The New Jersey Devils have been through some serious tough times over the past decade. A random MVP-caliver year from Taylor Hall got them into the playoffs once, but they were mostly bad otherwise. Most seasons, they were near the bottom of the league.
They won two draft lotteries, landing them Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. Of course, those are two sensational franchise-level players that they have been building around since. Now, here in 2022-23, they came in with mixed expectations. They exceeded them all and made the playoffs with the third-best record in the NHL.
They had to deal with their biggest rival in the league; the New York Rangers which is never easy no matter how the regular season went. After going down 0-2 in the series (and being outscored 10-2 in those games) it didn’t look good. However, people who have been with this team all year knew that there was another level that they could hit. They did.
The New Jersey Devils were amazing when things mattered the most.
They roared back to win three of their next four games which found them in game seven of the series. After another perfect home game, they won 4-0 which earned them a date with the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
This isn’t as big as winning the Stanley Cup or even beating the Rangers back in 2012, but it is still very meaningful to fans. This team has been very bad for a very long time, and they finally got it done.
This series was proof that you should never give up on this team. They poured it all out there, and they got it done.
Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Timo Meier didn’t score until Bratt got the closing empty netter in Game 7, but they did other things needed to win. Jack Hughes was incredible, but some veterans like Ondrej Palat, Dougie Hamilton, and Erik Haula pushed the Devils over the edge.
This is huge for us all as fans. If you jumped up and cheered when they won the lottery (twice), if you believed in Taylor Hall knowing he might leave anyway, if you sat through the seven goalie year that was 2021-22, this is for you.
Now, we get to do it all over again in the second round with the Carolina Hurricanes. This is going to be an incredibly fast and fun series for all. There is plenty more where that came from.