2020 is almost here, and the New Jersey Devils are hoping their bad seasons end with a new decade. A new decade could show signs of a team changing, and the New Jersey Devils could be one of them. First, they must fix their issues starting with a new head coach. Then, they must show us that they can play better to keep up with other teams. With only 3 days left, let’s look at the top 10 best wins for the New Jersey Devils in this decade. See the Devils battled to their first playoff win in 6 years.
How did New Jersey get into trouble early in the series?
The Devils were finally back in the playoffs since 2012. Fans felt really eager, as they wanted to see Devils fight their way to a 4th cup. However, the Lightning wanted to eliminate us as quickly as possible. For the first two games in Tampa, they really meant it. The Lightning, in both games 1 and 2, scored 5 goals and they looked to come back to Newark in hopes of making an easy sweep by winning the next two. The Devils had to win this next one in order to gain some momentum. On April 16th 2018, Game 3 was held in the Prudential Center in home.
Did the Devils fight the storm that is Steven Stamkos and the Lightning in this game?
While there was no scoring in the 1st period, both teams had very good chances to strike. Towards the end of the first though, the Devils dug themselves in trouble. Andy Greene went to the box for slashing, giving the Lightning a big power play. Just 42 seconds in the 2nd period, Alex Killorn received a pass from Nikita Kucherov who put it past Cory Schneider to put the Lightning up 1-0. The Devils allowed the Lightning to score again in 3 games straight. They knew that this crowd did not come to see a playoff loss after 6 years of fighting to get here. Taylor Hall knew he had to do something and he did. Later in the 2nd period, Hall took a big shot that beat Andrei Vasilevskiy to tie the game 1-1.
The arena was alive and for the first time, I felt the atmosphere that was playoff Devils hockey. But back to the game. The Lightning needed another big opportunity and once again, a Devils mistake gave them one. Blake Coleman went off for holding. The Lighting captain Steven Stamkos took advantage and sniped one past Schneider to put the Lightning up 2-1 in the 3rd. Now, the Devils faced another challenge, they needed to find a way to get over that challenge quickly. Thankfully it was the Lightning’s turn to feel the pain of getting a big penalty. Cedric Paquette went off for tripping. Then the Lightning made the biggest mistake of the game. They also got a too many men penalty, now, New Jersey had a 5 on 3. This Devils team, of course, was beautiful with 5 on 3’s.
What happened next after the Lightning took those two penalties?
Will Butcher cashed in on the 5 on 3 with a wrist shot that beat Andrei Vasilevskiy, tying the game at 2. The Devils now needed to take advantage of the momentum they had in this game. They needed to strike at a big time, and newly acquired Stefan Noesen made one of the biggest goals of the decade for the Devils. Under 7 minutes to go. Hall sees Noesen, passes the puck to him, and Noesen buries the one timer to put the Devils up 3-2. The crowd, with myself included, were so giddy after Noesen scored.
Did the Devils survive one more push by the Lightning
There was still time left for the Lightning to tie it. The Devils battled with them with a minute left. With Vasilevsky going to the bench, and the Lightning on the power play, it seemed they were in the perfect position to tie the game. Then Blake Coleman took the puck, and fired it into the empty net, making it 4-2 Devils. I was so excited that I screamed. “We’re not getting swept” over and over, I was that happy. Just for good measure, Ben Lovejoy 20 seconds later, also put the puck in the empty net, icing the game for the Devils. The Devils not only won this game, but also avoided getting swept. They also got back in the series 2-1. However, there is one more thing to discuss, and it’s not good.
Did the Devils take full advantage of this momentum and used it to win the series?
Unfortunately, after the Lightning saw they lost Game 3, they had to take back Game 4, and they did. Despite a very good start for the Devils, including a Kyle Palmieri power play goal, the Lightning took momentum and never let it go for the rest of the series. The Lighting scored 3 unanswered, and won Game 4. In Game 5, despite the Devils making a close 2-1 game, Ryan Callahan eliminated New Jersey with an empty netter. Despite those last two games, this was a major win for the Devils. They finally got to feel what it was like to be in the playoffs again. If your team is suffering through the same problem New Jersey faced, just remember this. You should always believe in your team, and eventually you’ll break through your own playoff drought issues. There two more games that are better than this one, check again to find out which ones.
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