Devils' Roller Coaster Ride Ends
New Jersey is home to some of the biggest and fastest roller coasters in the world. Jersey’s hockey team, the Devils, must have taken some inspiration from this and had a season that was nothing short of a roller coaster ride. On the day after the New York Rangers eliminated the Devils from the playoffs it’s now time to reflect on the season that could have been, but never was.
The Devils came into the year with high hopes after reaching the Stanley Cup Finals last year and were considered by many to have a great chance of returning. They started the season hot, winning their first three games, and had many people saying, "Zack Parise? Who needs him?" This high would be followed by a low as they would lose their next four.
The Devils would survive this losing streak and it seemed like they were heading in the right direction only to receive a nasty bite from the injury bug. The injuries to Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk would prove to be extremely detrimental to the Devils’ play. While the two players were out with injuries New Jersey went a miserable 3-15-5 including a recent 10-game slide that all but took them out of the playoff race.
Even with the injuries, the Devils had a final chance to make the playoffs late in the season after wins against the Flyers and Panthers. The stage was set for the Devil’s to climb out of their hole, a chance to harness some magic that took them to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. All they had to do was beat the Rangers, a team they have so often tormented in games like these. Just when it seemed like the Devils were finally getting the momentum back with the return of Kovy and two straight wins, they get dismantled at the hands of their archrivals and fall out of the playoffs a fall that mirrors Jersey’s tallest coaster, the famed Kingda Ka.
It was a disappointing end to a season filled with highs and lows, which Martin Brodeur summed up best after Saturday’s game, “It’s frustrating, the situation we’re in. It’s a game of winning and losing streaks, if we could have limited one or two of those we would have been right in it, but we’re not." The Devils are now reduced to playing spoiler for now, and you can bet if they have a chance to eliminate the Rangers from playoff contention of Saturday, they will play harder than ever.