Over the course of an 82-game season one six-game slump will not make or break a team. But if it comes at the start or at the very end of a season it tends to have a much greater impact.

The Devils have lost their first six games (0-3-3) for the first time in club history and they may already be at a critical juncture of this young campaign. They rank 29th in the NHL with only the 0-5-1 Buffalo Sabres behind them.

If there is one guarantee it is that general manager Lou Lamoriello will not sit by while his team lingers at the bottom of the standings. But what can the GM do?

"Right now we have to be very careful. There is such a fine line. I believe in these players and I believe in this coaching staff" Lamoriello told The Star-Ledger Monday. "Right now we just have to concentrate a little more. Our best players have to be our best players at the right time."

Some worrisome issues with this Devils team:

1) They’re too slow

Lamoriello made it a point to stress that he added size and strength in the offseason and that the Devils were built for the long grind. But so far they haven’t been able to keep up to several opponents. The Penguins troubled them Michael Grabner of the Islanders embarrassed them and Winnipeg’s Evander Kane gave them fits.

"When you see a Kane skate the way he did and Grabner they’re exceptional skaters and they can’t be allowed to use their assets" Lamoriello said. "Overall our people who can skate have to skate. It’s as simple as that. I do not feel we’re a slow team. We’re certainly not an overly fast team.

"In the Edmonton game that is not a game we should have allowed to slip away no matter what. To have success we have to dwell on our assets and expose the other team’s liabilities."

2) Shaky defensive corp

Veterans have made untimely mistakes while Adam Larsson is minus 4 and had a tough game in Winnipeg. Is Scott Stevens a Hall of Fame player not in that category as a coach? Or is he being asked to do too much with group of defensemen?

"There’s no question Adam has a very bright future" Lamoriello said of Larsson. "He cares so much sometimes it might get in the way. He’ll be fine. We have to have patience with the young players. I’m a believer in that. Over the big picture he’ll be where he should be.

"Whenever the defense has problems it’s a team game. There is no one to blame here. Yes there have been a couple mistakes that have been costly. That’s part of the game."

3) The Ilya Kovalchuk effect

He’s replaceable but opposing teams paid a lot of attention to him and don’t have to worry about the Russian winger anymore.