Being a resident of New Jersey I have experienced firsthand just how heated the rivalry between the two teams has been and still is. The last time our two teams faced each other in the playoffs was 2008 when the Rangers beat the Devils 4-1 in the First Round. So much has changed in those four years for both teams, and somehow, a lot of things have remained very much the same.
Devils that played in the 2008 Playoffs: Elias, Parise, Salvador, Zubrus, Zajac, Clarkson, Greene, and Brodeur.
Rangers that played in the 2008 playoffs: Dubinsky, Callahan, Staal, Girardi, and Lundqvist.
Although we are certain to disagree about a lot of things in this upcoming series, we can all agree on one thing; four years is too damn long for these two teams to have not met in the playoffs. Whichever team managed to proceed to the Stanley Cup Finals will know that they got there through their most bitter rival in the modern game and it will make the victory that much more sweet.
Although many fans of both teams will deny and be disgusted by the thought, the Rangers and the Devils are very similar teams in terms of the style of their play, their culture of defensive hockey, and their high work ethic. I foresee an intense, close series that will almost certainly be filled with fantastic goaltending, big hits, vigilant defense, and plenty of drama.
No matter what team wins four games first I hope that we all enjoy a fantastic series. I also sincerely hope that we all get to see consistent officiating. Enjoy the rest of your weekend guys, Monday can’t come soon enough.