The Best Hits Made by Scott Stevens’ Time as a New Jersey Devil

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Eric Lindros (r.) is down on the ice after a vicious Scott Stevens hit during Game 7 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals while the teams mix it up (l.) after the incident. (GEORGE WIDMAN/AP)

Scott Stevens, a name that makes NHL players scared and running. NHL fans know him as one of the most physical defensemen in NHL history. New Jersey Devils fans love how physical he was, and he embodies how the early Devils teams used to play. The number of players he hit would result in many penalties and suspensions from the NHL Safety Department. Here are some of his famous hits that you don’t or do know.

Shane Willis

We start with one of two hits from Scott Stevens from the 2001 playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes. While this series isn’t remembered a lot by fans, these two hits by Stevens will bring some familiarity to fans. The first hit came late in Game 2 of the series, with under 17.2 seconds left to go in the game

Stevens saw Hurricanes RW Shane Willis trying to grab the puck, so Stevens went and decked him. Willis remained down on the ice as the Hurricanes players went after Stevens. Willis was bleeding after the hit, making the trainers come out to tend to him. After the next puck drop, both teams started a little bit of pushing and shoving. Shane Willis had to sit out for the rest of the series. Though this hit was brutal, the very next game featured another incident involving Stevens.

Ron Francis

The very next game, Game 3, Stevens struck again with another vicious hit. Early in the 1st period when killing off a Colin White hooking penalty, the puck came to Hurricanes C Ron Francis on a dump in which Scott Stevens then lays him out. 

After the hit, Ron Francis tried to get back to the bench, but he was so dizzy and woozy from the hit, he needed the ref’s help to get back to the bench. Francis, like Willis, suffered an injury after the hit. Both those hits prove one thing. Stevens can go after more than one player on a team when both teams are looking to win in the playoffs.

Eric Lindros

The hardest hit on this list comes from two of the best NHL players at the time. While Eric Lindros and Scott Stevens have had their fair share of scuffles before, this hit shows how intense the Devil-Flyers rivalry was such intense in the early 2000s. This hit was also special because it came at a crucial time. The Devils-Flyers playoff series in 2000, was coming down to the wire.

The Philadelphia Flyers were on the cusp of blowing a 3-1 lead in the series. It all came down to a Game 7 to determine who would play in the Stanley Cup Final that year. Scott Stevens knew that if he wanted the Devils to go to the finals, he had to make one big play. When Eric Lindros took the puck and started skating down the blue line, Stevens put up his arm and buries Lindros with it.

Some of the Flyers tried to go after Stevens, but the refs separated them. Lindros stayed down on the ice until trainers came on and took him to the locker room. Lindros did suffer a concussion after the hit. While this hit didn’t exactly end the Flyers season, this, along with the Patrik Elias goal late in the game, showed why both Scott Stevens and Patrik Elias were essential for the quest 2nd cup.

Paul Kariya

This moment will make you feel good if you are a fan of the New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, or a fan of any NHL team. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were looking for their first cup. The Devils were looking for their 3rd. This final was filled with so many moments that make it a classic Stanley Cup Final. But the most memorable moment came in Game 6. Scott Stevens, who was frustrated that the Ducks were winning this game, likely wanted to let out his frustrations on the Ducks.

The Ducks were leading 4-1 in the 2nd period when Ducks LW Paul Kariya was passing the puck to a teammate. Stevens then lowered his arm and knocked the wind out of him. Kariya laid down on the ice unable to move, but just minutes later, Kariya came to and went back to the locker room. 

But to the surprise of everyone, including Stevens, Kariya came back from the locker room, ready to play. Then what happened later in the 2nd period made the roof of the Arrow Pond of Anaheim explode. With just 3 minutes left in the 2nd period, Kariya put up a slapshot that beat Brodeur, giving the Ducks a 4-1 lead.

While the Devils won their 3rd cup the very next game, I have to give credit to Paul Kariya. A player coming back from a vicious hit by a vicious player like Scott Stevens, then scoring a goal, later on, is impressive. That’s a moment that no NHL fan will ever forget. There is one more hit to look at, and it comes from the run of the 1st Stanley Cup in the franchise.

Vyacheslav Kozlov

The final hit on this list, and just like the other two earlier, this hit comes from a Cup run. The Devils played an excellent Detriot Red Wings team in the 1st Stanley Cup Final. In-Game 2 of that series, Devils needed to keep momentum in the game after the John MacLean goal. Scott Stevens knew this and decided to give Slava Kozlov a little message. When the Red Wings were moving the puck, a pass was given to Kozlov. 

Then Stevens went right to Kozlov and smashed right into him. Kozlov stayed down on the ice and teammate Viacheslav Fetisov to carry him back to the bench. Kozlov, like Kariya, did come back in the game, though, though he didn’t score a goal afterward. Despite Detriot being so good, it wasn’t enough as the Devils swept the Red Wings for their first Stanley Cup. That hit and that series as such a particular time for the Scott Stevens, the Devils, and their fans. 

To Sum Up What Scott Stevens Has Done…

All these hits you read are part of a player that will always be a Devils legend. His ability to strike at the right time to help the team win was terrific. To see the Devils draft another player with his physical asset of Scott Stevens would be amazing to see. But for now, these hits, as well as many others, will be moments that Devils and other NHL fans will never forget.

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