2011-2012 Eastern Conference Finals: Devils Win Series 4-2
Rangers fans, it’s now your turn to look away. The 2011-12 season saw the New York Rangers finished with the second most points in the league (109), falling two points shy of the Vancouver Canucks for the Presidents’ Trophy.
Meanwhile, after a handful of underwhelming seasons, the Devils were able to get in as the six seed, riding behind 39-year-old Martin Brodeur and the hot play of Ilya Kovalchuk.
For the Rangers, it was a rough road to the Eastern Conference Final. It took two 7-game series wins against Ottawa and Washington to get this far, and while the Devils had to beat Florida in 7 in Round 1, they were able to rattle off four consecutive Ws against the Flyers in Round 2 and defeat them in 5.
New York started off with a 2-1 series lead after three games. They won both Games 1 and 3 by scores of 3-0, and 20-year-old Chris Kreider had put a puck in the back of the net in each of the three contests.
While the Devils would find themselves with their backs against the wall early, they would go on to outscore the Rangers 12-6 across the remaining trio of games to take the series and advance to the Cup Final.
Before we conclude, we need to take a deeper look at Game 6, or what many would call to be one of the best games in recent Devils history. At the end of the first period, the Devils found themselves up 2-0 thanks to goals from Ryan Carter and Kovalchuck. The Rangers would find their equalizer in the second period, netting two goals past the GOAT.
The match would advance into overtime. Just over a minute in, rookie Adam Henrique would score the game-winning goal and make May 25th a non-official national holiday for Devils fans. The moment is known as the “Henrique! It’s over!” goal due to the phenomenal call from play-by-play legend Doc Emrick on the play.
While New Jersey could not outlast the Cinderella Los Angeles Kings in the Final, Devils fans will never forget May 25th, 2012.
I hate to beat a dead horse here, but it’s Adam Henrique. It always has been. It wouldn’t matter what he would do for the rest of his Devils tenure; that goal will always make him a hero in New Jersey for the rest of his life.
Michael Del Zotto had a rough six games going to the box for three separate minors and registering a +/- of -6. It’s been emphasized throughout this recap that defense is ultra-important, and Del Zotto failed to realize that in this one.
Whether you’re a New York Rangers or New Jersey Devils fan, it’s easy to admit that the history between these two teams is very rich. There’s been plenty of meaningful and competitive games that both sides have won, and it would be hard to say that the ‘Hudson River Rivalry’ is not one of the NHL’s most meaningful clashes.
If these two teams do in fact meet in the postseason for the 7th time, we can certainly expect another storyline that we’ll keep with us for a long while.