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The Devils are in the Details...and in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

A resurgent New Jersey Devils team clinches their first playoff appearance since 2018

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
The New Jersey Devils haven't won a playoff series since 2012

I still vividly remember when the New Jersey Devils were...well...the DEVILS! They won their first Stanley Cup back in 1995 and from that point on, they became this juggernaut who was always in the playoffs, reaching the Final three more times after that 1995 Cup, and adding two more Cups in 2000 and 2003. Those days are long gone; names like Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Bobby Holik, and of course, Martin Brodeur are enjoying retirement. Ken Daneyko has since gone from winning Cups with the Devils to calling their games as a color analyst (one of my current faves), and we have seen new stars shine for the Devils.

The playoff appearances haven't really come for the Devils since they last reached the Stanley Cup Final back in 2012. It would be six years until they reached the playoffs, and they did so as one of the Eastern Conference's Wild Cards. After that, many years of hell, though they did win something in the 2018-19 season: the Draft Lottery. The Devils ended up with the #1 pick and took Jack Hughes, but the bad seasons continued. Finally, 2022-23 came, and the Devils went on a tear. Their season was so prosperous that they actually had the chance to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on March 24, but they couldn't capitalize on the "win and in" scenario. The following day saw New Jersey with a number of different scenarios, and one of them paid off. While the Devils were on the ice for their game against the Ottawa Senators, the Florida Panthers lost in regulation to the New York Rangers, and that result ended up sending the Devils to the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Jack Hughes was drafted #1 overall by the Devils in 2019

So, about this Jack Hughes kid. Yeah, he's working out well for the Devils. He has quickly become the team's big time superstar, and this season (his 4th in the league) is his latest example. Hughes is leading the team in goals and points--in fact, he has reached 40 goals in a season for the first time in his budding career. His eight power play goals are tied with Dougie Hamilton for the team lead, and speaking of Hamilton, he has shined in his first year with the Devils, as he is in the team's top 3 in points, with Nico Hischier being the third member (the wrestling fan in me is tempted to call them the "Triple H tandem"--Hughes, Hischier, and Hamilton).

Those three aren't the only ones showing out for the Devils. Jesper Bratt has been scoring goals left and right as well, as he's one of three Devils with over 30 goals. Yegor Sharangovich is having a quiet season, but he's also been valuable for the team, along with Dawson Mercer, Tomas Tatar, and Damon Severson. In net, Vitek Vanacek is the lead goaltender, also in his first year with the Devils, and he's had his share of quality starts this season. Backups Akira Schmid and Mackenzie Blackwood have also been valuable to the team as well; each backup has eight wins in relief.

The Devils haven't won a playoff series since Adam Henrique's memorable OT goal that clinched the 2012 Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers. They are in good shape to get off that schnide, as they are in a tight race with the Carolina Hurricanes and the aforementioned Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. It's amazing. The Devils were one of the seven teams who failed to qualify for 2020's modified playoffs, yet it only took them three years to bounce back and become a playoff team--becoming the second team from that unlucky group to do so (the Los Angeles Kings reached the playoffs in 2022). The Metropolitan race, from the looks of it, could take all of the season's remaining weeks to decide, and that time will tell if the Devils will be atop the division by the time the season ends.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

Feel free to follow my social media:

Twitter - Facebook - Tiktok - Instagram

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