The red and blue jerseys in the crowd ran together like water paint as fans, some maybe even friends or neighbors, sat next to each other, shared armrests and cheered as loud as they could for their respective teams at Prudential Center. The chants from the sellout crowd of 16,514 were persistent and loud, with "Let's go Devils" most often drowning out an upstart "Let's go Rangers." The play on the ice was fast and intense. The goalies were magnificent. The ending was dramatic. From 1992-2012, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers had one of the best rivalries in the NHL. It had cooled down a bit in the past few seasons but re-awakened with a bang Thursday in the Devils' 4-3 shootout win. "This was something else tonight," said Devils forward Brian Boyle, who scored the game-tying power-play goal at 11:54 of the third period and the game-deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout. To hear Boyle talk about the atmosphere in the stands and the play on the ice matters because he is one of the few players on either team who has truly experienced the intensity of this rivalry, which was heightened by six Stanley Cup Playoff series between the teams from 1992-2012. Boyle played for the Rangers against the Devils in the 2012 Eastern Conference Final, won by New Jersey in six games. The Rangers players remaining from that series are goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 45 saves Thursday, and defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal. The two remaining Devils players from that series are center Travis Zajac and defenseman Andy Greene. New Jersey hasn't made the playoffs since, which is why the rivalry has been somewhat quiet until now. "We want to put ourselves in position where maybe we could have a series like that [against the Rangers]," Boyle said. "How fun would that be? That would be nuts. That would be great. But the game tonight, before Christmas, we're not even halfway through the season, you heard the building. It was great." The players new to the rivalry soaked up the intensity.
Improvement by Devils reinvigorates rivalry with Rangers
NHL.com | Dec 22