by Ron Spence
The New Jersey Devils have won three Stanley Cups and each in a unique fashion.
In the 1995 playoffs, they established an NHL record by posting 11 road victories in one playoff season.
During the 2000 post-season, they trailed the Philadelphia Flyers three games to one, but rebounded to win three straight games and the series. This was the first time in an NHL Conference Finals that a 3-1 deficit was overcome.
During the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs, neither the Devils nor the Anaheim Mighty Ducks lost a home game during the finals. Fortunately, New Jersey had the home ice advantage and won Game 7 at home. This was the first time since 1965 that every finals game went to the home team.
New Jersey’s first Stanley Cup followed the 1995 lockout-shortened regular season. New Jersey defeated Philly 4 games to 2, and then swept Detroit. This was the first championship trophy to be won by a New Jersey team, and Claude Lemieux was voted the Conn Smythe winner.
The 2000 Cup was preceded by a coaching change - Robbie Ftorek was replaced by his assistant Larry Robinson.
The Devils beat the Panthers, Leafs and then Flyers – and it was during the latter series that the infamous/ famous Scott Stevens hit on Eric Lindros took place.
New Jersey then beat the incumbent Dallas Stars in six games to win their 2nd Cup, and Scott Stevens won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
The New Jersey Devils finished 2nd in the East during the 2002-03 season, only behind the President’s Trophy winners, the Ottawa Senators.
The Devils beat the Sens in seven and then played another seven game series against Anaheim. Although the Ducks lost, their goalie – Jean-Sebastien Giguere – was awarded the Conn Smythe. This was the first time since Philly’s Ron Hextall had won the Smythe against the powerhouse Oilers.