NEWARK, N.J. --
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur
called winning the 2000 Stanley Cup one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.
He certainly has a point. After rallying from a 1-3 deficit to the Philadelphia Flyers
in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Devils earned their second Cup following a grueling six-game series with the Dallas Stars
. The Cup Final produced four one-goal games, including one triple overtime contest and a series clinching double-overtime thriller in Dallas.
The Devils paid tribute to that 2000 team Tuesday prior to the opening faceoff against the Stars at Prudential Center. Forwards Jay Pandolfo
and Patrik Elias
, defenseman Colin White
and goalie Brodeur are the four remaining current players who were part of that championship. Jamie Langenbrunner
, who was a member of the Stars that season, said the ceremony marked "a bittersweet night, that's for sure."
"It was probably one of my favorite ones to win," Brodeur said. "It's hard to say a favorite because winning is winning, but that year we had a change of coaches, had to come back from a 1-3 deficit and then had those OT games against Dallas. It felt like we earned that Cup."
The 1999-2000 season was a chaotic one for the Devils. With eight games left in the regular season, General Manager Lou Lamoriello fired coach Robbie Ftorek
and replaced him with assistant Larry Robinson
. The Devils beat the Florida Panthers
in the season finale and again in the first round of the playoffs, earned a six-game victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs
and then scored that monumental seven-game series triumph over the Flyers in the conference final. After the Flyers had taken the fourth game of the series, it was reported that Robinson kicked a garbage can before speaking to his players.
"We had a great meeting," Brodeur recalled. "Knowing Larry, he's not a guy who reacts like that a lot and he wasn't asked to react like that, but I think everyone kind of felt for him, how much he cared. The biggest thing he said was 'You guys have tried it your way for a while and now I'm telling you what to do and just do it and you'll see, we'll be good.'
"It was an impressive speech and came from the heart and you could see he was upset about the situation -- we responded really well."
The Devils entered the Cup Final a lower seed than Dallas but had home-ice advantage after having earned one more regular-season point than the Stars. In Game 6, Jason Arnott
's one-timer in double overtime proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory.
Langenbrunner, the current captain of the Devils, smiled when told of the pending celebration to honor the 2000 team.
"I played one game in that series and that was hard in itself," recalled Langenbrunner, who missed five games with a sprained knee. "You play all year to get to the Final and in Game 6 of the (Western Conference) semis, I got hurt.
"We were facing a (Devils) team that I think we underestimated," he continued. "But we learned very quickly that they were a great hockey team and they had that look in their eyes and that feeling that they weren't going to be beat. You saw that in their semifinal-round series when they beat Philly. We got into some tight games with them that could have gone either way, but they were great and well deserving of that Stanley Cup."
Contact Mike Morreale at firstname.lastname@example.org