New Jersey Devils
1982/83: After years of flirting with New Jersey, NHL hockey came to the Garden State on October 5th as the Devils took the ice at the Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands playing the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-3 tie. Three nights later the Devils got their first win and bragging rights by beating the New York Rangers 3-2 in the Meadowlands. The Rangers had tried to block a team from moving to New Jersey, creating an instant rivalry. The Devils would play respectable hockey in their first seven games losing just one game. However, from there it would go downhill as the Devils went on an 18-game winless streak on the way to finishing in fifth place in the Patrick Division with a 17-49-14 record.
1983/84: In their second season in New Jersey the Devils continued to struggle posting a horrible 2-20-0 record in their first 22 games. Host of that year’s All-Star Game, Devils fans booed Wayne Gretzky throughout the game, reacting to earlier comments that the Devils were a “Mickey Mouse organization”. The comments came following a 13-4 loss on the road against Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers. With the playoff out of reach the Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins seemed to battle for the worst record, knowing that QMJHL star Mario Lemieux awaited the team with the worst record. The Devils would play bad enough to earn the worst record but finished three points better than the Penguins with an awful 17-56-7 record.
1984/85: Forced to settle on Kirk Muller with second pick in the draft the New Jersey Devils continued to toil in the depths of fifth place in the Patrick Division, as they posted a horrid 22-48-10 record.
1985/86: The New Jersey Devils would break out of the gates quickly, winning their first three games. The Devils early success, would quickly become a memory as it took the Devils 17 games to win their next three games, by then the Devils were way out of the playoff race and on the way to finishing in last place with a record of 28-49-3.
1986/87: The New Jersey Devils would play competitive hockey most of the first half of the season standing at 16-14-2 through 32 games. As winter hit the Devils would slip and slide enduring a ten-game winless streak. The Devils would go on to finish in last place again with a record of 29-45-6. One highlight of the season came on January 22nd, when 334 hearty fans braved a 20-inch snowstorm to see the Devils beat the Calgary Flames 7-5 at the Meadowlands. In five years, New Jersey the Devils had never been a factor in the playoff race. In fact, going back to their years as the Kansas City Scout and Colorado Rockies the franchise had just made the playoffs once in 13 years, clearly something had to be done to turn the franchise around. To try and change the team’s fortunes the Devils hired Lou Lamoriello, who had a successful college-coaching career to be the team’s new President and General Manager.
1987/88: The New Jersey Devils would continue to get off to good starts posting a 15-9-4 record through their first 26 games. As the cold winds of winter began to blow, the Devils would again go into hibernation, posting a 6-15-1 record in their next 22 games as Coach Doug Carpenter is fired. Under his replacement Jim Schoenfeld Devils would stay afloat hanging within a few points of the playoffs. On March 17th, things looked bleak as the Devils held a record of 31-36-5 and appeared as if they needed to win each of their final ten games to make the playoffs. That is precisely what would happen, as the Devils would post an 8-0-1 record in their last nine games to get into position to make the playoff with a win in their final game. Playing on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Devils would rally to send the game into overtime where John MacLean scored to send the Devils to the playoff for the first time with a 4-3 win as they posted a record of 38-36-6. After splitting their first two games in the playoffs against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, the Devils would shut the Islanders out in the first playoff game in New Jersey 3-0. After dropping Game 4 at home, the Devils stole Game 5 on Long Island and completed the upset of the first place Islander with an exciting 6-5 win at the Meadowlands. Moving on to the Patrick Division Finals, the Devils continued to fly taking three of the first five against the Washington Capitals. However, after getting blown out at home 7-2 in Game 6, most thought their run would end as they played Game 7 in Washington. The Devils would stun the Capitals 3-2 to reach the Wales Conference Finals. Facing the Boston Bruin for a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals the Devils would split the first two games in Boston. Upon returning home the Devil would be blown 6-1 in a game that would be best remembered for Devils Coach Jim Schoenfeld laying into referee Don Koharski following the game. The referees would walk out prior to the next game in protest prompting a 66-minute delay while replacement referees were found. The Devils would go on to with game 3-1 to even the series. With Shonefled sitting out a one game suspension to settle the dispute with official the Devils would fall 7-1 in Boston. The Devils would force a seventh game with a 6-3 win at home, but in the end, they would run out of steam as they lost 6-2 in Game 7 at Boston. Though falling one game short of the Finals the Devils did manage to make fans in New Jersey take notice, and the Devils would go on to get better radio, coverage, while increasing season tickets and fan interest in the team.
1988/89: Coming off their improbable playoff run the New Jersey Devils would be a disappointment missing the playoffs while finishing in fifth place with a record of 27-41-12.
1989/90: The New Jersey Devils sign Russians Viacheslav Fetisov and Sergei Starikov, both were are among the first Soviet players to sign with an NHL team, it would be a start of a new era with Eastern Europeans playing in the NHL as a result of the crumbling of the iron curtain. Defenseman Fetisov would have an impressive rookie season with 34 assists, as the Devils make the playoffs with a 37-34-9 record as Tom McVie replaces Coach Jim Schoenfeld in the middle of the season. However, there would be no magical playoff run this time as the Devils are beaten by the Washington Capitals in six games.
1990/91: Despite playing mediocre hockey all season the New Jersey Devils slip into the playoffs by finishing in fourth place with a record of 32-33-15. In the playoffs the Devils would battle the Pittsburgh Penguins tooth and nail holding a 3-2 series lead after five games. With a chance to close things out at the Meadowlands in Game 6 the Devils would lose 4-3, as the Penguins forced a seventh game which they won 4-0 in Pittsburgh. For the Penguins it would be the toughest series they played on the way to winning their first Stanley Cup.
1991/92: During the off-season the New Jersey Devils would lose Brendan Shanahan to Free Agency as he signed a deal with the St. Louis Blues. Free Agents of Shanahan’s type at the time afforded the Devils to some compensation from the Blues, and an arbitrator would rule that Scott Stevens would be whom the Devils could claim. Stevens helped make the Devils tougher as they made the playoffs for the third year in a row with a record of 38-31-11. Facing their Hudson River Rivals in the playoffs the Devils would frustrate the New York Rangers all series forcing a decisive seventh game with a fight filled 5-3 win in Game 6. The Devils would fall in the seventh game 8-4.
1992/93: The New Jersey Devils would get a new color scheme replacing green with black in their uniforms as Scott Stevens is named the club’s new captain. On the ice not much would change as the Devils finish in fourth place for the third straight year making the playoffs with a record of 40-37-7. In the playoffs the Devils would make a quick exit as they are beaten by the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games.
