Even though the Devils’ playoff chances are finished for 2013, we can still look back at some great moments in New Jersey’s playoff history.
On April 26…
1997- Martin Brodeur records career playoff shutout No. 5, as the Devils beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in game five, claiming their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 4-1.
2003- Jamie Langenbrunner scores the game-winning goal at 2:09 of the first overtime, lifting the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in game two of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
2006- Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias each record a goal and an assist, and Brodeur pitches another playoff shutout in New Jersey’s 3-0 win over the New York Rangers in game three of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Madison Square Garden.
2012- Adam Henrique scores at 3:09 of the second overtime to lift the Devils to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers in game seven of New Jersey’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in Sunrise, Fla.
As I said on Twitter postgame, this was an impressive win for a lot of reasons. Yes, the Devils probably should’ve played like this at some point during their 10-game slide. No, two more wins like this won’t drastically change how we look at the season. However, there were bright spots in this game that lend themselves toward a positive look for next season and it’s possible missing the playoffs flipped a switch in the psyche of a lot of these players, which is another topic for another day. As for tonight’s game, some thoughts…
Fortitude: At least for me, the most impressive part of tonight’s win came after the Canadiens scored two unanswered, the second of which came including one in the final minute of the second period. We’ve seen the Devils melt down multiple times in that scenario, giving up an early goal in the third and going on to lose in regulation or in extra play. It’s been one of my biggest criticisms of this Devils team, particularly during their recent slide. This team lacked a strong enough mental edge to their game to rebound from “woe is us” moments. Tonight, though, they didn’t need a timeout to correct them and while they struggled to get shots on net in the third, they still kept the Canadiens at bay for long stretches. Also, the Habs came out in the third and tried to bully the Devils, who fought right back. Ilya Kovalchuk, for one, went right at the Canadiens after he got hit from behind. Kovy’s response, along with the the energy he’s played with and the way he drives the train (so to speak), has me wondering if it should be Kovalchuk with the captain’s “C” next season. I know Salvador is respected in the room and a lot of guys like him, but would it kill them to give it to Kovy and have Salvador take an “A?” I think it would be a wise move that would help shape the team’s mindset going into next season. Food for thought.
Martin Brodeur and the Devils host the Canadiens in one of their final games of the season.
Who: Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils When: 7:00 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 6:30 p.m. ET Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ Media:TV - MSG2 (Channel listings); Radio – Bloomberg (1130 AM) Twitter:@cgriffin415 | @SNYDevils
Stats & Notes (via Devils PR)
With Sunday’s loss at the New York Rangers, the Devils were eliminated from playoff contention.
Also Sunday, New Jersey fell to 4-17-6 on the year when allowing the first goal. The Devils are 13-1-4 when scoring first this season.
The Devils out shot the Rangers, 27-22, and have now out shot their opponent in 24 of the past 26 games, including a 184-100 advantage over the past six games.
The Devils closed-out their 10th/final set of back-to-back games this weekend. New Jersey finished 3-5-2 in first games and 3-5-2 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
Martin Brodeur started his 15th consecutive game Sunday. He is 4-7-4 since returning to the lineup on March 21 at Carolina.
Andrei Loktionov, who was a healthy scratch in the previous two games, scored the Devils only goal Sunday, his eighth of the season. He is second on the team (Patrik Elias, 9) in goal-scoring since making his season debut on February 18.
Ilya Kovalchuk picked up the primary assist in his second game back after missing 11 contests (shoulder).
Peter Harrold also had an assist Sunday and now has points in back-to-back games (2a).
The Devils are still faintly alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
New Jersey must win out and get some help. But after falling behind 2-0 Saturday afternoon, the Devils responded with six-unanswered goals in a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers.
In Winnipeg, the Jets scored late to force overtime against the New York Islanders. New York claimed a 5-4 shootout win Saturday.
The Jets’ loss leaves them in a precarious spot. Winnipeg now trails the Rangers by one point and the Washington Capitals by three for the Southeast Division lead. The Jets have played the same number of games as Washington and one more than the Rangers.
