Devils vs. Rangers: Since the New York Rangers defeated the Devils en route to winning the 1994 Stanley Cup, the teams have faced each other only twice – the Rangers prevailed in five games in the 1997 Conference Semi-finals and the Devils swept the Rangers in the Conference Quarter-finals in 2006.
Quite a change: They met just two years ago -- New Jersey swept the Rangers in the Conference Quarter-final, but both the Devils and Rangers rosters have had about a 50% makeover since that meeting. Devils: F Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta, John Madden, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jay Pandolfo and Sergei Brylin along with D Paul Martin, Colin White and G Martin Brodeur remain. Rangers: F Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, Petr Prucha, Blair Betts, Ryan Hollweg and Colton Orr along with D Michal Rozsival, Fedor Tyutin, Marek Malik, Jason Strudwick and G Henrik Lundqvist remain. Rangers F Scott Gomez played for the Devils in that series, while Devils' goaltender Kevin Weekes was a member of the Rangers.
Ranger domination: The Rangers got 15 of a possible 16 points against New Jersey in 2007-08, but missed securing home-ice advantage for the playoffs by just two points to New Jersey.
Devil of a start: Rangers' C Scott Gomez (27th overall in 1998) and LW Brendan Shanahan (2nd overall in 1987) were both New Jersey first round selections. Gomez, signed by the Rangers as a free agent on July 1, 2007, had seven points (1-6--7) in eight games against his former team in 2007-08.
Tale of two goaltenders: New Jersey G Martin Brodeur and New York Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist sit atop the Eastern Conference among goaltenders in both goals against average and games played. Brodeur finished the season with a 2.17 goals-against average in 77 games played while Lundqvist finished second with a 2.23 goals-against average in 72 games played -- Lundqvist led the League in shutouts with 10 while Brodeur recorded his 96th career shutout surpassing 1920s-30s star George Hainsworth (94) for second place on the all-time list.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
NHL Playoff Appearance: 19th
Stanley Cups: 3 (2003, 2000, 1995)
Last Playoff Series Win: 2007 (Conference Quarter-Final vs. Tampa Bay)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 22-15
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 117-96
July 13/07 -- Named Brent Sutter head coach.
Oct. 27/07 -- Devils played their first game at their new home arena, Prudential Center in Newark.
Nov. 17/07 --
At Philadelphia, G Martin Brodeur
became just the second goaltender in NHL history to reach the 500-victory mark, joining Patrick Roy
(551). At 35 years, six months, and 12 days old, he was the youngest to accomplish the feat, and in fewer games (908) than Roy, who reached 500 victories in his 933rd game at 36 years, two months, 22 days.
Dec. 5/07 --
Devils RW Jamie Langenbrunner
was named the eighth captain in team history.
This is the Devils' 19th playoff appearance and 11th straight, but their first at Prudential Center.
Devils G Martin Brodeur
has appeared in four Stanley Cup Final series, winning three. The only goaltender in this season's playoff field to approach that number is Detroit's Dominik Hasek
, who has played in three.
In The Family: Brent Sutter
becomes the third member of the family to coach in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Brian Sutter
compiled a record of 28-40 in playoffs with St. Louis, Boston and Chicago, while Darryl Sutter
went 47-54 in 101 games with Chicago, San Jose and Calgary.
Fathers and Sons:
LW Zach Parise
, 23, led the Devils in goals with 31 last season and surpassed that figure in 2007-08 (32). Zach’s father, J.P. Parise, played 13 seasons in the NHL with Boston, Toronto, Minnesota, the NY Islanders and Cleveland.
In 2007-08, his 14th NHL season, Brodeur marked a 10th consecutive campaign in which he played 70 or more games, extending his NHL record. The Devils' defensive unit has been in the Top 10 in the League every full season of Brodeur's career; Brodeur's first campaign of at least 40 appearances was 1993-94.
With 44 wins, this was Brodeur's third consecutive season of 40-or-more victories (only Jacques Plante
and Terry Sawchuk
have as many as three) and the seventh of his career.
LW Patrik Elias
holds the franchise records for playoff goals (35), assists (69) and points (104).
A Rare Breed:
In his 13th season, all with the Devils, F Sergei Brylin
owns the second-longest tenure on the current Devils roster, trailing only Martin Brodeur
. With Brodeur, he is the only current Devil to have been a member of each of the club's Stanley Cup winners (1995, 2000 and 2003).
That's A Stretch:
The Devils ran off a season-high nine-game winning streak from November 17-December 7. That stretch surpassed the team's longest in all of 2006-07 (5-0-0, Dec. 1-9), and was its longest since an NHL-record 11-game stretch closed out 2005-06.
NEW YORK RANGERS
NHL Playoff Appearance:
51st (3rd consecutive)
4 (1928, 1933, 1940, 1994)
Last Playoff Series Win:
2007 (Conference Quarter-Final vs. Atlanta)
All-Time Playoff Series Record:
All-Time Playoff Game Record:
G Henrik Lundqvist
defeats the Islanders and becomes only the second goalie in NHL history to begin his career with three consecutive 30-win seasons (Ron Hextall
was the other, 1986-87 to 1988-89).
Against the Penguins, Lundqvist records his 100th career victory in his 187th career appearance, breaking the team record Mike Richter
had set in his 198th game.
Apr. 3/08 --
Lundqvist sets a franchise record by appearing in his 71st game of the season. He finished with 72.
Drury's A Winner:
It should come as little surprise that Rangers C Chris Drury
led the team in game-winning goals this season with seven. He had nine with Buffalo last season before adding three in the playoffs . . . Drury also has four career playoff overtime winners, tying him with teammate Jaromir Jagr
, the Devils' Jamie Langenbrunner
and the Sharks' Jeremy Roenick
for second in the 2008 playoff field behind the seven overtime winners scored by Colorado's Joe Sakic
. . . In addition to a 2001 Stanley Cup ring with Colorado, Drury helped pitch the Trumbull (Connecticut) team to the Little League World Series title in 1989, helped Boston University win the NCAA championship in 1996 and won the Calder Trophy in 1999.
LW Brendan Shanahan
(650 goals) and RW Jaromir Jagr
(646) rank first and second, respectively, among active NHL players in all-time goals scored.
A Ring To It:
Each of the Rangers' top four scorers -- Scott Gomez
, Jaromir Jagr
, Chris Drury
and Brendan Shanahan
-- has won at least one Stanley Cup. They have eight Cups between them (Drury 1, Gomez and Jagr 2 apiece, and Shanahan 3).
Defense by Committee:
The top foursome of Michal Rozsival
, plus youngsters Dan Girardi
, Marc Staal
and Fedor Tyutin
, have helped the Rangers cut their goals-against from last season's 216 to this season's 199. The Rangers have not allowed fewer than 200 goals in a full season since the 1971-72 season (192 goals-against in 78 games).
The Rangers shut out the opposition 12 times this season, one short of the club record set by the 1928-29 Rangers across a 44-game schedule.
Over the concluding 30 games of the regular season, the Rangers went 18-5-7. Last season, the Rangers went 17-6-5 over their final 28 regular-season contests.