1993/94: New Coach Jacque Lemaire a Hall of Fame Center with Montreal Canadiens would employ a new defensive strategy known as the Neutral Zone Trap. The trap would help Rookie Goalie Martin Brodeur win the Calder Trophy splitting time with Chris Terreri, as the New Jersey Devils finished above 100 points for the first time in franchise history finishing in second place in the newly renamed Atlantic Division with a record of 47-25-12. Under a new format the Conference was seeded 1-through-8 and the Devils would Buffalo Sabres in the first round. Both teams featured tough defense and excellent goalies as the series went seven games highlighted by a 1-0 quadruple overtime win by the Sabres in Game 6. However, the Devils would overcome the draining loss by beating the Sabres 2-1 at home in Game 7. Moving on the second round the appeared tired as they dropped the first two games to the Boston Bruins at home. The Devils would keep their hopes alive with a 4-2 win in Game 3, as the series shifted to Boston. In Game 4 the Devils appeared to be heading for certain doom trailing throughout the game. However, the Devils would rally to tie the game late. In Overtime, the Devils would win on Stephane Richer’s goal to tie the series at two games apiece. The overtime win would provide a spark as the Devils blanked the Bruins 2-0 behind Martin Brodeur in Game 5. The Devils would go on to win the series in six games to set up a match up with New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Right from the start it was obvious the series would be a classic, as Richer became the hero in overtime again as the Devils stole Game 1 at MSG in double overtime 4-3. The Rangers would answer back shutting the Devils out in Game 2 and claiming a double overtime win of their own in Game 3 on a Stephane Matteau goal at the Meadowlands to take a 2-1 series lead. The Devils would bounce back taking the next two games in dominant fashion to take a 3-2 series lead. With a change to reach the Stanley Cup Finals the Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Game 6 at the Meadowlands. However, the Rangers would rally on a 3rd period hat trick by Mark Messier to force a seventh game. The Devils would not go quietly as Martin Brodeur kept them in the game by holding the Rangers to one goal. However, the Devils would need a miracle goal by Valeri Zelepukin to send the game into overtime. The Devils would fall in double overtime as Stephane Matteau beat Brodeur on a wrap around.
1994/95: The bitter taste of the playoffs would linger in the Devils mouths for a longtime as the start of the season was delayed by a four-month lockout. When play resumed in January the Devils would get off to a shaky start posting 12-13-5 record in the first 30 games of shortened 48-game schedule. The Devils would quietly finish the season strong posting a 22-18-8 record to make the playoffs as the 5th seed. In the playoffs the Devils would get off to a fast start shutting the Boston Bruins out in the first 2 games on the road. After dropping Game 3 at home the Devils and Bruins battled into overtime scoreless, where Randy McKay gave the Devils a 3-1 series lead with a goal midway through the first overtime period. The Devils would go on close out the Bruins with a3-2 win in Game 5 that was the last game ever at the Boston Garden. In the second round the Devils would drop Game 1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road. However, the rest of the way the Devils would frustrate the Penguins with Neutral Zone Trap winning the next 4 to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season. This time facing their neighbors to the south the Devils, who were unfazed by rumors of a move to Nashville took the first two games on the road. However, the Flyers would stun the Devils by winning twice at the Meadowlands to even the series. The Devils would quickly rebound to take Game 5 in Philly 3-2 on a late goal by Claude Lemieux. With a chance to close out the series at home the Devils were not about to make the same mistake taking an early lead and employing the trap to reach the Stanley Cup Finals with a 4-2 win.
1995 Stanley Cup Finals: In the Stanley Cup Final, the Detroit Red Wings were an overwhelming favorite, as they won the President’s Trophy with the best record in the regular season at 33-11-4 and rolled through the Western Conference Playoffs, losing just two games total against the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks. However, it was clear they were unprepared for the Devils neutral zone trap, as New Jersey won the opener 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena, as the Wings could not get anything going after Lemieux’s third period tally gave the Devils a lead. In Game 2 the Red Wings had a lead in the third period, but after Scott Stevens leveled Slava Kozlov it was clear the Devils defenders were getting into Detroit’s head. The Devils closed the game with three unanswered goals including Jim Dowd’s game winner gave the Devils a record ten road wins in the playoffs. The Devils carried the momentum to the Meadowlands crushing the Red Wings 6-2 in Game 3, to set up their clincher in Game 4. With a 5-2 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Meadowlands, the New Jersey Devils complete an improbable sweep of the Detroit Red Wings to win their first Stanley Cup Championship. Claude Lemieux who had 13 goals in the postseason won the Conn Smythe as Playoff MVP, as Neal Broten scores twice in the clincher. Broten’s second goal in the second period ended up being the game winner, after the two teams scored a pair of goals in the first period. Leading 3-2 at the end of two periods, the Devils employed the neutral zone trap, limiting the high scoring Red Wings to one shot on goal as the Devils added goals from Sergei Brylin and Shawn Chambers to ice the game. he Stanley Cup Championship, forced the state to give into the Devils demands, as losing the team to Nashville would have been unforgivable to the Garden State Government. The Devils got a new lease and much needed improvements to their arena which was renamed the Continental Airlines Arena to help pay for the cost of the renovations.
1995/96: Following the Stanley Cup victor, playoff hero Claude Lemieux would not return as he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche after a contract holdout. After the Championship banner was raised to the New Jersey Devils got off to a solid start winning six of their first seven games. The Devils seemed to go into cruise control as they fell victim to the Stanley Cup hangover, playing mediocre hockey over the next four months hover around .500. On the playoff bubble the Devils started to play a little better, but without the same intensity. As the series wound down the Devils found themselves needing to finish strong just to make the playoffs. However, a devastating 5-2 home loss to the last place Ottawa Senators in the last game left the Devils on the outside looking in missing the playoffs by two points with a 37-33-12 record. It would be the first time in 26 years that a defending Cup Champion failed to reach the playoffs.
1996/97: After coasting through the season and missing the playoffs the New Jersey Devils made certain that would not happen two years in a row as they play solid hockey all season claiming their first Division Championship, with a solid 45-23-14 record. In the playoff the Devils would get off to a quick start dominating the Montreal Canadiens at home while winning the first two games by a combined 9-3 score. Among the goal scorers was Goalie Martin Brodeur who hit an empty net late in Game 1 to become just the second Goalie to score in the playoffs. The Devils would go on to win the series in five games dropping just Game 4. In the second round the Devils would be matched against the New York Rangers. After exchanging 2-0 wins at the Meadowlands the series shifted across the Hudson where the Rangers took Game 3 in overtime 3-2. In Game 4 the Devils would be dominated by Mike Richter and Wayne Gretzky as the Rangers took a 3-1 series lead. The series would return to the Meadowlands for Game 5 but not even home ice could save the Devils as the Rangers took Game 5 in overtime on an Adam Graves goal.
1997/98: The New Jersey Devils would be the beast of the East again winning their second straight Atlantic Division title with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 48-23-11. In the playoffs the Devils would be stunned by the Ottawa Senators who took three of their first four games on the way to winning the series in six games. Following the season Coach Jacques Lemaire, the most successful coach in Devils history would step down.
1998/99: Under new Coach Robbie Ftorek the New Jersey Devils continued to remain the supreme power in the East winning their third straight Division title with a Conference best 47-24-11 record. For the second straight year the Devils would be tripped up in the first round losing to the eighth seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games, blowing a late Game 6 lead in a game they would lose in overtime.
