The Devils hope to make some more memories over the next two weeks, but for now we look at the top 10 moments in franchise history:
10. May 6, 1988 -- The Devils were angry following a 6-1 loss to the Bruins in Game 3 of the Wales Conference finals. They trailed Boston two games to one in a series they would lose in seven games. Coach Jim Schoenfeld confronted referee Don Koharski in the hallway. Words were exchanged and Koharski fell. Believing that Schoenfeld pushed him to the ground, Koharski threatened to report the Devils coach to the league. Schoenfeld’s response has become infamous: “You fell, you fat pig. Have another donut!”
9. March 17, 2009 -- The lede to Metro’s story the morning after Martin
Brodeur became the NHL’s all-time wins leader read: “Ten, nine, eight
... Hall, Esposito, Plante, Sawchuk, Belfour, Roy. Finally, fittingly,
at one, there was Martin Brodeur.” No goaltender has won more games or recorded more playoff shutouts. None will surpass the
8. Sept. 3, 1991 -- History shows that it was the St. Louis Blues that
birthed NHL’s era of rebuilding on the fly with the acquisitions of
Brett Hull, Adam Oates, Curtis Joseph, Al MacInnis and then-burgeoning
Devils power forward Brendan Shanahan. An arbitrator awarded Scott
Stevens to the Devils in compensation for the loss of Shanahan, and by
doing so, provided the franchise its cornerstone as it developed into a
7. April 29, 2006 -- The 2006 Eastern Conference quarterfinals offered an
opportunity to put a demon to rest as the detested Rangers had ended
Devils’ playoff campaigns the first three times the Hudson River rivals
had met. The No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup was an utter domination as the Devils
routed the Blueshirts, 17-4, in the four-game sweep.
6. May 25, 2012 -- Rookie center Adam Henrique slams a loose puck in the
crease into a half-empty net and sends the Devils to their fifth Stanley
Cup finals appearance in 17 seasons. That the goal ended the season of
their hated rivals, the New York Rangers, was all the more delicious.
5. June 9, 2003 -- Mike Rupp might be persona non grata in New Jersey now
after jabbing Martin Brodeur in the face during the 2012 Eastern
Conference finals. But fans of a certain vintage will remember it was the
then 23-year-old Rupp who scored the only goalnecessary in the Devils’
3-0 win over Anaheim in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
4. April 3, 1988 -- The Devils were living with the unwanted label of
“Mickey Mouse franchise,” attached to them five years earlier by Wayne
Gretzky following a 13-4 thrashing administered by the Great One’s
Oilers. But on this night, after John MacLean scored the game-winning
goal in the 4-3 OT win in Chicago, the “Mickey Mouse franchise” clinched
its first ever playoff appearance.
3. June 10, 2000 -- Snickers abounded in the four seasons following the
Devils’ first Cup. That’s what happens when you miss the playoffs, lose
in the first round in consecutive years and are summarily dismissed from
the playoff proceedings in five games of the second round. But Jason
Arnott’s goal in the second overtime of Game 6 in Dallas won the
franchise’s second Cup and silenced critics.
2. June 20, 1995 -- The Devils officially won the Cup four nights later, but Scott Stevens ended the series for all intents and purposes with a
devastating open-ice hit on Slava Kozlov. Television cameras caught
Stevens telling an unseen Red Wing player that he was “next” on the
future Hall of Famer’s hit list.
1. June 24, 1995 -- You always remember your first. Exactly 393 days after
experiencing the most devastating loss in franchise history, the Devils
celebrated their most unforgettable victory, a 5-2 win over the Red Wings in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals at the Meadowlands.
Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.