5 Reasons New Jersey Devils Can Win Stanley Cup

Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his empty net goal against the New York Rangers in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 01, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Rangers 4-0 to win the series 4 games to 3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his empty net goal against the New York Rangers in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 01, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Rangers 4-0 to win the series 4 games to 3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils defenseman John Marino (6): Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason #5: Defensive Core

The New Jersey Devils defense hasn’t been given the proper recognition. They are the big reason for the Devils win against the Rangers. The Devils were tied with the Vegas Golden Knights with the lowest xGA/60. Sure, Akira Schmid was great, but the Devils only allowed 2.27 xGA per game. The Devils defense was able to hold the high-powered Rangers offense in check in all four wins.

The Devils ended up shutting out the Rangers twice, and allowed just one goal in the other two wins. If one more huge chance got passed Schmid in any of these games, we’re planning the Devils funeral right now. Instead, we’re talking about the Stanley Cup.

The Devils really got the pairings down. After Lindy Ruff benched Jonas Siegenthaler in Game 2, he’s been arguably the team’s best defender. We haven’t even heard the name Dougie Hamilton, and that’s because none of his mistakes have gone the other way. Maybe he’s not even making mistakes, but the issues that plagued him in the regular season never cropped up.

Ryan Graves and John Marino have been really good. Graves had his issues, but he stepped up in Game 7. Marino might be the other “best defenseman” in the series. Adam Fox was in this series, but he was outdueled pretty significantly. Siegenthaler and Marino both even added offense.

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The bottom pairing of Damon Severson and Kevin Bahl might be the best bottom-line defenders in the league. It’s going to be hard to match the depth of this defense.