The 10 Most Defining Devils Wins this Decade: Henrique! It’s Over!

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 25: Adam Henrique #14 of the New Jersey Devils celerbates after scoring the game winning goal in overtime against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers to win Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final and advance to the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on May 25, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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. It is New Year’s Eve, so let’s finish off this list of the 10 Defining Devils wins. Adam Henrique gave the biggest win for the Devils, not only in this decade but in 18 years.

How long did Devils fans have to deal with this historic Rangers moment?

Well, we’re here at the end of the decade, and we’ve seen a lot of big wins so far. However, there is one win that is so memorable we have to go back to 1994, to discuss how giant this win was for the Devils. Many Devils fans always have that one Ranger fan we know that brings up that Stephan Matteau goal in game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference finals. Many fans of the franchise had to suffer through the agonizing pain of seeing the Rangers win the cup. For 18 years we had to deal with the famous call by Howie Rose, and Rangers fans always like to bring it up. Also, it was a chance to get revenge for Mark Messier’s hat trick in that Game 6. So let’s see how we went from Matteau to Henrique.

How the Devils and Rangers both battled in this game at first?

In the 1st period, the Devils and Rangers were looking to grab an early lead. Even though the Rangers got an early PP, they weren’t able to capitalize. The Devils, who got the first goal in Game 5, also scored first in Game 6. Wouldn’t you know it, the first goal was scored by Game 5 hero, Ryan Carter. Just 10 minutes in, a failed chance that Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier had was buried in by Carter, to put the Devils up 1-0. Then 3 minutes later, it would be the Devils’ turn to have a power play. Ruslan Fedotenko went to the box for tripping. Let me tell you, this next goal was one of the best power-play goals I have ever seen.

When all 5 players on that power play received a pass, it would be Ilya Kovalchuk that would finish the beautiful setup to put the Devils up 2-0. The Devils once again were in this situation, just like in my other articles, they are up by 2 goals. They cannot let their opponents back in this game, if the Devils hold on and win, they’re going to the Stanley Cup Finals. This isn’t dramatic enough, so let’s focus on the Rangers’ minds after that second goal.

Who would become the temporary Mark Messier in this game?

When the Rangers were down in this situation before, they had that guarantee in 1994 which led to Messier’s hat trick in Game 6. While nobody ended up scoring a hat trick in this game, something had to be done. Someone needed to step up and take control and that someone being Ryan McDonagh. While he didn’t score in Game 6, he had two assists that lead to a tie game. The 2nd period showed why the Rangers wouldn’t give up against their rivals so easily. When McDonagh made a pass behind the net to Fedotenko who was able to beat Martin Brodeur, he put the Rangers on the board. Almost 4 minutes after the Fedotenko goal, the Rangers tied this game at 2 with a Ryan Callahan goal. Callahan tipped a Dan Girardi shot that beat Brodeur.

This is a life lesson for any team. When you are a team that is up by a lot of points no matter what the sport, you have to defend the lead as hard as you can. If the game’s momentum changes, it won’t take long for your team that you love and support to start losing. Your team can unravel in front of your own eyes, and while the Devils were able to win these games, it shows that later, your team is incapable of winning big games. Devils teams in the future need to learn how to defend their leads with hard-earned defensive shifts, but back to this game.

How did Adam Henrique become a major hero again in OT?

Since nobody scored in the 3rd period, it was down to overtime to decide what would happen next in this series. This would be the biggest opportunity for us to get the goal we dreamed of since that 94 series loss. There would be only 1 person to do it, and this person made himself a Devils legend by doing it. In these playoffs, I have never seen someone clutch like Adam Henrique, and now these last two wins proved why. Doc Emrick was about to make his version of the Howie Rose call.

When overtime started, it did not take long for the Devils to get rid of an 18-year-old ghost. When a scramble came in front of Henrik Lundqvist, everyone was trying to fight for the puck. When a Kovalchuk pass reached Henrique, he put the Devils in the finals and made every Ranger fan in the world cry. Henrique put the puck in the net. The team, the fans, and me at home, began to celebrate, we finally beat the Ranges at their own game. We had suffered through so much pain, so many times where the team in Blue had beat us in playoffs. This moment is treasured by every Devils fan I know. Congratulations to Adam Henrique for taking the crown for helping secure the top 2 wins of the decade.

What have we learned in these final 10 days of the decade with this list?

The New Jersey Devils are a team that really can surprise people. The team this season has had such many bad moments, it’s no wonder so many fans can feel upset. It’s nice to let go of this season and look back on what the Devils did during the past. Reliving good memories instead of watching bad moments now helps see how a team has performed. While we await the Devils’ next chapter in the 2020s, it’s nice to know that these 10 memories will never ever leave us, and we will always hold on to these recollections for the rest of our lives as Devils fans.

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