1999/00: The New Jersey Devils would get off to a fast start again quickly taking the lead in the Atlantic Division. Through most of January and February the Devils would hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Along the way Ken Daneyko would become the first Devil to appear in 1,000 games for the franchise. However, as March started the Devils would struggle, posting a 5-10-2-1 record from February 17 to March 21st. Despite still hanging on to the top spot the Devils would fire Coach Robbie Ftorek and replace him with assistant Larry Robinson. Under Robinson the Devils would split their final four games and would fall out of first place finishing in second with a record of 45-29-8-5.
2000 Playoffs: After closing the regular season on the wrong foot the New Jersey Devils suddenly found their game as the playoffs began with a sweep of the Florida Panthers. In the second round the Devils would face the Toronto Maple Leafs splitting the first four games. The Devils would go into Toronto and take Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead as the held off a late Leafs rally to win 4-3. With a chance to reach the Eastern Conference Finals the Devils jumped out early as Petr Sykora scoring 18 seconds into the game. From there the Devils employed the trap allowing just six shots in the entire game, to blank Toronto 3-0. The six shots were the lowest in any NHL game since 1967. As they had five years earlier the Devils were matched up against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Finals. The Devils would get off to a fast start taking Game 1 in Philly 4-1. However, the Devils would let a 3-1 lead slip away from them in Game 3 as the Flyers evened the series. The Devils appeared to be affected by the missed opportunity as the Flyers took the next two games at the Meadowlands to grab 3-1 series lead. Facing elimination, the Devils would bring their A game for a 4-1 victory in Game 5 on the road. Still needing a win to even the series the Devils broke open a scoreless tie on a goal by Claude Lemieux who had been reacquired earlier in the season. The Devils would go on to win the game 2-1 to force a decisive seventh game. The Devils and Flyers battled into the 3rd period tied 1-1 as Flyers star Eric Lindros was knocked out by a crushing hit from Scott Stevens. Patrick Elias would end up scoring the game-winning goal with 2:32 left in the game, as the Devils became the first teams in the expansion era to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Finals.
2000 Stanley Cup Finals: Facing the defending Champion Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals the Devils would get off to a roaring start taking Game 1 at home 7-2. The Stars would rally to take Game 2 sending the series even 1-1 to Dallas. In Dallas the Devils would once again become kings of the road grabbing both games to take a 3-1 series lead as the Devils defense held the high scoring Stars to two goals. Looking to close the series out in Game 5 at home the Devils and Stars would battle late into the night with neither side being able to light the lamp. The Stars would go on to win the game with a Mike Modano goal in triple overtime. In Game 6 back in Dallas the Devils and Stars would battle into overtime again as the Petr Sykora was lost early in the game with a concussion. Tied 1-1, the game would go into double overtime when Jason Arnott one timed a Patrik Elias pass to clinch the Devils second Stanley Cup Championship. During the celebration Coach Lou Lamoriello would wear Sykora’s jersey as Scott Stevens who set the defensive tone won the Conn Smythe. Following the celebration, the Devils would take the cup to the hospital to Petr Sykora’s hospital room.
2000/01: Coming off their second Stanley Cup Championship the New Jersey Devils were sold to Puck Holdings a subsidiary company of Yankee-Nets with the hopes of moving the team to an arena in downtown Newark. While the Newark Arena went through red tape the Devils continued to be the beast of the East winning their fourth Division title in five years while posting a record of 48-19-12-3. In the playoffs the Devils would abuse the Carolina Hurricanes to take a 3-0 series lead. The upstart Hurricanes would not go down without a fight taking the next two games before falling in six games. In the second Round the Devils would be pushed to the limit by the Toronto Maple Leafs needing to win Game 6 in Toronto to force a seventh game at the Meadowlands which they would win 5-1 to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. In the East Conference Finals, the Devils would dominate the Pittsburgh Penguins taking the series in five games to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight season.
2001 Stanley Cup Finals: In the Cup Finals the New Jersey Devils would face the Colorado Avalanche, where they would get off to a shaky start losing Game 1 in Colorado 5-0. After evening the series with a win in Game 2 the Devils dropped Game 3 at home 3-1. The Devils would bounce back to take the next two games to have a chance to clinch their second straight cup with a home win in Game 6. However, Goalie Patrick Roy would limit the Devils to just one goal the rest of the way as the Avalanche forced Game 7 with a shutout win in Game 6 and a 3-1 win in the Mile-High City in Game 7.
2001/02: After losing in the Stanley Cup Finals the Devils appeared sluggish at times at the start of the season prompting the team to fire Larry Robinson and replace him with Kevin Constantine. The Devils would also make changes on the team trading Jason Arnott and Randy McKay to the Dallas Stars for Joe Neiuwendyk and Jamie Lagenbrunner. As the Devils completed the season with a 41-28-9-4 record, Larry Robinson was brought back as an assistant as John Cuniff left the team for Cancer treatments. In the playoffs the Devils would be frustrated by Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes, as the Hurricanes stunned the Devils in six games. Sadly, Cuniff would die shortly after the Devils were eliminated.
2002/03: After the Devils fell in the first round the team retooled allowing Bobby Holik to sign with the rival New York Rangers, and trading Petr Sykora to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for Jeff Friesen. In addition, the Devils would make another change behind the bench hiring Pat Burns who had the reputation of a taskmaster. Once again the Devils relied heavily on defense as Martin Brodeur finally won the Vezina Trophy with a solid 2.02 GAA, and a league best 41 wins, becoming the first goalie to win 30 or games in eight straight seasons, as the Devils won their fifth Division Title in seven years with a record of 46-20-10-6.Along the way Joe Nieuwendyk scored his 500th career goal on January 17th on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes. In the playoffs the Devils had that Championship look again as they jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over the Boston Bruins in the first round, as Jamie Langenbrunner established himself as the team’s go to goal scorer. After playing a sloppy Game 4 the Devils closed out the series with a 3-0 win in Game 5 as Martin Brodeur got his second shutout of the playoffs. In the second round the Devils continued to play impressive defensive hockey as they advanced to the Conference Finals by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games. Facing the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Finals the Devils overcame an overtime loss in Game 1 to win the next three games to take a 3-1 series lead. After the Senators won Game 5 in Ottawa the Devils let a chance to close out the President’s Trophy Champions at home losing Game 6 in overtime 2-1 forcing the Devils to play a decisive seventh game in Ottawa. After falling behind early Jamie Lagenbrunner lit the lamp twice in the second period to give the Devils a 2-1 lead heading into the final period. However, the Senators tied the game early in the 3rd period and threatened to take the lead. Martin Brodeur would keep the game tied until Jeff Friesen set up perfectly by Grant Marshall put the Devils up for good with 2:14 left.
