The 1987–88 Devils garnered the first winning record in the franchise's 14-year history. On the final day of the regular season, they were tied with their nemesis, the Rangers, for the final playoff spot in the Patrick Division. After New York defeated the Quebec Nordiques 3–0, all eyes were on the Devils, who were playing the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Devils were trailing 3–2 midway through the third period when John MacLean tied the game, and with two minutes left in overtime, he added the winning goal. Although the Rangers and Devils both finished with 82 points, the Devils had one more win, sending them to the playoffs. The team made it all the way to the conference finals, but lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
We were 1 game away from the Stanley Cup Finals and for a laughing stock organization it was the first significant step forward.
It had no bearing on what came afterwards. There is no Butterfly Effect here. The next year they were mediocre and after that were average until Lemaire came along. Any impact MacLean's goal may have had was long gone by then. Remember, Stevens couldn't wait to get out of here.
BTW, you sig is a joke as 27-41-12 hardly qualifies as winning.
No Maclean goal, it is possible there is no Arnott, Friesen or even Marshall goals.
Johnny Mac's goal broke us away from the Mickey Mouse organization label and into a competitive organization.
How do you figure that? The 88-89 they were 27-41-12. That isn't competitive. After that they hovered around .500 until Lemaire came. Bringing in Lemaire is what made this a competitive organization. It isn't like they stayed in NJ because of that.
there were way more differences between the two teams.
the maclean coaching stretch will merely be a bad memory. bad seasons are all the same, but memorable goals are all different. so when the devils have won some playoff rounds over the next 3 years, this will just feel like a bad dream - especially if whoever the devils draft at #4 turns out to be an excellent player. and if you as a fan dwell on the negative, why are you bothering to watch sports at all?
do you think flyers fans are sitting around remembering 2006-07 right now?
i wasn't a fan in 88 either, fwiw.
No, but if you asked them what they think of Ken Hitchcock I am sure you would get a negative response.
Perhaps the biggest goal in Devils franchise history.
Really? Jason Arnott disagrees. So does Jeff Friesen. If they had won the Cup in 88 you might have a point. Remember, they did not make the playoffs in 89. And after that they would sneak in with a low seed and get blitzed by Mario and the Pens. There was no sustained success for another six years.
It was a lot of fun but I don't think it even gets in the conversation.