The New Jersey Devils are a professional ice hockey team based in the Continental Airlines Arena of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. They play in the National Hockey League (NHL). Originally founded as the Kansas City Scouts in 1974, the team moved to Denver, Colorado two years later and became the Colorado Rockies before moving to its current location in 1982.
After failing to make the playoffs their first six seasons in New Jersey, the Devils made their first playoff appearance in 1987-88. After several early playoff eliminations, as well as losing a seven-game Eastern Conference Final to their archrival New York Rangers in 1993-94, the Devils won their first Stanley Cup in 1994-95, defeating the Detroit Red Wings in four games straight. They have since won two more Stanley Cups, in 1999-00 and 2002-03, as well as making another Finals appearance in 2000-01.
2001-present: Perennial contender
The team fell short of winning their third Stanley Cup in 2001, losing to the Colorado Avalanche in seven games. In 2002, they were thought to be contenders once again, but lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round. In 2003, they returned to the top, beating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the Stanley Cup, four games to three. Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Ken Daneyko, and Sergei Brylin each won their third Cup and Jeff Friesen, Jamie Langenbrunner, John Madden, and Brian Rafalski were all important contributors.
From their first Stanley Cup insurgence in 1995 all the way to the present day, the New Jersey Devils have remained amongst the best teams in the NHL, second perhaps only to the Detroit Red Wings in regular and post season success. This was a team Wayne Gretzky had once dubbed a "Mickey Mouse" organization—by the end of the nineties, the Great One had changed his tune and proclaimed the Devils to be the best defensive team the NHL had ever seen.
Gomez tied 2003-04 Art Ross Trophy winner Martin St. Louis in first for league assists with 56.
1994-2000: Rise to Glory
Between 1990 and 1993, the Devils made the playoffs each year, only to bow out in the first round each time. In 1994, the Devils started gaining respectability in NHL circles. A team headlined by defensemen Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer; Claude Lemieux, Bobby Holik, Valeri Zelepukin, Stephane Richer and John MacLean on offense; and goaltenders Martin Brodeur and Chris Terreri steamrolled through the regular season, finishing with the league's second-best record and the franchise's first 100-point season. The Devils took the New York Rangers, the only team with a better record during the regular season, to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals before losing the seventh game in double overtime.
Despite the setback, the team returned to the Eastern Conference Final during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 NHL season and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, four games to two. The team went on to win its first-ever Stanley Cup, sweeping the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings, who then had the longest Stanley Cup drought at the time, in four games. The win was accomplished amid rumours that the team would move for the third time in their history. 
The Devils missed the playoffs the following season, '95-96, and failed to live up to expectations throughout the remainder of the 1990s. In 1999-00, however, they reached the top again. Stevens, Holik, Lemieux (who had returned in 1998 after winning another Cup with the Colorado Avalanche), Niedermayer, and Brodeur, all integral parts of the 1995 team, were backed up by new blood that the Devils had acquired in the intervening five years: Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott, Alexander Mogilny, and rookies Scott Gomez, Brian Rafalski and John Madden. Gomez was awarded Rookie of the Year. They defeated the Dallas Stars in six games for the Stanley Cup.
Shortly before winning his second Cup, McMullen sold the team to YankeeNets for $175 million. YankeeNets then owned the New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets. The new owners largely left control of the Devils in Lamoriello's hands.
In July 2005 it was announced that head coach Pat Burns would not return for the 2005-2006 season after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time in little more than a year. Larry Robinson, the Devils' coach from March 23, 2000, to January 28, 2002, returned as head coach in the 2005-2006 season, but he resigned on December 19, 2005, due to high stress. Lamoriello moved down to the bench to be the interim coach, and would remain as head coach for the 2005-2006 season .
The Devils also started 2005-2006 without two defensive stalwarts: Scott Niedermayer signed with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and longtime captain Scott Stevens announced his retirement on September 6, 2005. Stevens' #4 jersey was retired by the Devils on February 3rd, 2006. John Madden, Alexander Mogilny, Brian Rafalski and Colin White were all named alternate captains, but no official captain was named. Once Patrik Elias returned from his bout with hepatitis, he was given his position as alternate captain back, and many suspect he will eventually be named the next captain.
The Devils posted an eleven game winning streak to close out the season, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in come-from-behind fashion on the final day of the season. Combined with the then division-leading Rangers ending the season on a five game losing streak, the Devils won the Atlantic Division for the sixth time in franchise history. The win was made all the more amazing considering just three weeks prior they were falling out of playoff contention. Also of note during the last game was Brian Gionta setting a new team record for goals in a season with 48; his two goals in the game broke Pat Verbeek's previous record of 46.
On April 29, 2006, the Devils won their first round Stanley Cup playoff series against the New York Rangers, four games to none, extending their winning streak to fifteen games. The series was marked with strong play and several outstanding performances from goalie Martin Brodeur. The Devils season ended on May 14, 2006 with an Eastern Conference semifinal Game 5 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes (who would go on to win the Stanley Cup against the Edmonton Oilers) by a score of 4-1. By winning Game 4 against the Hurricanes, Martin Brodeur is now in third place for all-time NHL playoff wins.
Edited by Outburn08, 03 August 2006 - 10:41 PM.