2003 Stanley Cup Finals: Facing the Cinderella Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the Stanley Cup Finals loaded with subplots including a battle between Petr Sykora and Jeff Friesen who were traded for each other in the off season while Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer was matched up against his brother Rob in the first headed to head match up of Stanley Cup siblings since in 59 years. The Devils would get the first laugh as Friesen scored twice in a 3-0 win in Game 1 as the Devils limited the Mighty Ducks to 16 shots. Game 2 would be a carbon copy as the Devils again won 3-0 while allowing just 16 shots on goal. However, as the series shifted to Anaheim the Ducks would bounce back winning the next two games in overtime to even the series at two games apiece. After four tight defensive games, Game 5 back at Meadowlands would be shoot out as the Devils regained the series edge with a 6-3 win, gaining their record tying 11th home playoff win. However, with a chance to close things out in Game 6 in Anaheim the Devils showed up flat as they were beaten 5-2 forcing a seventh game for the Stanley Cup at the Meadowlands. Thinking the Devils need a mental pick me up for Game 7 Coach Pat Burns activated Ken Daneyko for the finale. Daneyko who was relegated to a backup roll would provide an emotional lift to the Devils who got back to their tough defensive mind set holding the Ducks to five shots in a scoreless first period. In the second period rookie Mike Rupp would break the deadlock. The Devils would get some insurance as Jeff Friesen haunted his old team again to give the Devils a 2-0 lead heading into the final period. Form there Martin Brodeur too over blanking the Ducks for a third time in the finals as Friesen added a third goal, late in the final minutes. As time ticked down on the Devils third Stanley Cup Championship Ken Daneyko was on the ice ending his 20-year career with the Devils in style, as Martin Brodeur set a NHL record with seven shutouts in the playoffs. However, Brodeur would lose out in the voting for the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP.
2003/04: Coming off their third Stanley Cup Championship the Devils were once again one of the top teams in the NHL thanks to the play of goalie Martin Brodeur who continued to be the league’s premier goalie winning the Vezina Trophy for the second straight season with 38 wins a 2.03 GAA and 11 shutouts, along the way he also became the youngest goalie to reach 400 career wins. Also passing a milestone was Scott Stevens who established the all-time record for games played by a defenseman. However shortly after passing the record Stevens suffered a concussion that would end his season on January 7th. In Stevens absence Scott Niedermayer assumed Stevens role as captain and as defensive warrior with 54 points and a +/- of +20, winning the Norris Trophy as the Devils battled the Philadelphia Flyers all season for the Atlantic Division Championship. However, the Devils would fall point short with a record of 43-25-12-2. In the playoffs the Devils would meet the Flyers. However, without Stevens the Devils postseason toughness was not the same as they clearly missed his presence losing o the Flyers in five games.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: Coming off the Lock Out the Devils found themselves squeezed by the new salary cap as they were unable to sign free agent defenseman Scott Niedermayer, while longtime Captain Scott Stevens announced he was not coming back. The Devils would later honor Stevens as he became the first player to get his number hung in the rafters. The Devils began the season with Coach Larry Robinson, as Pat Burns still feeling the effects of a battle witch cancer also decided not to return. Also hurting the Devils early were new rules designed to increase offense that no longer allowed the Devils to do some of the holding they did when they had 3rd Period leads. The new rules would hurt the Devils as they struggled early posting a 16-18-5 record at the end of December, as Robinson resigned in December with General Manager Lou Lamoriello coaching the team the remainder of the season. Like magic the calendar change to 2006, seemed to wake the sleeping Devils as they won their first nine games in January and got themselves back in the playoff picture. In March the Devils would hit another bump in the road as they won just four games over a 13-game stretch, as even Martin Brodeur was struggling allowing 6 goals at one point in back-to-back games. However, as the season came to an end the Devils suddenly caught fire winning their last 11 games to leap from 3rd place in the Atlantic Division all the way past the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers as they won their sixth Division Title in franchise history with a record of 46-27-9, as the diminutive Brian Gionta set a team record with 48 goals. In the playoffs the Devils would face those very same Rangers and would remain red hot, as they simply dominated their rivals from across the Hudson, winning their first game 6-1, as they extended their end of the season winning streak to 15 games by sweeping the Rangers in four straight, while outscoring them 17-4. Sweeping the Rangers did have one drawback in that they were off a week before their second round series against the Carolina Hurricanes began, and the rust was clear in Game 1 as they lost 6-0. In Game 2 it appeared as if the Devils rebounded as they took a 2-1 lead with 21 seconds left on a goal by Scott Gomez. However, the Hurricanes would tie the game just 18 seconds later and would win the game in overtime. As the series shifted to New Jersey the Devils remained down losing Game 3 by a score of 3-2. They would avoid the sweep with a 5-1 win in Game 4, but Hurricanes could not be stopped as they won the series in five games and would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
2006/07: The Devils celebrated their 25th Anniversary by saying goodbye to the Meadowlands as their new arena in Newark was nearing completion. With new Coach Claude Julien the Devils would once again get off to a slow start as they held a 12-11-2 record at the end of a rough November road trip that saw they lose all four games on the Pacific Division. Coming off the road trip the Devils would quickly rebound winning five in a row, as Martin Brodeur started stealing games with a career high 12 shutouts that included four 1-0 victories. In fact, one goal victories would be a trend all season as the Devils offense misfired, while Martin Brodeur had an MVP type season, setting a new single season record with 48 wins to capture his third Vezina Trophy. The Devils would once again win the Atlantic Division, but GM Lou Lamoriello was not satisfied as he fired Julien with just three games to go. Lamoriello himself would coach the remainder of the season and the playoffs as the Devils finished with 49-33-9 record. In the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning the Devils would have to rely on their offense as Brodeur perhaps fatigued from a season in which he played 78 games struggled allowing three goals in the first four games. However, the Devils managed a split winning Game 4 on the road in overtime 4-3 on a goal by Scott Gomez. In Game 5 Brodeur would take over stopping all 31 shots in a 3-0 win. The Devils would go on to win the series in 6 games, with a 3-2 win on the road. The second round would not be as easy as the Ottawa Senators took Game 1 at the Meadowlands 5-4. The Devils would overcome the shock of a late tying goal to win Game 2 in double overtime on a goal by Jamie Langenbrunner 3-2. However, the Devils would struggle in Ottawa losing both games to fall behind 3-1 in the series. Needing a win just to save alive in Game 5 the Devils would allow three goals in the 2nd period as they fell behind 3-1 entering the final period. The Devils would manage to score with 40 seconds left on a goal by Scott Gomez, but it would not be enough as the Senators won the game 3-2 to take the series in five games. The second-round elimination would mark the end of an era at the Meadowlands and on the team itself as Gomez left for a Free Agent deal with the rival New York Ranges, while Brian Rafalski signed with the Detroit Red Wings.