Winnipeg will meet Washington Tuesday in a game that could eliminate the Jets from division contention. The Caps beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 on Saturday at Bell Centre
The Ottawa Senators, still fighting for their playoff lives, fell at home to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Saturday night. The Leafs clinched a playoff berth with that victory.
That’s what happened yesterday. Here is what will go down Sunday.
The Devils and Rangers meet at Madison Square Garden at 3 p.m. New Jersey needs to beat New York, ideally in regulation, but even an overtime or shootout win will keep the Devils alive for the No. 8 seed.
However if the Devils win in regulation or overtime, that is the best-cased scenario. The Devils must win out, and hope the Rangers go 0-2-2 or worse, to surpass New York.
The Boston Bruins trail the Canadiens by two points for first place in the Northeast Division. Boston can pull even with Montreal if it can knock off the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
Here is the full slate of Eastern Conference games with playoff implications. All times are p.m. and eastern time.
Down six points with just six games left, it’s time for the Devils to start helping themselves.
We can go over the scenarios every day, but without New Jersey wins it doesn’t matter. The Devils are 0-6-4 in their last 10 yet are still mathematically alive.
New Jersey has a game in hand on both the Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets– and two in hand on the Buffalo Sabres. The Devils also will meet the eighth-placed New York Rangers twice in their final six games, leaving a slim chance of postseason still alive.
But the Devils have to start winning games.
They can do that tonight in Philadelphia. If New Jersey beats the Flyers, it’ll hop them for 11th.
The Devils then must root for the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. The Canes will play in Winnipeg tonight and the, the Panthers trek to Madison Square Garden to meet the Rangers.
Should all that go New Jersey’s way, it’ll trail Winnipeg and New York by four points with a game in hand on the Jets and a crucial meeting with the Rangers Sunday.
That’s about all you can hope for as a Devils fan these days.
Should Winnipeg win, it’ll be rooting for its division-rival Florida, as well as the Ottawa Senators. The Senators will host the Washington Capitals tonight. Washington leads Winnipeg by four points for the Southeast Division lead, and the teams have both played 43 games.
The Senators still can catch the fifth-placed Toronto Maple Leafs, but they can still also be caught by the seventh-placed New York Islanders. The Isles and Leafs will meet tonight in Toronto.
A Toronto win, coupled with a Montreal Canadiens loss to Tampa Bay, will leave the Leafs two back of their divisional rival with just four games left.
The 10th-placed Sabres helped their cause last night with an enormous shootout win over the Boston Bruins. Buffalo is idle tonight but will root for Florida and Carolina.
The full slate of Eastern Conference games with playoff implications. As always, all times are eastern and p.m.
It’s going to take an awful lot to get the Devils into the playoffs.
New Jersey clearly can’t get into the tournament without winning some games. It also hasn’t gotten much help lately.
Still, as it is mathematically possible for the Devils to get in, we keep it up.
After their 10th straight loss– a 2-0 defeat in Toronto– the Devils trail the eighth-placed Rangers by six points with six games left. Two of those games are against the Rangers, but New York undoubtedly will hold the tiebreaker, having won four more regulation and overtime games.
So the Devils need the Rangers to lose. Still, if New York does lose tonight in Philadelphia, the Flyers will hop the Devils and drop New Jersey into 12th.
See why this is dire?
Whatever the case, the Islanders, Rangers, Senators, Capitals and Jets are in action tonight. If the Isles fall to the Panthers, that would put the Devils seven back of seventh place with a game in hand.
With the Southeast Division still up for grabs, the Jets will host the Lightning while the Caps will entertain Toronto. Washington leads Winnipeg by four points, but the teams will meet Tuesday in Washington.
Toronto, meanwhile, only trails the Bruins by three points and the Canadiens by four. The Leafs are 7-1-2 in their last 10 and have built a five-point lead on sixth-placed Ottawa.
Here is the full slate of Eastern Conference games with playoff implications. As always, all times are p.m. and eastern.
