by David Pavlak on 05/14/12 at 05:06 PM ET
Beginning tonight the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers will begin a seven game series to determine who will be representing the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams have had to overcome a great deal of adversity to get to this point, and with the Stanley Cup being so close, it is nothing less then heartbreak to have to go home at the conclusion of the series.
This series has all the components to be a memorable one. On top of the already present rivalry, both teams are thirsting for their first taste of the Cup in some years. The Devils have most recently defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in five games to advance to the ECF while the Rangers just polished off the Washington Capitals in seven games. The Devils have had time to lick their wounds and prepare for the Rangers, while New York has to have a quick turnaround in order to prepare for New Jersey after just winning their series on Saturday.
“The emotions don’t get any higher other than a Stanley Cup Final than the Eastern Conference championship and playing your cross-river rival,” DeBoer said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “Emotions are something that we’re going to have to manage. You definitely want them. They’re a big part of hockey and a big part of hockey this time of year. You also have to make sure you challenge it the right way.”
The Rangers play has been spotty considering their number one seed. The Rangers had two close calls with the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals, and even though they were able to come out on the winning end of both bouts, the Blue Shirts look vulnerable. The Devils will continue to rely on their younger talent in order to help keep the pressure up on the Rangers.
“They’ve done a really good job just like the rest of the team, but they have gotten better as the playoffs have gone on too and played some huge parts, important parts, a lot of minutes and they’ve contributed,” Devils captain Zach Parise added. “Larsson had the big goal in Philadelphia and Henrique had a couple of assists in Game 5. They’ve been playing really well.”
Young guns like Adam Henrique is using this time to add to the experience to not only help him now, but also down the road.
“It’s another stage,” Henrique said. “It’s the NHL playoffs, Eastern Conference Finals. This is where everybody in the world wants to be. So, it’s a different level, but that’s the experience that I draw on. I think it does help any time you can get experience no matter where it is. Making a run in the playoffs, whoever you’re playing steps up their game to another level of play.”
The Devils executed a game plan against the Flyers which ended up crippling them in almost every game. The Flyers and their coaching staff had no answers to the Devils increased forecheck which caused many turnovers and open shot opportunities. With the Rangers coming off two tough series, the Devils forecheck may cause problems for the tired players on the ice.
Henrik Lundqvist has also looked subpar between the pipes too, with many shots seemingly sneaking between the pads or going off of his glove. If the Devils fire everything at Lundqvist, theres a good chance that he continues to let weak goals in.
Game 1 will take place tonight on NBCSN at 8 p.m.
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I am an all around NHL fan. I love to watch Atlantic Division, and root for the Philadelphia Flyers. Just because I cheer for the Flyers, doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with the other teams in the division, specifically the New Jersey Devils. Devils Advocate will provide you with the most important Devils news, filled with my opinion about the selected topic.
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