2007/08: With work on the new Prudential Center in Newark being completed the Devils were forced to play their first nine games on the road under new Coach Brent Sutter. Making matters worse the Devils were shorthanded as Jamie Langenbrunner and Colin White on the injured list. After winning just three of their nine road games the Devils made their debut at the Prudential Center on October 27th, suffering another letdown at the hands of the Ottawa Senators losing 4-1. In November as they got to play more games in their beautiful new arena in Newark, the Devils started to win games, as they were also helped by the return of Langenbrunner who was named team captain. Colin White would eventually return in December as the Devils won nine straight games, with Martin Brodeur again in the nets almost every game. The start of the win streak on November 17th marked a special moment in Brodeur’s career, as he captured his 500th career win, beating the Philadelphia Flyers on the road 6-2. Eventually Brodeur would pass Eddie Belfour for second place on the all-time win list as he began to make his move up the ladder to become the NHL’s All-Time Winningest Goalie. Martin Brodeur would go on to have one of his finest seasons, as the Devils offense at times seemed stuck in neutral. The legendary goalie would go on to win his fourth Vezina Trophy in five seasons, posting a 44-27 record, with an outstanding .920 save percentage, and 2.17 GAA. The Devils would go on to reach the playoffs with a record of 46-29-7. In the playoffs the Devils would face the rival New York Rangers, who the Devils had trouble beating during the regular season, winning just once on a shootout in six meetings, as Scot Gomez, haunted his former team several times. That shoot out win in the final game at the regular season, gave the Devils home ice advantage, but with Rangers fans able to access the Prudential Center easily it would almost not matter, as grabbed control of the series quickly winning the first two games at the Rock 4-1 and 2-1, with the fans in blue drowning out the fans in red. With John Madden scoring an unassisted goal in overtime, the Devils would take Game 3 at Madison Square Garden 4-3. However, the Rangers would reestablish their control of the series by scoring two late third period goals in Game 5 for a 5-3 win, as they went on to take the series in five games.
2008/09: The Devils welcomed back some familiar faces of the past as a Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik, Mike Rupp, and Scott Clemmensen all re-joined the Devils during the off-season. As they prepared to play their second season in Newark, the Devils were expecting a year of milestones for Goalie Martin Brodeur, who was within reach of the All-Time wins record and All-Time Shutout record. However, on November 1st just ten games into the season the Devils would lose their rock in the nets for nearly four months to a torn bicep. The Devils who relied heavily on Brodeur in previous seasons appeared to be in trouble as they dropped five of their first six games after Brodeur went on the injured list. However, with a 6-5 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on November 15th, the Devils were able to get back on track, as Scott Clemmensen played solid goal in Brodeur’s absence. Meanwhile, Zach Parise continued to emerge as a NHL star, scoring 45 goals with 49 assists. Also aiding the Devils was another blast from the past as future Hall of Famer, Brendan Shannahan whose departure in 1991 saw the Devils receive Scott Stevens as competition returned to finish his career where it began, scoring a goal in a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators on January 19th. January proved to be a good month for the Devils as they posted an 11-3 record and reigned atop the Atlantic Division. Martin Brodeur would return on February 26th and would earn a 4-0 shutout win over the Colorado Avalanche. Brodeur would add another shutout three days later as the Devils blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. The March 1st shutout was the 100th shutout of Martin Brodeur’s career moving him to within three of Terry Sawchuk’s record. However, the record everyone had their eye on was Patrick Roy’s career win record of 551. On March 17th at the Prudential Center, Marty proved once and for all he is better than everyone as the Devils beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 for his record 552nd career win. In the same game Patrik Elias became the Devils career leading scorer when he recorded his 702nd point with a perfect pass to set up a short-handed goal by Brian Gionta late in the second period. The Devils would go on to win the Atlantic Division with a record of 51-27-4. In the playoffs the Devils would face the Carolina Hurricanes, and would get off to a start winning 4-1 in Game 1. After a frustrating 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2, the series shifted to Carolina, where Travis Zajac provided the heroics in Game 3, scoring an overtime goal to give the Devils a 3-2 win in Game 3. However, the pesky Hurricanes battled back to even the series again. Game 5 would come down to Marin Brodeur who stopped all 44 shots as the Devils won 1-0 to regain control of the series. However, the series would end up going to a seventh game after the Devils delivered a flat performance in a 4-0 loss in Carolina. Through most of Game 7 it appeared as if the Devils were in control, as they held a 3-2 lead late in the 3rd period. However, with 1:20 left in the game Jussi Jokinen tied the game for the Hurricanes. Still reeling the Devils would be stunned again less than a minute later as Eric Staal gave the Canes a 4-3 lead with 32 seconds left. The Devils would not be able to tie it as the Hurricanes advanced to the second round. Following the season, the Devils would see the departure of Coach Brent Sutter who left to run his hometown Calgary Flames. They would also say goodbye to John Madden, Scott Clemmensen and Brian Gionta who were not re-signed following the season.
2009/10: To replace Sutter, the Devils looked to the past once again, and hired Jacques Lemaitre who led them to their first Stanley Cup title in 1995 and was the winningest coach in franchise history. The return of Lemaitre had its early struggles as the Devils lost their first two games at home. However, on the road the Devils excelled, as they won their first nine road games. The Devils would eventually start winning at home, as they posted a 17-6-1 record through the first two months powered by an eight-game winning streak. The Devils would continue their strong play in December, as they entered the New Year in first place with a record of 28-10-1, along the way Martin Brodeur put his name in the record books again with a 4-0 shutout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road on December 21st. The shutout was the 104th of Brodeur’s career in the regular season, breaking the record of Terry Sawchuk. Nine days later Brodeur would blank the Penguins again 2-0, this time at the Prudential Center. In January the Devils began to show some flaws as they played mediocre hockey. As the Olympic Break approached the Devils would pull of a stunning move, acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk and Anssi Salmela from the Atlanta Thrashers for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors and junior prospect Patrice Cormier, along with a pair of draft picks. Kovalchuk would have his struggles adjusting to the Devils system as they hit the Olympic Break with a record of 37-21-3. While still playing mediocre hockey, the Devils held on to the top spot in the Atlantic Division, as they continued to beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins in head-to-head match ups. The Devils would all but lock up the division title on March 17th, as they wore their classic red and green jerseys for the first time in 18 years and beat the Penguins 5-2 at the Prudential Center, completing a sweep of their division rivals. The Devils would go on to finish the season with a record of 48-27-7. In the playoffs the Devils would face another division foe in the Philadelphia Flyers, unfortunately as much as they dominated the Penguins, the Devils had troubles all season against the Flyers. Those struggles would continue in the playoffs as they lost Game 1 at the Rock 2-1. After evening the series, with a 5-3 win, the Devils saw a chance to take control of the series go by the board as they suffered a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3. The overtime loss would be a back breaker as the Flyers would win the next two games to take the series in five games. As the season came to an end Coach Jacques Lemaitre announced his retirement. The Devils would name John MacLean as his successor. The Devils would also move to re-sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a long-term contract. On July 19th the Devils announced that they had a 17-year $102 million deal. The contract would be voided by the NHL as the league ruled it was circumventing the salary cap. Eventually, they would work out a 15-year, $100 million deal with Kovalchuk. However, the league punished the Devils by taking away to draft picks and fining the team $3 Million dollars. The contract would also leave the Devils with a compromised roster that had little flexibility with the cap.
