NY Rangers at New Jersey 3:00 pm EDT
Eastern Conference quarterfinals Game One
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Devils
have been dubbed as one of the favorites to advance deep into
the Eastern Conference playoffs. But first, they will have to
get past an old nemesis.
The Devils begin their quest for a fourth Stanley Cup when they
host the rival New York Rangers on Saturday in Game One of the
Despite trailing the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia
Flyers by 19 points in early January, third-seeded New Jersey
capped a remarkable comeback season by winning its last 11 games
en route to the division title.
Star goaltender Martin Brodeur was phenomenal down the stretch
for the Devils, posting a .938 save percentage during the
season-ending surge. The two-time defending Vezina Trophy
winner, Brodeur matched his career high with a league-leading 43
wins this season.
But New Jersey has suffered crushing losses in each of its
three postseason series with New York. The last time the rivals
met was in 1997, when the fifth-seeded Rangers needed just five
games to upset the top-seeded Devils in the conference
The Rangers hope to exorcise some more recent demons.
After owning the division lead for much of the season, New York
dropped its last five games and fell to the sixth seed after
being passed by New Jersey and Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The Rangers will need a strong performance from rookie goalie
Henrik Lundqvist, who missed seven games down the stretch with a
hip injury. The 24-year-old Lundqvist, who set a franchise
rookie record with 30 wins, returned to the lineup Tuesday only
to allow five goals in a loss to the Ottawa Senators.
New York's offense revolves around right wing Jaromir Jagr, who
led the Eastern Conference with 54 goals and 123 points.