What can be said about a season that was unexpected? Back in October, nobody thought the New Jersey Devils would make the playoffs. In April, everyone watched the Devils struggle against the Florida Panthers in the first round and nobody expected them to make the Stanley Cup Finals. And three games ago, nobody expected the New Jersey Devils to force the series to a Game 6 after going down 3-0 against the LA Kings. But some how, some way, the New Jersey Devils pushed back against the dominant Kings and fought to the bitter end.
Devils fans, do not look at this as a failure, you may have been the higher ranked seed (6th in the Eastern) but do not forget the LA Kings were one goal shy of clinching their division to be the 3rd seed. While everyone focused on the “fairy tale” season the Kings have, celebrate what you’ve witnessed out on the ice tonight: coming back from the struggling series against the Panthers, crushing two Atlantic Division rivals, to take on the best of the West in the Finals.
Whether you blame tonight’s loss on Steve Bernier’s out of control hit, inconsistent officiating, the zebra screen, PJ Stock’s hockey gods, or something else, just know the Devils left it all out on the ice this series. Game 1 and 2 of this series went in to OT, the Kings did not win the first two with the greatest of ease. Game 3 may have been a bit demoralizing, a shut out is not a fun moment for the team but Game 4 proved to be a rebound moment and Game 5 marked what could have been the unraveling of Kings, as it was their first loss on the road all playoffs long: showing that Jonathan Quick and friends were not invincible and that the New Jersey Devils had a change to change the fates.
With experience in the net, Martin Brodeur, and youth chasing the puck up and down the ice, Adam Henrique (who had the Devils only goal tonight), the Devils went into this armed with sharp shooting, puck stopping, and leadership skills unmatched by almost any other team in the league. Their only problem was in the form of getting that puck past Jonathan Quick, 8 goals in 6 games is not going to lead to many wins. No matter what the team threw at Quick, getting the puck past Quick was their white whale. Brodeur may have the Stanley Cup rings, Vezinas recognitions, and Olympic medals in his award room, but in this series the hockey world watched him pass the torch on to Quick. Whether or not Marty returns for another season is still up in the air, but while he was a rock for the Devils, Quick was enough to stymie the offense. Both goaltenders had commendable playoff runs, but the Kings learned to work around Marty.
At the end of the night, it is a bittersweet moment. LA saw their first Stanley Cup raised as the New Jersey Devils saw their dreams of a Game 7 come back crushed, but the Devils are far from losers. So from all of us here at Fansided and Pucks And Pitchforks, we would like to congratulate the LA Kings on their Stanley Cup win. And we’d like to remind fans that October is just a few short months away, anything can happen. Keep your chins up Devils Army.
Let’s Go Devils!
Check out Rink Royalty’s recap of tonight here!