2010/11: Pinched against the salary cap after the Ilya Kovalchuk contract, the Devils were forced to use several unproven players in key positions, especially on defense as John MacLean finally got his chance to lead the Devils behind the bench. Things would not get off to a good start, as they blew a 2-0 lead, and lost to the Dallas Stars 4-3 in overtime at the Prudential Center on opening night. The Devils would lose their first three games, before earning a 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres in overtime. The Devils would not win a home game in October as they posted a 3-8-1 record. In November after six losses at the Rock, the Devils finally earned their first home game on November 12th as they beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in overtime. However, in the game they would lose Zach Parise to a knee injury that would keep him out of action until March. The Devils even saw Martin Brodeur miss several games with an elbow injury as they continued to struggle, heading into December with a record of 8-14-2. In December the Devils would hit rock bottom as they lost 11 of 13 games, and found themselves with the worst record in the NHL at 9-22-2 on December 23rd when Coach John MacLean was fired, as the Devils were not even competitive during a four game losing in which they were outscored 20-4. The Devils would ask Jacques Lemaire to come out of retirement to lead the team for the rest of the season. After extending the losing streak to six games, the Devils beat the Atlanta Thrashers 3-1 on New Year’s Eve. The Devils struggles continued into January as they found themselves with a horrific 10-29-2 record on January 8th, as Captain Jamie Langenbrunner was traded to the Dallas Stars for a conditional draft pick as the Devils began to focus on the future. However, a funny thing began to happen after Langs was dealt away, the Devils started to look like the Devils again as they had just one overtime loss in their next seven games. The playoffs still remained a longshot, but the Devils would not quit without a fight as they incredibly posted an 11-1-1 record in February climbing out of last place and on the fringe of the playoff race. More incredible was the fact that most of it was with backup Goalie Johan Hedberg, as Martin Brodeur missed several games with a knee sprain. The Devils would remain hot into March, as they won six of their first seven games to pull to within six points of eighth place. However, after a remarkable run of 23-3-2 over 28 games the Devils finally cooled down, losing back to back games to the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals. The Devils would go on to finish the season with a record of 38-39-5, as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996 and just the second time, since 1987. Following the season Jacques Lemaire would go back into retirement, as the Devils hired Peter DeBoer as their new coach after a long exhaustive search.
2011/12: The Devils looked to rebound after missing the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, under new Coach Peter DeBoer. The Devils would also name Zach Parise as the new team captain. The Devils baegan the season, a man short as Travis Zajac suffered an Achilles injury during the off-season. Zajac would miss most of the season but would be able to return for the playoff drive. The Devils would play lackluster hockey in the season opener, as they were beaten 3-0 by the Philadelphia Flyers, at the Prudential Center. The Devils would be without Martin Brodeur most of October due to an injured shoulder. Despite missing a key goal scorer and their legendary goalie, the Devils kept their head above water as Johan Hedberg was solid between the pipes, while they got an early boost from Rookie Adam Henrique. Henrique was among the Devils leading scorers and one of the top rookies in the NHL, with 16 goals and 35 assists. Another rookie who was solid for the Devils was defenseman Adam Larsson, who the Devils took with the fourth overall pick. Larsson played in 65 games during the regular season with 16 assists, as he showed great promise at the age of 19. The Devils also got strong play from one-time Devil Petr Sykora who made the team after a pre-season tryout and scored 21 goals. Still the Devils needed to do more than hold their head above water as they suffered a four-game losing streak at the start of December. Fortunately, they got a strong month from Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk as they won nine of their next 12 games to enter the New Year in playoff position with a record of 21-15-1. Another Devil keying the offense was David Clarkson who was having a career season and would finish the year with 30 goals. Still the Devils felt they needed more punch as they picked up Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Carolina Hurricanes. Ponikarovsky was quite the spark, with a +9 in 33 games, as he scored had 18 points with brilliant two-way play. In February the Devils added more defense by acquiring Marek Zidlicky from the Minnesota Wild for Kurtis Foster, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux and two draft picks. With the return of Zajac, the Devils would play strong down the stretch as they finished the season with a record of 48-28-6, closing the year with six straight wins, as they held steady with the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
2012 Playoffs: Being the sixth seed was actually beneficial for the Devils as they faced the Florida Panthers, who despite being the worst team in the playoffs were the third seed by winning the Southeast Division. The Devils would get off to a good start, beating the Panthers 3-2 as Dainius Zubrus had a goal and an assist, in Martin Brodeur’s 100th career playoff win. After the Panthers won Game 2, the series shifted to Newark, where the Devils quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead. However, the Devils quickly fizzled after their explosion in the first ten minutes, allowing the Panthers to crawl back and win the game 4-3. The Devils would bounce back with a 4-0 win in Game 4, as Martin Brodeur had set a record with 24 career playoff shutouts. However, after being blanked 3-0 in Game 5 in Florida, the Devils face elimination in the first round once again. The Devils would grab an early 2-0 lead in Game 6, but again the Panthers rallied, as the game went to overtime tied 2-2. In overtime the Devils would get the game winner from Travis Zajac to send the series to a seventh game. Game 7 would be a carbon copy of Game 6, as the game went to overtime tied 2-2 again. With Martin Brodeur stopping 43 of 45 shots the Devils stayed in the game until double overtime when Adam Henrique netted the game winner to send the Devils to the second round. The Devils would not have any time to celebrate as they had to play the Philadelphia Flyers on the road just three days later. Despite being outplayed and outskated most of the game, the Devils managed to get the game to overtime. However, the Flyers would win the game 4-3 on a goal by Danny Breier. The Devils would rebound with big performance in Game 2, as they broke the game open after a misplay by Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and went on to win 4-1. As the series shifted to the Rock, the Devils and Flyers played an intense physical Game 3, which would go to overtime tied 3-3. This time, the Devils would win on a goal by Alexei Ponikarovsky, as Ilya Kovalchuk, who played the entire postseason with a back injury had the big assist to set up the game winner. The Devils would then take a 3-1 series lead with a 4-2 win Game 4, as Dainius Zubrus scored two goals, as the Flyers began to unravel. The Devils would go on to close out the series in five games with a 3-1 win in Philadelphia. This would set up a showdown with the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 1 would not go in the Devils favor, as the Rangers won 3-0, breaking the game open with three third period goals in 330. Game 2 would go back and forth, but the Devils would get the necessary Garden split with a 3-2 win, as David Clarkson scored late in the third period. The Devils would outplay the Rangers in Game 3, as the series shifted to Newark; put with Henrik Ludqvist stopping all 36 shots the Rangers once again outlasted the Devils to win the game 3-0. Things would be much different in Game 4, as the Devils dominated the game from start to finish, winning 4-1, with Zach Parise leading the way with two goals and an assist. The Devils would get off to a fast start in Game 5, with three early goals. However, the Rangers would battle back to tie the game early in the third period. The Devils would recover and retake the lead with less than five minutes left on a goal by Ryan Carter, as Parise added an empty netter for the 5-3 win. On the anniversary of Mark Messier’s guaranteed win, the Devils again had the Rangers on the ropes with a trip to the finals on the line. The Devils would take a 2-0 lead only to see the Rangers battle back to tie the game. The game would go to overtime tied 2-2, but it would not last long as Adam Henrique put home a scramble just 63 seconds into sudden death to win the Eastern Conference Championship.
