Devils Advance To Cup Final With Win Over Rangers [VIDEO]
Adam Henrique scored off a wild scramble in front at 1:03 into overtime and the New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 to advance to their first Stanley Cup finals since 2003.
The Devils will face the Los Angeles Kings for the Cup in a series that will start on Wednesday.
PREVIOUS: Devils/Rangers Playoff Series
It’s a remarkable comeback for a team that missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1996.
Henrique’s series winner came after Henrik Lundqvist stopped Ilya Kovalchuk twice and Alexei Ponikarovsky. The last shot lay in the crease and Henrique tapped it home.
The ageless Martin Brodeur, 40, kept the Devils alive in the third. He stopped a power-play shot by Brad Richards, made a save on Artem Anisimov between the circles and used his stick to deflect a pass from the boards by Carl Hagelin in the final minute just before it got to Marian Gaborik on the edge of the crease.
HEALING AN OLD WOUND
The memory of missing the playoffs last season and the ghost of an 18-year-old wound were wiped out with a sweep of this rolling rookie’s stick.
“I mean, this kid’s just at the right place, right time, all the time,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “The two biggest goals of the playoffs come off his stick. “And that’s not accidental.”
“There’s still more things to accomplish,” said Henrique, who is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL’s top rookie. “Try to take in as much as I can this whole year. And obviously those are two huge goals, and then probably two of the biggest goals I ever scored. There’s still more ahead. We’re not done yet. We haven’t really won anything. It’s a long ride.
“Every kid dreams of playing in the Stanley Cup final. And we have a chance to win. I’m excited, and ready to get started.”
“It feels great to get to where we are,” Devils captain Zach Parise said. “As Adam said, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. But we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good position right now, and we’ve got a chance. “We’ll see what we can do.”
BEATING THE RANGERS IS “LIKE CHRISTMAS”
This series win came against the Devils’ most intense rival, and it was that much more enjoyable — even to those who haven’t been around the feud all that long.
“That one was like Christmas,” Henrique said.
Ryan Carter and Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils, who blew a 2-0 first period lead.
Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan tallied for top-seeded New York, which had a good flurry just before New Jersey scored.
All the Rangers could do was bow their heads and then line up for the traditional handshake after losing to their cross-rival rivals in a series that was close. “That’s playoff hockey, and that’s usually where you get an
overtime goal,” New York’s Brandon Prust said. “Just whacking away in front of the net, getting rebounds.”