Rangers-Devils Playoff Series Would Reignite Their Rivalry


There is an effective probability the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils conflict within the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. New Jersey and New York are in second and third place within the Metropolitan Division, respectively. If the playoffs started as we speak, the golf equipment would meet in a first-round collection.

Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers tries to get by Ondrej Palat of the New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Rangers superior to the Eastern Conference Final final 12 months, so there have been expectations they’d be good this 12 months. The Devils, then again, have exceeded regular-season expectations. They just lately clinched their first postseason berth since 2017-18. The quite a few years of rebuilding for New Jersey look like lastly paying off.

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If the 2 rivals meet within the playoffs, it will likely be the primary time since 2012. Since the Devils relocated from Colorado for the beginning of the 1982-83 season, New Jersey and New York have met within the postseason six occasions. The Rangers maintain a 4-2 benefit of their playoff matchups. Two memorable playoff collection between the franchises had been the 1994 and 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Let’s check out why a postseason collection between the groups would reignite their rivalry.

The Devils Are Seeking Postseason Experience

The Devils are an unknown entering the postseason given their in depth playoff absence. They possess an thrilling core consisting of Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Dawson Mercer, Dougie Hamilton, and Jesper Bratt. These gamers are desirous to take the following step of their respective careers by competing for a championship. The membership is an underdog as a result of their current lack of playoff expertise, and this 12 months’s postseason can be important for them to construct upon subsequent 12 months.

Kristy Flannery, a credential author protecting the Devils for The Hockey Writers, responded to how far she thinks the staff will go within the postseason, “it’s so hard to say because the playoffs are a completely different animal. Once in, any team has a chance to win. There are a ton of factors that can dictate how far they can go including injuries to their team and their opponent. The biggest question is if they have the size and physicality to withstand the wear and tear of the postseason.” The franchise’s current inexperience within the Stanley Cup playoffs makes it troublesome to find out how they are going to fare within the postseason this 12 months.

The Rangers Are Seeking to Win the Stanley Cup This Year

The Rangers’ expectations this season had been heightened even additional following their additions of Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane in the course of the commerce deadline. If the membership doesn’t win the Stanley Cup, their season can be considered as a large underachievement. They have a superb core that took a giant step ahead final 12 months in Gerard Gallant’s first season as head coach of New York.

Following final season’s playoff run, the Rangers count on to succeed in their second Stanley Cup Final since 1994. They have a terrific core of gamers in Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Igor Shesterkin, Chris Kreider, and Adam Fox. The additions of former Stanley Cup winners in Tarasenko and Kane might assist New York win their first championship in 29 years.

Related: 4 Rangers Crucial to Team’s Postseason Success

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Tarasenko and Kane have totally different roles with the Rangers than with their earlier golf equipment. Prior to becoming a member of New York, each of them had been core gamers for the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, respectively. Now, each are on a staff that already has a great basis in place. They are potential difference-makers if the Rangers win the Stanley Cup this 12 months.

The Devils Are Having a Great Season

The Devils are having a exceptional season, and so they have a possibility to win their first playoff collection since 2012. The franchise and followers are hoping this 12 months is the beginning of consecutive appearances within the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They had many nice groups throughout Martin Brodeur’s 21 years with New Jersey. Hughes, just like the Hall of Fame goalie, is a former first-round choose by the Devils that has the expertise to make them a number of championships.

John Marino New Jersey Devils
John Marino, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Why has 2022-23 been profitable for the Devils? Flannery wrote, “it’s a season where everything went right. They have gotten reliable goaltending throughout the season and Hughes and Hischier were able to remain healthy with the former having a breakout season. Veterans like Brendan Smith, Erik Haula, and Ondrej Palat have been able to teach this young team valuable lessons like the importance of collecting early points and being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Devils general manager (GM) Tom Fitzgerald really improved the blue line with the addition of John Marino.”

The Devils have performed the Rangers powerful based mostly on their three matchups this 12 months. New Jersey is 2-0-1 towards New York, and the rivals have performed in two contests that went into additional time (OT). They play their final recreation towards each other on March 30 earlier than probably assembly in a first-round playoff collection.

Both Clubs Have Good Offense and Goaltending

The Devils have a 3.45 targets for per recreation performed (GF/GP), which is tied for fifth within the league with the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers, whereas the Rangers rank twelfth with a mean of three.33 targets for per recreation performed. The top-six forwards of each franchises are as thrilling to observe as some other staff within the NHL. New Jersey additionally obtained higher offensively on the commerce deadline by buying Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks. He was one of many extra sought-after gamers in the course of the deadline interval and can assist his new staff in the course of the postseason.

The Devils’ addition of Vitek Vanecek has impacted their success this season. They struggled with inconsistent and unreliable play on the goaltending place earlier than this 12 months. Vanecek has appeared in 47 video games, has a .909 save proportion (SV%), and a 2.50 goals-against-average (GAA) for New Jersey. The Rangers’ Shesterkin has a .914 save proportion in 52 appearances, together with a 2.55 goals-against-average. Both groups have wonderful offensive playmakers, however the goaltending could possibly be simply as thrilling to observe in the event that they meet in the course of the 2023 Playoffs.

The aggressive rivalry has reignited this 12 months between the Devils and Rangers and would escalate additional in the event that they meet in the course of the 2023 Playoffs. Considering the breakout common season New Jersey is having, 2023 could possibly be the primary of a few years the golf equipment cross paths in the course of the postseason. If the adversaries have a collection that goes seven video games, it should assist additional rekindle a rivalry. A playoff collection between them “would be one of the best matchups of the postseason” in keeping with Flannery. Given their shut proximity, historical past, and competitiveness of video games already performed on this 12 months, I’d concur along with her evaluation.


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