by David Pavlak on 04/01/12 at 01:07 AM ET
With a 5-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, the New Jersey Devils have officially clinched a berth in the postseason this year. The Devils failed to make the playoffs last season. In the past 22 seasons, the Devils have been in the playoffs 21 times.
Martin Brodeur, who pitched a shutout to solidify a Devils playoff birth, is happy to be back in the playoffs after last years mess.
“It was tough,” Brodeur said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Recod, “I didn’t think it was going to bother me that much because we were out for so long, early in the season. It was a tough start we had. But when I started to watch a little bit of hockey maybe in the second and third round, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really missing this atmosphere.’ This is why was an important thing for me to go out and try to get in the playoffs, get back at it.”
Head Coach Pete DeBoer was also happy to make it to the playoffs.
“It feels good,” he said. “We talked to the team after. It’s been a long road. A lot of different people didn’t pick us to have a playoff spot this year and we had some adversity and got a lot of different contributions from different people and it’s Step 1. Now that we’re in, you obviously want to make some noise. So, that’s where we go from here.”
The seeding for the Devils is still up in the air. The Devils sit in sixth place, but are in reach of the fifth place Philadelphia Flyers. The Ottawa Senators, who sit in seventh, are only six points back of the Devils.
Six Reasons Why The Devils Made The Playoffs:
1. Clarkson’s breakout season: We always knew David Clarkson was a rugged forward who was capable of scoring 15-to-20 goals. But 30? After scoring 12 times in 82 games in 2010-11, Clarkson reached the 30-goal plateau in the opening period of Saturday’s victory. He has played a huge role in New Jersey’s success, with 23 of his tallies coming at even strength.
2. Henrique’s a top rookie: Nobody could have expected what Adam Henrique has been able to accomplish as a 22-year-old rookie. Henrique certainly helped fill the void left by Travis Zajac’s injury, as he has 16 goals (four shorthanded) and 34 assists in 71 games. Used in all situations, Henrique is primed to be a very good player in the Garden State for a long time.
3. Kovalchuk is “Mr. Consistency”: You always expect production from Ilya Kovalchuk, and this season hasn’t been any different. The superstar forward reached the 30-goal plateau for the ninth consecutive season and has been a leader for the Devils on and off the ice. Fans don’t have to worry about Kovalchuk playing for another team anytime soon—he’s signed in New Jersey through the 2024-25 season.
4. Marty’s Marty: Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t the one who brings consistency to the Devils’ lineup. Martin Brodeur is in the midst of yet another tremendous season, as he earned his 29th victory of the season Saturday night. The 39-year-old entered the game with a 2.48 goals-against average and .905 save percentage and is now one win shy of reaching the 30-win plateau for the 14th time.
5. Balanced attack: When Petr Sykora assisted on Kovalchuk’s second-period goal Saturday night, he became the seventh player on the roster to reach 40 points. It’s the balanced attack that Peter DeBoer has established that has allowed New Jersey to get back into the postseason.
6. Leadership: The Devils’ core is comprised of some of the best people in the sport. Zach Parise, the team’s captain, is as good as they come. Both alternate captains—Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias—are widely respected throughout the League. Add in the likes of Brodeur and Clarkson, the Devils have one of the stronger dressing rooms in the League.
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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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