New Jersey’s 5-4 loss to Boston Wednesday leaves it in dire straits. The Devils trail the three-way tie for sixth by four points with only eight games left.
The only solace New Jersey can take is it will have destiny in its own hands. The Devils will meet Ottawa Friday in a crucial affair at Prudential Center. Three of New Jersey’s final eight will be against the Rangers and Sens.
The Devils didn’t get much help from James Reimer and the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Toronto went to MSG and lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Rangers.
To be fair, the Devils are 0-4-4 in their last eight. Help doesn’t mean much if they don’t win games.
Still, with their playoff hopes fading fast, the Devils will be scoreboard watching tonight. They’ll hope the team that beat them Wednesday, the Boston Bruins, will give them some aid as they host the New York Islanders.
The Devils will also be rooting for Florida, as the Panthers trek to Winnipeg to meet the Jets. New Jersey trails Winnipeg by one point for ninth place.
Crazy as it sounds, the Flyers can also help out New Jersey tonight. Philadelphia hosts Ottawa in a game both teams need. The Flyers trail the Rangers by seven. An Ottawa loss, combined with and an Islanders win, will drop the Sens to eighth place.
The Buffalo Sabres, six points behind the Rangers, Sens and Isles, will host the Montreal Canadiens tonight. Buffalo desperately needs points.
Meanwhile, Montreal trails Boston by one point for the Northeast Division lead.
Have you got all that? Good.
Meanwhile, the Jets and Washington Capials are still angling for the Southeast Division title. While Winnipeg is hosting Florida, the Capitals will be hosting the Carolina Hurricanes. The Jets trail the Caps by two points, but Winnipeg has played one more game than Washington.
Here is the full slate of games for Thursday in the Eastern Conference:
The Toronto Maple Leafs, who seemingly doomed the Devils’ playoff hopes just three days ago, have renewed life into New Jersey’s postseason chances.
The Leafs’ 4-3 regulation win over the Rangers at Air Canada Centre kept New Jersey within two points of both seventh and eighth in the East with only 18 regular-season days remaining.
With New Jersey idle again tonight, the team and fans can root for the Flyers and Lightning. Philadelphia, still clinging to faint-playoff life, will be on Long Island for a date with the Isles. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, will try to deal the reeling Senators their fifth-straight loss.
Washington, not pictured, leads Winnipeg by only two points for the Southeast Division lead. Both are in action tonight, with the Capitals in Montreal. The Jets will host the Sabres tonight at 8 p.m. in a key affair for both teams.
A Montreal win, coupled with a Pittsburgh loss in Carolina, will leave Les Habitantes just one point back of the Pens for the East’s No. 1 seed.
Here are tonight’s Eastern Conference games. All times are p.m. and eastern:
Five of the six teams pictured play– two of which, Philadelphia and Winnipeg, will meet head-to-head. The Rangers’ shootout loss on Friday in Pittsburgh gained them a point, jumping them ahead of the Islanders and Devils and into the No. 7 spot.
The Devils, with a win tonight over Toronto and an Islanders loss, will return inside the East’s top eight.
Meanwhile, the Jets host the Flyers in a huge interdivisional game at 3 p.m. Winnipeg, with a win and a Washington loss, can retake first place in the Southeast Division. With a loss, the Jets will be all but out of playoff contention, considering they have played more games, 40, than any other team in the East.
Meanwhile, the Flyers can creep within one point of the playoffs– and drop the Devils into the Atlantic Division basement– with a win and a New Jersey loss.
The Capitals, not pictured but presently in third overall, will keep the Southeast lead– and home-ice advantage that comes with it– with a win in Sunrise over the Panthers or a Winnipeg loss.
The Rangers, playing for the second straight night, are in Carolina to meet the fading Hurricanes. The Islanders, meanwhile, will host the Lightning tonight. Both Carolina and Tampa Bay, not pictured, can move within four points of the playoffs with wins.
Meanwhile, at the East’s top, Boston can retake first in the Northeast Division with a win in Montreal tonight.
Here’s the full slate for Saturday of East games with playoff implications. All times are p.m. and eastern time.