The most famous playoff meeting between these two rivals occurred in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals when the Rangers went on to win in overtime of game 7 thanks to Stephane Matteau. This will be the first time these two teams have met in the Eastern Conference Finals since then. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is the only player remaining from that series.
The New Jersey Devils will obviously look for a different end result in this year's Eastern Conference Finals. Here are three reasons why this series will go the other way.
1. The Devils are well rested.
New Jersey will have had nearly a week off since they ended their series with the Philadelphia Flyers last Tuesday. In the playoffs, teams need to have a short series here and there in order to take care of some bumps and bruises. The rest will be especially good for goalie Martin Brodeur considering he is now 40 years old. On the other hand, the Rangers have now been in two game 7s in a row and will have to go right back at it after winning on Saturday night. This could be a huge bonus for the Devils. They gave Philadelphia's defense fits with their forecheck and could do the same to a Rangers team that has to be tired.
2. The Devils have better depth.
The Rangers have better top-end talent on their blueline but the overall depth on defense is pretty even. The Devils have a clear advantage at forward with three scoring lines. Out of players who have played at least seven games in these playoffs, the Devils have had 15 different goal scorers whereas the Rangers have had 11. This leads into the last point.
3. The Devils have more of an offensive attack.
New York has really struggled to score goals this postseason. Sure, they have run into some hot goaltending but they are only scoring just over 2 goals per game. It goes without saying that at this point, Henrik Lundqvist has the edge over Martin Brodeur. Everyone knows about Lundqvist's prowess over the Devils (25-11-5, 1.79 GAA, .936 SV%, 6 shutouts in just the regular season alone). With that said, the Devils have a more balanced attack than in years past. It obviously remains to be seen if they possess enough to solve him but they are certainly better equipped now more than ever.
In the end, one thing everyone can all agree on is the fact that this series should be a dandy.
Michael Pellegrini has been a fan of the New Jersey Devils since the mid to late 1990s when they had players like Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk in the later stages of their career.