For the first 13 seasons of Scott Niedermayer’s career, he wore the red and black of the Devils. The defenseman won three Stanley Cups, was named an All-Star three times and won the Norris Trophy there before signing with the Ducks in 2005.
Niedermayer returns to New Jersey tonight for just the second time since he left, as Anaheim is in town to start its four-game road trip. His first game as the opposition in the Garden State came on Feb. 8, 2008, a 2-1 Ducks win. But like tonight’s game, that contest took place at the Prudential Center, which opened its doors in 2007.
“That really changes it,” said Niedermayer, who played home games at the Continental Airlines Arena (now Izod Center) while with the Devils. “It was a new rink in a totally new place (Newark opposed to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford). "I didn’t have to go the visiting room that I’ve never been in. It was a different experience playing there.”
Before tonight’s game, the Devils will honor their 2003 Stanley Cup championship team. Niedermayer and New Jersey won that title by defeating the Ducks and his brother, Rob, in seven hard-fought games. The brothers have now switched sides.
After spending six seasons in Anaheim (the last four alongside his older brother) Rob signed a one-year deal with the Devils this offseason. But he won’t get a chance to face Scott and the Ducks tonight, as he has been hampered over the last week by an upper-body injury.
“It would have been a new page to have gone through that and looked at a jersey that I wore for so long and see him in it,” said Scott. “It’s gone alright for him there. He has found a place that he seems to be fitting in. That is the most important thing.”
With the Ducks (6-7-2) looking to get back to the .500 mark, the team hopes it can continue its recent success against the Devils tonight. Scott Niedermayer has not lost to his old team yet, as Anaheim has won three straight in the series (its longest winning streak against New Jersey), with their last meeting being a 4-3 Ducks win on Jan. 11 at Honda Center. The Devils last win in the series was Jan. 24, 2003 in Orange County.