New Jersey Devils: The Forgotten Great Series Of 2012 Playoffs

Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his powerplay goal at 5:00 of the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 8, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Devils defeated the Flyers 3-1 to win the series four games to one. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his powerplay goal at 5:00 of the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 8, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Devils defeated the Flyers 3-1 to win the series four games to one. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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For the past decade, New Jersey Devils fans usually have to reflect during this time of the year. They’ve only seen two playoff berths in the past 10 seasons. It’s been a rough stretch, to say the least. However, the one major run the Devils have had in the last ten years is one of the greatest runs Devils fans have ever seen.

The 2011-12 New Jersey Devils were the perfect combination of a formula that was bound to explode. This was chemistry class when it seemed like everything was just working out while you were on the seat of your pants. You know that one more pinch of hydrogen peroxide will make a mess of the whole situation. However, right now, the chemistry is perfect.

Everyone seems to talk about three of the four series on this run, and for good reason. The seven-game series against the Florida Panthers was enthralling, and it ended on a double overtime goal by a rookie. This, after Game 6 ended with an overtime win thanks to Travis Zajac. There was of course what happened when the Devils and Rangers came together in the Eastern Conference Finals. Then, there was that call in the Stanley Cup Final.

However, that series against the Philadelphia Flyers was awesome. Well, it was awesome for New Jersey Devils fans.

The Flyers took on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. The winner of that series was going to be considered the favorite to win it all. However, this Devils team was different. And it was the second-round series that showed this wasn’t any old Devils playoff team.

Things started off stressful. The Flyers and Devils went to overtime in Game 1. After Claude Giroux scored his seventh goal of the postseason, the Flyers had a 3-2 lead in the third period. Then, seven minutes later, Petr Sykora tied the game to eventually send the game to overtime. A centering pass to Danny Briere gave the Flyers Game 1.

After that, it was literally all Devils.

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In Game 2, the Devils score four 3rd-period goals to even the series. Three players scored their first goal of the postseason, including future captain Bryce Salvador. Once the series came back to the Prudential Center, it was another barn burner. Ilya Kovalchuk gave the Devils a 2-1 lead in the 1st period. Briere scored in the third period to tie the game at three. Alexei Ponikarovsky took a Kovalchuk pass to the net and won the game in overtime.

The Flyers took a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game 4, but it didn’t last long. The Devils scored two goals in the final five minutes of the period. Then, an unlikely hero came along. Dainius Zubrus scored two goals to close out the game and the Devils took a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Maxime Talbot gave the Flyers yet another early lead in Game 5. Salvador and David Clarkson responded by giving the Devils a 1st-period lead. Kovalchuk put the series away on the power play in the 3rd period, and this gave the Devils the series win.

The Devils were the underdog, they were down in every game of the series, and yet they took out one of the most prolific offenses in the NHL in five games. It was a lot of fun to watch, and it gave the team and its fans confidence going up against the top-seeded Rangers. Ilya Bryzgalov was no match for a Martin Brodeur-led team, and this series should get more love amongst the fanbase.