Without their favorite team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons New Jersey Devils fans should still watch the playoffs and cheer for some teams in the East. Here’s who and why:
Washington Capitals - The Caps are the top team the Devils should root for. The most obvious reason is because they are playing the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. Every Devils fan would love to watch the Rangers get knocked out early. It would almost make up for them knocking the Devils out of playoff contention. Just for that, Lets go Caps! Now for real.The Capitals had an incredible 15-2-2 run late in the season to bring them from last place in the Conference to winning their division. Also, Alex Ovechkin had a great season leading the Capitals to the playoffs again. While being one of the best players in the NHL, Ovechkin has yet to win a Stanley Cup. He is well overdue.
New York Islanders - Let’s be honest, the Islanders are not a rival of the Devils. The Isles have not made the playoffs since 2007 and have been irrelevant in the Atlantic Division ever since. The New York Mets of the hockey world cannot be hated because of their recent history and how poorly they have played. Besides, if the Devils moved or did not exist, I believe the majority of Devils fans would be Islanders fans over the Rangers. Also, they are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins who are bigger rivals in my opinion. But the Isles have a very slim chance at beating the Pens, especially with Crosby back. Who does not like rooting for the underdog?
Ottawa Senators - The final team, the Senators, have had a rocky season to say the least. After losing Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and goaltender Craig Anderson to injuries the Senators had everything going against them. All but Spezza have returned to the Senators lineup since then, but they were out for most of the season. Despite doubters, the Senators never lost hope at making the playoffs. Veterans like Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Neil, and Sergei Gonchar all stepped up to make that hope a reality. The Senators are in the midst of a series against the Montreal Canadiens and currently lead 1-0.
No matter who wins, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are always exciting. There have already been plenty of great hockey games played along with many more to come.