Who To Root For Round One As A New Jersey Devils Fan

Blake Coleman #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Blake Coleman #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Hello again New Jersey Devils fans young and old. Today’s discussion is a simple one. It is playoff time and as usual our team is not participating, so who should we root for and why? Let’s break it down one series at a time. Yes, the playoffs are underway already so some teams are already close to on their way out.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders (Series Tied 2-2)

This series is once again a dog fight, but it arguably is the most important one to us Devils fans. New Jersey owns the Islanders first round pick in this coming draft year so for obvious reasons we need them out as fast as possible. I personally do not enjoy rooting for the Penguins unless they’re playing the New York Rangers or Philadelphia Flyers, but I will always root for what benefits our team most. So in this series only, root for the Penguins to advance in what will now be at least six games.

Washington Captials vs. Boston Bruins (Boston Leads 3-1)

Nobody hates Boston sports more than I do. I truly dare you all to try and find someone who despises all of their teams more than me. So in case that was not painfully obvious I am rooting for the Capitals to come all the way back and win in seven games. Yes I know that Capitals owned us all season long and have been for the past couple of years but they are still not from Boston. The way this series has gone though, it seems highly unlikely and the Bruins will be advancing to round two to see hopefully the Penguins.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators (Carolina Leads 2-1)

Team that has caused the Devils playoff misery three times vs. team coached by John Hynes. Valid reasons to hate both sides and root for the other. Hynes is certainly in the “worst coach in team history” debate, I do not think anyone would dispute that. But is it enough to root for Carolina? I will say no. 2002 and 2006 were two seasons where New Jersey had legitimate chances to make a Stanley cup run and got derailed early by the Hurricanes. Do not even get me started on 2009, game seven was on my birthday and since we have yet to defeat them in a playoff series I have not forgiven them. Go Predators!

Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Tampa Bay Leads 3-1)

The battle of Florida has been a very intense series since it started. It has been one of the most exciting ones to watch since the puck dropped in game one. You could really go either way on this one as Nikita Gusev is on the Panthers, Blake Coleman and Pat Maroon are on the Lightning. Unfortunately, Florida’s goaltending has been a major issue and allowed Tampa Bay to pull away on this series. I was hoping for the Panthers if only because I like to see new champions when it is not my own team, but it seems pretty likely Tampa will advance and await the winner of Carolina/Nashville.

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues (Colorado Leads 3-0)

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

This series was over before it started. The Avalanche are way too stacked and that is why they are one game short of a sweep. I personally would have loved to see the chaos of the Blues upsetting them, especially if you are old enough to remember 2001, I personally am not. But nonetheless a popular rooting choice would have been the Blues but they are cooked more than a well done steak.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild (Vegas Leads 3-1)

Another fun series that you can hold a grudge or not. Again, I do not hold a grudge against Zach Parise anymore I never really did to be honest. Plus, he has been a healthy scratch since the series started. I am actually a little annoyed with how good the Knights have been since they got into the league. They were gifted a great team and did not really have a normal process of being bad first like every other expansion team to come into this league. That leaves a bad taste even though that is more the league’s fault. But, I can be petty like that too so I would personally like to see the Wild come away with this series. It will be very close.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens (Series Tied 1-1)

A great goaltending battle opened up this series. It was exciting and low scoring and the game winner was a beauty from Paul Byron from his knees and the Canadiens took the game 2-1. But this series is far from over. They proved they can hang with the Maple Leafs and plan to do so. I would love to see Toronto choke again. I find it absolutely comical every time they lose a series with all of this hype surrounding them. Go Habs Go!

Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets (Winnipeg Leads 2-0)

This series is off to a shocking start. I am all for the chaos. The Jets have taken both games in Edmonton and are headed home for the next two games. While there is no fan advantage in Canada this is still huge to get back on your own ice up two games. It seemed like everyone was taking the Oilers in this series but it looks like the Jets are hanging around and may be advancing themselves.

Round one has been off to an awesome start. Let’s hope it continues right through to the end of another season of hockey.