Didn't have time for a full series recap, so three moments that stick out in the Devils history of the 2nd round.
1994 Devils vs Bruins Game 4: Devils trailing series 2-1
After, rookie goalie Martin Brodeur played exceptionally well in his 1st ever playoff series with .933 save percentage in a 7 game victory over the Sabres (by the way, Hasek put up a .950! save percentage that series), Brodeur found himself on the bench after two games of the second round. A 6-5 OT loss had put the Devils in a 2-0 series hole, and it was up to Chris Terreri to get them out of it going to Boston.
The Devils and Terreri won game 3, so it only made sense to go with Terreri for game 4. Down 3-2 going into the 3rd period, the Devils were on the verge of falling into an insurmountable series deficit. The Devils tied the game on a goal by 24-year-old Ben Hankinson in his playoff debut (Hankinson would go on to play 27 more NHL games, and that would be his last NHL goal scored). The Devils needed a Bernie Nicholls goal with under 8 minutes left to tie the game once more. That would be the last of regulation as game 4 would head to OT.
Overtime had been unkind to the Devils up to this point -- a 4OT loss to the Sabres in game 6 of round 1, and a 6-5 loss in game 2 against Bruins. And their 3rd OT game was not going well. Through 15 minutes the Bruins were dominating the play with the Devils unable to get the puck out of their own zone. The Devils OT luck would change on a designed play between Holik and Richer off a faceoff outside the Bruins zone. Holik won the faceoff forward and a speedy Richter got the puck and flew past the defenders for the breakaway OT goal. It's the kind of goal you just can't imagine being scored in today's NHL. Since there's no YouTube video of it, it's the kind of goal you'll either have to imagine or can still picture in your head.
The Devils would go on to win the next two games and advance to face the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. In game 1 of that series, Stephane Richer would once again score the OT winner on a breakaway. The Devils playoff run would end in heartbreak, but it would have even been more disappointing if they lost game 4 to the Bruins and never met the Rangers.
"I won once in overtime here before," Richer said of an overtime winner he had for the Canadiens in the 1991 playoffs in a series the Bruins captured in seven games."I've had a tough time on breakaways, but I went to the forehand this time and it was a great feeling to score. Sometimes you need a good goal to get your confidence back."
2001 Devils vs Leafs Game 4: Devils leading series 2-1
Tie Domi wanted revenge against Scott Niedermayer. He was going to make sure of it and wasn't afraid who knew it. The anger stemmed from a Niedermayer cross-check to Domi's face in game 2 of the series. Apparently, Domi made it known he was ready to end Scott's career because of it. Niedermayer would say that he was watching Tie every time he was on the ice with him but with under 20 seconds left and turning up ice far away from the puck, there was no way he could anticipate Domi coming.
One of the great 'what if' moments in NHL history for me is what would have happened if Scott Stevens wasn't caged up in the penalty box while the incident took place. Would he have killed Tie Domi that night? Would all 4 officials struggle to separate him from Domi. Would that have been his last NHL game ever?
Domi's life would be spared that night, but he would be suspended for the rest of the playoffs, and an additional 8 regular season games because the Leafs did not advance past the second round. But first he had to cry them crocodile tears during a press conference because he had to explain to his poor son what 'suspended' meant. It was just so sad because Tie was playing his best hockey of his career, and now he wouldn't get to help his team anymore. That's all he wanted to do. Apparently his best hockey was 3 shots in 8 games. Poor guy.
Niedermayer would miss the rest of the series and game 1 of the Conference Finals.
"Disgusting," said forward John Madden. "Irresponsible, a person like that shouldn't be given the right to run around with a hockey stick in his hand and play in the league," Madden added
''More than scary,'' said Lou Lamoriello, the Devils' general manager. ''Disgrace is the word.''
''He said he was going to take a suspension on me,'' said Niedermayer
''It's pretty bad when a guy says he'll get him all series long,'' Gomez said. ''He's made some comments in front of the bench.''
2003 Devils vs Lighting Game 5: Devils leading the series 3-1
This really was a forgettable series. I don't wish for anyone to rewatch any game of this series. For me, I'll remember it for two things: Scott Stevens taking a disturbing slap shot to the head, and then being heroized when he returned the next game to score a goal in just under 28 minutes of action. Looking back, that's probably one of the dumber things anyone can do, and ultimately, it played a big part in his career ending so early. The second thing would be one of the great goal reactions in Devils history.
Grant Marshall might be one of the Devils best deadline acquisitions ever. Given to the Devils for a 4th round pick by Columbus, Marshall had a ton of playoff experience with the Stars but amazingly had gone his first 59 playoff games without a goal. That drought would last 6 more games before scoring his 1st playoff goal in game 2 of this series. Then the next game he would score again. And then there was Marshall, playing 32 minutes on the top line, of course, in the 3rd OT scoring what would undoubtedly be the biggest goal of his career. That reaction man. Jubilation, euphoria, bewilderment. There's a stupid saying, 'act like you've been there before', well there was no mistaking that Marshall had never been "there" before. He'd never been anywhere remotely close to "there".
MSG director did such a brutal job with the OT winning goal, so for better video of Grant's reaction, go to the link below. Seriously, why would you possibly think after the Devils win the series in the 2nd longest game in franchis history that we should hold a shot on John Grahame for 10 seconds?
"It took forever to get a first goal, 66 games, and now I got my first game winner to go to the Conference Finals. My life is wonderful."
Edited by devilsrule33, 11 May 2014 - 10:25 PM.