Devils Set Broad Street Bully Dreams on Fire
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: After Nine Years,
The Devils Are Going BACK..., to the Conference Finals!
Philly Cheese Steaks Fall to Brick City Demons in Five Games.
I - PHI 4; NJD 3
II - NJD 4; PHI 1
III - NJD 4; PHI 3
IV - NJD 4; PHI 2
GAME V FINAL:
New Jersey Devils 3
Philadelphia Flyers 1
Can we call it a sweep? Not a clean one, but a sweep none the less?
Philly was able to advance past Pittsburgh because both teams were more that willing to throw Hockey in the back seat and just try to beat each other up. That plays right into Philly's hands. Their style of attack first also seems to work best against PITT as well. Pittsburgh just lost all their composure. Good job by Philly. But against the Devils, they were forced to play hockey all game.
And after completely disassembling the Philadelphia Flyers over the course of the last four games, the New Jersey Devils are going to the Eastern Conference Finals. They left their turnpike rivals behind in pieces. It was a methodical dismantling. Not a Philly style beat down.
Playing without the suspended Claude Giroux, the Devils still let Philly get on the board first..., again. Max Talbot stepped in to fill Philly's void with a goal at the 7:18 mark of the first period. The Devils answered that goal post haste. Within two minutes, Bryce Salvador struck net with his second of the playoffs, and a tie, off feeds from Henrique and Kovalchuck.
The dormant stick of David Clarkson arose in this clinching game, to also net his second goal of the series. Scoring unassisted at the 9:27 mark of the first, he gave the Devils and Marty Brodeur a lead they'd never relinquish. It would be Dave Clarkson's second game winning goal against Philadelphia. It also resulted from Ilya Bryzgalov's biggest mistake of the night.
Ilya Kovalchuck made Philly's comeback even more improbable when he scored his fifth goal of the playoffs at the 5:00 mark of the third period, on a power play off feeds from Henrique, Adam's second of the game, and Zubrus.
With 2:00 minutes-plus to go, the Flyers finally rid their net of Ilya Bryzgalov for the extra skater. Marty Brodeur denied a Hartnell shot with 1:29 left. At 1:07 the Devils got a clear. At 0:47, they got another. At 0:31, the Devils had an empty net goal waived off due to an offsides.
Philly took one last shot against Marty with 0:07 left and were denied again. And that's how this series ends. Martin Brodeur, the forty year old, made twenty-seven saves in all, on twenty-eight Philly shots on goal.
The Devils played their most disciplined hockey over these last two games. They committed one penalty in all of Game Five, after limiting themselves to two early penalties in Game Four.
What an amazing climb back to the Conference Finals for the Devils. They never could recover from their horrific start to the 2010-2011 season, and thus missed the playoffs last season under a combination of John MacLean and Jacques LeMaire as Head Coach. Of course we know LeMaire got them close, but alas no cigar.
I even said prior to their turning things around last season, that being as they will most likely lose Zach Parise to free agency, they should have traded him and finally closed the door on an era. I also thought Kovalchuck's contract was literally and financially dancing with the devil. Look at me now. The Devils have been solid, consistent, and formidable all season. Reinvesting in the back line with a pair of young draft picks like Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson, then picking up Zidlicki at the deadline have kept Devils' own defensive standards up to snuff this season.
As a Rangers Fan, this haunts me. It's almost as if this is being set up to be Marty's Revenge for 1994. But of course, the Rangers would have to win their series first, and that is another story.
The Devils.... The Mickey Mouse organization... are headed back to the Conference finals for the first time since their Stanly Cup winning 2002-2003 season. Nine years later, Martin Brodeur and Patrick Elias return. The renaissance men are back indeed.
After last season, Peter DeBeor was named head Coach by Lou Lamoriello and has since reintroduced the New Jersey Devils upon the National Hockey League. His team will enjoy an extra day off or two. In Marty's case, that might be just fine. But here come the Devils! Peter DeBoer's Devils.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.