight versus, usually, you meet with all 10 or 11 of your power-play guys. We'll go through the whole thing again and just try to keep getting better."

The Devils enter Friday's action with the 15th-ranked power play in the NHL this season, converting 22% of the time. But it's been much worse lately, as they've scored in only two of 46 opportunities in the last 14 games. That's by far the worst rate in the league in that span.

New Jersey has had to rely on two rookies, Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec, as power-play quarterbacks with Dougie Hamilton out long term due to injury.

"When we have two young defensemen that are anchoring, there's really not a replacement up top for us," Ruff said.

"They've probably done a better than expected job for me - both those kids - and they're going to continue to grow. There's a lot of stuff you like about their game. But ... with young defensemen, there are going to be mistakes and poor decisions at times. But you have to just live with that and grow through it."

The Devils fell to 28-24-4 with the loss and now sit sixth in the Metropolitan Division by points percentage.

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