sounds like you feel the same way I do about Carolina. I'm sure most fans agree with us that they just don't want any part of this team. To me that puck Henrique missed (which he hardly misses) off of that nice pass from Elias which was a sure goal to have Carolina take the puck and score right off of that is the perfect example of Devils/Carolina. It is summed up in that one play and that's the way the 2002 and 2009 playoffs went against them. (06 game 2 was a tough loss, but iin all fairness I think Carolina was just better), but 02 and 09 they robbed the Devils in both years (where all 4 devils losses in each series should have been wins)
I do remember the series you referred to. It was 99, they were up 3-2 on the penguins and lost game 6 in ot and then lost game 7 at home. They were also a number 1 seed that year (it was the third straight year they were a 1 seed and they lost early in the playoffs). I always felt one of the big reasons they came up so short in 97, 98 and 99 as 1 seeds was not having Claude Lemieux, I think he made that much of a difference. It's a big reason they won in 95 and 2000 (his last 2 years as a devil), with him i think they finish the Avs in 01 and probably win one more cup in the 90's during that 97-99 stretch they kept losing early in the playoffs.
It seems like you feel the same way about all of the match ups and I was thinking the same thing about Marty with Montreal, only difference was the Pens (but you did make some good pts about the refs and everything, but don't forget devils did beat them in 95 and 2001(mario's comeback year). 99 was tough, but 99 was just like 97 and 98 where they just didn't show up in the playoffs. (and again i think good old #22 not being there had a lot to do with that). I think the Pens series would be like last year's flyers series.
Jets are a great choice, especially since they won't be in our conference for much longer and devils never played Atlanta since I think they only made the playoffs once.
I also don't want the Rangers or Flyers this year like you said. I couldn't handle seeing the devils lose to them if they did lose.
I don't mind this discussion as I don't believe in these superstitiions and whatnot. That said, I do think certain teams, for whatever reason, make good and bad match ups, have our number, etc. Because of that I would say an emphatic NO to the Penguins. anyone remember playing the Penguins in the playoffs in the '90s? I can't remember which year it was but we had something like four or five goals waived off in a close scoring seven game series. It felt like the Penguins had greased the refs nicely. That was a long time ago but it still burns. With the NHL bound to play "be nice to Crosby" I feel like we would end up in the same damn position or something similar.
Other teams I DO NOT want--
Hurricanes-- We will play them without passion.... look at the other night. I only saw the last period, but we only really came on in the last few minutes.
Rangers and Flyers-- for the conference okay, but not early in the playoffs. If we want a cup we need to avoid long, exhausting series. These two teams will epitomize exciting series, but it felt like the Devils were exhausted last year after this two series. So if we are going to face them let it be only one and only at the end, once most of the playoff slog is done.
Teams I'd like to play--
Jets- I love a matchup against the Jets. This is quite likely to be the last year this could happen and my wife is an ex-Thrashers fan. However, they are hardly a lock on the playoffs.
Sabres and Habs- these match ups sound fun to me. One would be a chance for Marty to squash his childhood team and the other is simply a matchup we haven't seen in ages.
Islanders- of all the local teams this is the one I'm pulling for. It would be good for both franchises to kindle a real rivalry and if a Devils and Islanders rivalry began it could erode the Rangers position in the area. What better payoff could a Devils fan hope for than to cannibalize the Rags arrogant bandwagon jumping fan base?
As for the rest, most of them I'm neither excited nor concerned about..... but I havent thought too much about many of these match ups honestly.