Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Could Get Blast from Past

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Could Get Blast from Past

Article excerpt

NEWARK - The Devils now know the day and time when they will open the Eastern Conference finals. They're still waiting for the where and the identity of their opponent, though.

Game 1 will be Monday at 8 p.m. If the Rangers beat Washington in Game 7 of their conference semifinal series Saturday night, they will play host to the Devils for Game 1 at Madison Square Garden. If the Capitals win Saturday, the Devils will be home for Game 1 at Prudential Center.

The Devils punched their ticket to the conference finals by finishing off the Flyers with a 3-1 Game 5 victory Tuesday night. Although the Rangers failed to close out the Caps on Wednesday, losing 2-1, there already has been a lot of talk about a Devils- Rangers series and their last conference finals meeting in 1994.

Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who turned 40 Sunday, is the only player still active from that memorable seven-game series, but his postseason history against the Rangers goes back two years earlier than that to a seven-game slugfest in the 1992 Patrick Division semifinals.

Just 19 at the time, Brodeur dressed as Chris Terreri's backup in that series and made a relief appearance - his first NHL playoff experience - in an 8-5 loss in Game 5. He also somehow became paired with Rangers enforcer Joey Kocur during a brawl at the end of the Devils' 5-3 win in Game 6.

"I was part of the whole seven games," Brodeur said Thursday. "I was on the bench. I was in the locker room. I got to hate the Rangers early on, got the taste of it."

Brodeur quickly noted, "We're talking about the Rangers not knowing we're going to face them."

If the Rangers get past the Capitals, it would set up the sixth postseason series between the Hudson River rivals. In addition to the 1992 and 1994 series, they also met in the 1997 conference semifinals (Rangers in five), 2006 conference quarterfinals (Devils in four) and 2008 conference quarterfinals (Rangers in five). …

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