2012 Stanley Cup Finals: The team the Devils would face in the Finals should have looked familiar as the Los Angeles Kings came out of nowhere and played strong defense with a great goalie to come out of the eighth seed, winning eight straight on the road in the process. The Kings would break out early in on a goal by Colin Fraser; the Devils would even the game on a goal by Anton Volchenkov as the two teams were extra tight in the opener at the Prudential Center. The game would go to overtime, where the Devils would make the big mistake as Anze Kopitar won the game for the Kings 2-1 on a breakaway. The Devils would play better in Game 2, but once again the game would go to overtime, tied 1-1. Along the way the Devils missed several opportunities to take the lead, but in the end the Kings won again on a goal by Jeff Carter. In Game 3 the Devils power play would have a blackout in L.A., missing six opportunities. The Kings would take full advantage, winning the game 4-0 to take a 3-0 series lead. The Devils would not go down without a fight, as they scored three goals in the third period, taking their first lead of the series to send the Finals back to Newark with a 3-1 win. In Game 5 got a huge performance from Martin Brodeur who stopped 25 of 26 shots in a hard fought 2-1 win to give the Devils a fighting chance. However, in Game 6 Steve Bernier got five minutes for a questionable boarding call against Rod Suderi. While on the major power play the Kings scored three goals and never looked back, clinching the Stanley Cup with a 6-1 win, the Kings would score all six goals on the power play. Following the playoffs, the Devils would suffer another loss as Captain Zach Parise signed with the Minnesota Wild.
2012/13: After winning the Eastern Conference, the Devils were forced to find a new captain after Zach Parise signed with the Minnesota Wild. The Devils would have time to consider their options as the start of the season was delayed three months due to a lockout. When the season finally began the Devils would name Bryce Salvador as their new Captain, making him just the third black captain in the history of the NHL. Salvador was chosen for his grit and leadership that helped make him one of the team’s top defensemen. However, to return to the Stanley Cup Finals the Devils were going to need somebody to step up and become the team’s new top scorer. Early on it looked as if David Clarkson would fill that role, as the Devils got off to a strong start, winning their first three games, including a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in their home opener on January 22nd. The Devils continued to play well into February, as they posted a record of 10-3-4 in their first 17 games. However, playing a compressed 48 game schedule began to take its toll on an older team like the Devils as Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk both missed significant time due to injury. The loss of Kovalchuk hit the Devils especially hard as the Devils offense nearly vanished, as they won just five games in March. As March turned to April, the Devils would endure a ten-game winless streak that all but ended their playoff hopes. The Devils would make a late charge, winning four of their next five games, but it would be too late as they finished the season with a record of 19-19-10, falling seven points short of the last playoff spot. Following the season, the Devils would make history at the NHL Draft in Newark, using a seventh-round pick to choose Anthony Brodeur the son of longtime Goalie Martin Brodeur. However, it was a Goalie they picked up earlier in the day that would have a bigger impact as they traded their first overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks for Cory Schneider.
2013/14: Despite more than two decades of success on the ice and solid attendance figures, the Devils were struggling due to debt incurred since the construction of the Prudential Center. No longer able to borrow money, Owner Jeff Vanderbeek was forced to see the Devils Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, and David S. Blitzer, for over $320 million. The Devils new owners were able clear all the debt from the team’s books and get back on solid financial ground. On the ice however, things were more unsettled, as Ilya Kovalchuk suddenly quit the NHL just four years into a 15-year, $100 million to return to Russia to play in the KHL. The move left the Devils without a reliable scorer. Hoping to fill the hole left by Kovalchuk’s sudden departure the Devils signed 20-year veteran Jaromir Jagr. The future Hall of Famer at the age of 42 proved to have some magic left in his stick as he led the team in scoring with 67 points, with a team high 43 assists as Adam Henrique led the team with 25 goals. When the season began the Devils decided to start Corey Schneider on opening night, a 3-0 road loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in order to save Martin Brodeur for the home opener one night later. However, the Devils would not fare any better at the Rock, losing a shootout to the New York Islanders 4-3. Shootouts would be a season long problem for the Devils as they lost all 13 games that remained tied after a 4-on-4 overtime period. Not that going 0-13 in games decided by a shootout was bad enough, but the Devils seemingly could not hit the broad side of the barn, making just 4-of-45 shots in the shootout period. Numbers so bad its defied logic. Unfortunately for the Devils they found themselves in shootouts regularly at the start of the season, as they went winless in their first seven games, with a record of 0-4-3. After digging a hole in October, the Devils started to claw their way back to respectability in November, as won eight games to get back to .500, performing especially well on the road. Over the next two months Corey Schneider and Martin Brodeur would split time in goal, as the Devils got back into the playoff race, holding a record of 22-19-11 entering a game with the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium. Early on the Devils played well in the Bronx, with a 3-1 lead. However, as a light snow began to fall Martin Brodeur suddenly looked his age, allowing six goals on just 14 shots before being benched in favor of Corey Schneider as the Rangers won the game 7-3. The poor performance in the Stadium Series game was the signal that Brodeur’s time with the Devils was nearing an end as Schneider got the bulk of time in goal the rest of the season. Corey Schneider played well when given a chance, posting a record of 16-15-12, with an outstanding 1.97 GAA and a terrific .921 save percentage. After returning from the Olympic Break with a record of 24-22-13, the Devils continued to fight for a spot in the playoffs as they won five of their first seven games after Sochi, with Martin Brodeur showing a bit of a resurgence despite dealing with trade rumors. However, the Devils playoff hopes would all but wither when they lost both games in a trip to Florida. In the end the Devils struggles beyond regulation would be too much to overcome as they missed the playoffs with a record of 35-29-18, missing the playoffs by five points. Had they just managed to win one third of their 18 overtime losses they would have made the playoffs. As the season ended it was clear so had Martin Brodeur’s two-decade career in New Jersey. In his final game at the Prudential Center, fans gave him a standing ovation over the final five minutes, as the Devils beat the Boston Bruins 3-2. In 21 seasons with the Devils, Brodeur set All-Time NHL records with 688 wins and 124 shutouts, not including a record 24 shutouts in the postseason, going down as arguably the greatest goalie in the history of the NHL.
2014/15: There was an air of change for the New Jersey Devils after the departure of Martin Brodeur. The legendary goalie would continue his career with the St. Louis Blues, but would announce his retirement in February with 691 career wins and 125 career shutouts. With Cory Schneider getting the job in goal, the Devils looked sharp at the start of the season, winning their first three games on the road. However, coming home after a 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals the Devils struggled at Prudential Center, losing their first three home games. The Devils continued to struggle in shootouts, extending their losing streak to 18 games decided by the skills competition. That streak would mercifully end on October 30th with a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, with Jacob Josefson getting the deciding goal. Injuries would become a factor in November as the Devils went 4-8-2. The Devils again were on their way to a 4-8-3 record in December, when Coach Peter DeBoer was fired on the day after Christmas. Instead of naming one coach to replace DeBoer the Devils would go to coach by committee the remainder of the season with General Manager Lou Lamoriello leading the way with Adam Oates concentrating on offense while Scott Stevens took care of the Devils defense. The Devils coach by committee appeared to be working as they showed signs of live in January, however the team was a bad mix of over the hill veterans and rookies who were not quite prepared for life in the NHL. The Devils were one of the NHL’s lowest scoring teams, with Adam Henrique leading the way with a mere 43 points, while Michael Cammalleri led the team with 27 goals. One player of note was Jaromir Jagr scoring 11 goals before being dealt to the Florida Panthers at the deadline. Another veteran making a positive impact was Scott Gomez who returned to Jersey and matched Henrique for the team lead in assists at 27. The Devils though would be a non-factor in the playoff chase, posting a record of 32-36-14. Changes would follow the season as Lou Lamoriello resigned his position as President and General Manager, with Ray Shero taking over. Lamoriello had been the Devils General Manager since 1987, building them into one of the finest franchises in the NHL, with three Stanley Cup Championship, in five finals appearances.
