New Jersey Devils: My “Henrique, It’s Over” Story

Adam Henrique #14 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Adam Henrique #14 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

There are stories fans have when it comes to the biggest moments tied to their favorite team. For New Jersey Devils fans, it seems everyone has a story for this date in 2012. This is when Adam Henrique scored just one minute into overtime to beat the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The win sent the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final, and it also kept the Rangers from making the Final, which it hadn’t even seen since 1994. That made it even better.

I’ve told my story multiple times on the Let’s Go Devils Podcast, but I’ve never put it into blog form. It’s honestly a pretty fun story.

For some reason, this playoff year I watched a lot of games at a lot of different venues. I watched Game 7 against the Florida Panthers at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Brick, NJ. I saw two games at the Prudential Center in that series, but after watching Martin Brodeur get pulled in one of them, it felt like maybe that wasn’t good for the ole superstition.

My girlfriend at the time (and now wife) was going to Temple University, so we got to watch some of the second-round series in Philadelphia. That was an experience in of itself, but I’m here to tell the tale. See, Philly fans aren’t so bad (as I quietly look over my shoulder). However, things in the New York Rangers series needed solitude. So I watched them in my mom’s basement in Toms River, NJ.

Only one problem. That girlfriend of mine was in two weddings on back-to-back weeks, and they happened to coincide with the later rounds of the playoffs. This would also be when I met most of her hometown friends, which were in Pittsburgh. This was all fine, except when we saw our travel day was the same day as Game 6 of the series. I had to make a deal with my girlfriend. I don’t remember what I gave up in the deal, but to be able to listen to a full hockey game that included overtime on our six-hour drive to Pittsburgh probably cost me a lot (or maybe just one night of drinks since we were in our early 20s).

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I was always a radio guy. When I went to West Virginia University and Ocean County College, I did radio work at both places. The spoken word was the best way to enjoy a sporting event, so I wasn’t too upset about missing out on Doc Emrick’s call despite his legendary status with the fanbase.

Matt Loughlin easily filled the shoes for me. His call was very good. I was on the edge of my seat for the better part of a four-hour drive. And it had nothing to do with the exploits of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Devils took a two-goal lead in the first period. Then, the second period was awful. Ryan Callahan‘s game-tying goal with six minutes left in the second felt like the momentum shifting officially in the Rangers favor. The puck hit off his knee, hit the post as Brodeur was sliding the other way, and it went in. The Devils needed to clamp down to keep this thing tied going into intermission.

In the 3rd period, Dainius Zubrus got a good shot off that Henrik Lundqvist stopped, and Brad Richards took a shot on the power play with Brodeur down, but he stacked his pads and stopped it. It was a stressful period even though not a ton happened. It was like waiting for pain but praying for elation.

Then, overtime came. The stress wouldn’t last too long. Just one minute in, we heard the call. It’s not exactly “Henrique, it’s over”, but it is still one of Loughlin’s best calls.

We made it to the bar to meet my now wife’s friends. I walked in with my hands in the air, which confused a lot of people. For one, everyone was a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, and they were still recovering from blowing their first-round series with the Flyers. Also, like I said, I was just meeting these people, but I didn’t care. My Devils were going back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in nine long years.

The Final didn’t go so well. I went through the wedding and watched Game 1 in Pittsburgh. That sucked. Then I watched Game 2 in a Toms River Applebee’s. Former WWE and current AEW wrestler Matt Hardy was there, and he got us to buy him shots of Patron. It was still worth it because he was a cool dude. However, it took until replays of the “Henrique, it’s over” call before I heard Doc Emrick scream those lovely words.