New Jersey Devils Fans Putting the Advantage back into Home Ice

By Steve Palumbo

The New Jersey Devils are finally starting to understand what home ice advantage really means. It wasn’t that long ago a playoff game at the Prudential Center meant a loss in a less than capacity building.

Before the 2012 playoffs, the Devils had been 3-7 at the state of the art Prudential Center since relocated there for the started of the 2007-08 season.

My how things have changed. This certainly isn’t the case during the Devils latest run towards another Stanley Cup title. In fact, once tickets for round three were released to the public they sold out in under ten-minutes and at that point The Devils opponent had yet to be decided.

Having been the road team in each of the three playoff rounds hasn’t been a problem for the Devils to this point. They have managed to split the first two games in all three only to return home to a raucous and extremely loud home crowd.

The difference has been so great that those who have been around the New Jersey organization since they moved into the new building have commented several times on just how deafening the “Rock” has been throughout this postseason.

After winning game 2 in New York, the Devils once again return home where they are 4-1 so far in the playoffs. Having wrestled home ice advantage away from the New York Rangers and the Devils and captain Zach Parise hope to use the abnormally vocal home crowd to grab the series lead.

“Even our first game against Florida, despite that we ended up losing that game, I think the atmosphere was great,” Parise said during a media conference call on Thursday.

“I think we played pretty well there (Prudential Center) all year, but just our fans, for whatever reason, you can tell how excited they for where we’re at right now and in the first round and the second round they made the building as loud as I’ve ever heard it. That goes a long way. We’ve all been saying it too. We need them to be even louder and get more involved in this round.”

Personally, I feel that game three of a tied series is almost as important as a series clinching game. The winning percentage for teams that win game 3 speak volumes and are too hard for to ignore. Chew in this for a minute,  the last 24 Stanley Cup Finals in which one team led the series 2-1, only three teams have come back to win the series. That is a winning percentage  of .875.

Because game 3 is going to be nationally televised on NBC, the two teams have an extra day off before resuming the series on Saturday. This helps both teams regroup and refocus before really digging in to the meat of this series.

How will game 3 against the Rangers turn out? Hopefully with more of the same effort displayed from New Jersey in game 2, another three goals and of course an insanely loud crowd to support the Devils from horn to horn.

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