Devils coach Pete DeBoer has been around hockey all his adult life. He has been a witness to hot streaks and demoralizing slumps. He knows the puck can be your best friend or your worst enemy. He accepts that.

But he says the current run of misfortune that has threatened to unhinge the Devils’ once-promising season is one for the ages.

During the Devils’ nine-game losing streak — one short of the club record — they’ve lost three times in shootouts and once in overtime. Three defeats have come by one goal in regulation.

The Devils’ worst defeat in the span? Twice they’ve been beaten by two goals in hard-fought games.

It all adds up to a 0-5-4 stretch that has the Devils on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons. From 1997 through 2010, the Devils made the playoffs for 13 straight seasons.

With 40 points, they trail the rival Rangers, who beat the Islanders 1-0 in overtime Saturday night, by six points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils (15-16-10) play at Toronto Monday night and have seven total games remaining.

"It feels like longer than that," DeBoer said Saturday when reminded that the Devils haven’t won a game in three weeks — a 2-1 victory over Florida on March 23.

"I can’t remember a run like this. It’s a little more draining because I think so many games there you feel you deserve points or you deserve to win. That’s the draining part of a run like this, and you have to get past that."