2015/16: With the departure of Lou Lamoriello, a new era was to begin for the New Jersey Devils as Ray Shero who came from the Pittsburgh Penguins organization brought John Hynes with him to be the new coach of the Devils. The Devils looked to improve their offense in the off-season by picking up Kyle Palmieri, who grew up in Montville, New Jersey in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks. In another example of the change in the Devils culture Mike Cammalleri changed his number to #13 which he wore throughout his career but was never been available due to superstitious beliefs of first Owner John McMullen and continued under the reign of Lamoriello. The new look Devils got off to a slow start, losing their four games. The Devils would finally get on track with a 2-1 overtime win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Devils would close six of seven to close out October with a record of 6-4-1. The Devils would play competitively for most of the first half as they went into the New Year holding a record of 19-14-5. Mike Cammalleri was a big reason the Devils were staying in the playoff picture, as he led the team in scoring in the first half, but a wrist injury limited him in January. When Cammalleri was out the Devils struggled, but when he returned the Devils got back on track with a five-game winning streak. However, as the injury would be re-aggravated and cause Mike Cammalleri to miss the rest of the season. In 42 games, Mike Cammalleri would post 38 points, with 14 goals. The Devils would fade without Cammalleri’s scoring ability in the second half. Kyle Palmieri would wind up as the Devils leading scorer with 57 points, as he and Adam Henrique each scored 30 goals. The Devils were active at the trade deadline mostly selling off players like Lee Stempniak and Erik Gelinas for draft picks, but they did make one deal that caught everyone by surprise as they sent Stefan Matteau to the Montreal Canadeins for Devante Smith-Pelly. Over the final six weeks, DSP was the Devils most dynamic player with 13 points in 18 games. As the season came to a close, Patrik Elias who fought through a knee injury scored a goal in the Devils final game of the season, ending a 20-year career that saw him become the Devils all-time leading scorer with 1,025 points and 408 goals. The Devils would finish the season with a record of 38-36-8.
2016/17: The New Jersey Devils transformation continued as they made a stunning trade in the off-season acquiring Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers straight up for Adam Larsson. Hall gave the Devils a playmaker on offense the Devils had lacked for years. Taylor Hall recorded his first goal as Devil during the home opener as New Jersey beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. The Devils showed the ability to compete, especially at the Prudential Center where they posted a record of 7-0-2 in the first two months of the season. Injuries became a factor in December as the Devils suffered through a seven-game winless streak and went into the New Year holding a record of 14-16-7. The Devils played better in January and got back to .500, which was spurred by a successful western road trip. Looking to get back into playoff contention, the Devils started February playing well, as they held a 25-23-10 record on February 18th following a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. That was the moment though things went into a tailspin with a ten-game winless streak. March would be a nightmare for the Devils as they managed just two wins as they finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 28-40-14. Taylor Hall was one of the Devils lone bright spots, as he led the team in scoring with 53 points despite dealing with a knee injury that made him miss ten games. Hall’s 53 points were matched by Kyle Palmieri who also led the Devils with 33 goals. The terrible season would get one lone salvation at the end of the year, as the Devils won the Draft Lottery and chose Nico Hischier with the number one overall pick.
2017/18: With the first overall pick Nico Hischier onboard, there was a feeling of a new start for the New Jersey Devils. Hischier, along with Will Butcher and Jesper Bratt, gave the Devils three young stars for fans in the Garden State to cheer as the Devils after five straight seasons of missing the playoffs looked to regain their former glory. Bratt scored a goal in his debut as Butcher had a pair of assists as the Devils opened the season with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche at Prudential Center. One player who was not present on Opening Day, was Brian Boyle, a free agent signing in the offseason, who was out after being diagnosed with Leukemia. Despite the loss of Boyle, the young Devils played well early in the season, winning, posting a 9-2-0 record in their first 11 games. Boyle would return as November begins putting the fight in hockey fights cancer. His leadership provided a source of inspiration and guidance as the Devils were in the top three in the Metropolitan Division for most of the season. Boyle would make his first All-Star appearance in 2018, scoring 13 goals with ten assists as he was awarded the Masterton Trophy for dedication to the sport of hockey. Hoping to add some experience on defense, the Devils traded 2012 Playoff hero Adam Henrique to the Anaheim Ducks for Sami Vatanen. As the New Year arrived hard times arrived for the Devils, as won just three games in January as goalie Corey Schneider went down with a hip injury. As their playoff hopes began to dim, the Devils found salvation in the play of back Keith Kinkaid and the play of Taylor Hall. Over the final two months of the season, Hall carried athe Devils embarking on a franchise-record 26-game scoring streak. Hall would end the season with 39 goals and 54 assists, as the Devils slipped into the playoffs with a record of 44-29-9. Due to his 26-game scoring streak, Taylor Hall was chosen as the Hart Trophy winner, becoming the first member of the New Jersey Devils to win the NHL’s MVP award.
2018 Playoffs: The New Jersey Devils would face a significant obstacle in the playoffs as they drew the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. It was clear that the Devils were not ready for the playoff stage, as they were routed the first two games 5-2 and 5-3. Returning home, the Devils got a boost from the rock and the return of Corey Schneider to win the game 5-2 as Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists. However, it would be the last win of the season as Tampa had a pair of 3-1 victories in the next two games to win the series in five games.
2018/19: Following their first playoff appearance in six years, the New Jersey Devils looked to take another big step forward as they began the season in Sweden against the Edmonton Oilers, earning a 5-2. Coming home, they continued their strong play rolling over the defending champion Washington Capitals 6-0 in their Prudential Center opener. The Devils won their first four games, despite Corey Schneider starting the season on injured reserve. The Devils were unable to maintain their strong start, as Keith Kinkaid and the Devils defense struggled. Things would not improve when Schneider returned as the lingering effects of his hip surgery slowed him all season. New Jersey began to slide down the standings in November, as the New Year approached things only got worse as Taylor Hall suffered a knee injury that would sideline him the remainder of the season. One present surprise at the end of December was the emergence of rookie goalie Mackenzie Blackwood who ended December with back-to-back shutouts. Holding a record of 15-6-4 at the start of the New Year, the Devils were unable to stay in the playoff chase as the loss of Hall began catching up with them. As the trade deadline approached, the Devils began selling off players, trading away Brian Boyle, Ben Lovejoy, Marcus Johansson, and Keith Kinkaid. The Devils would finish the season last in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 31-41-10. After the season, the Devils found a silver lining, as they again won the draft lottery.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the New Jersey Devils or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
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