The NHL is headed for some dark times ahead. The season is in jeopardy and the sport is headed towards a spot on the endangered species list. And despite all the negative talk, the 2011-12 season was one to remember for the New Jersey Devils. There certainly was no shortage of drama for the Devils as they marched towards a conference title and a birth in the Stanley Cup Final
So, let’s forget all about labor negotiations and lockouts for just a moment. Instead let us enjoy a look back at the ten best playoff goals from the Devils incredible run to the Stanley Cup Final.
10. It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no it’s Super-Clarkson! David Clarkson gets a free ride on the cross bar after scoring the go-ahead goal with under ten minutes to go in game 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Devils would hang on to win the game. It was the first of three game-winning playoff goals for Clarkson.
9. Patience pays off for Patrik Elias against the Florida Panthers. Elias scores the first goal of the game, the series and the playoffs on his 36th birthday. Not bad for an old man.
8. Adam Larsson scores to turn the Conference semi-finals around. With the Devils trailing the the Flyers 1-0 in the series and game 2, Larsson buried his first career playoff goal to even the game. The Devils never looked back, winning the game and the series.
7. Ryan Carter saves the Devils in game 5 against the New York Rangers. After blowing a 3-0 lead in a pivotal game 5, Carter comes through in the clutch. The Devils would hold on for the win and a 3-2 series lead.
6. Ilya Kovalchuk returns against the Flyers. Kovalchuk snaps the 1-1 tie in game 3 against Philadelphia with his second point in 20 seconds. All this after having sat out game 2 with a bad back.
5. Zach Parise gives the Devils some life. Parise makes his own luck to beat Jonathan Quick and send the Stanley Cup Final to a sixth game.
4. Adam Henrique scores a late goal in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to prevent an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Kings. Henrique kicks the puck onto his stick to bury his latest big playoff goal for New Jersey.
3. Travis Zajac forces game 7 against the Panthers. Down but not out, Zajac comes through for the Devils at home. With New Jersey trailing Florida 3-2 and in danger of another first round flop, Zajac finds a way to keep his team alive.
2. Adam Henrique scores the game 7 overtime winner to help New Jersey finally advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This was the first of many memorable moments for Henrique. The rookie redefined the word clutch with is 2012 postseason performance.
1. Adam Henrique does it again! Henrique will go down as one of the biggest heroes in New Jersey Devils history. His series clinching OT goal over the New York Rangers cemented him in that spot for eternity. I still get goose bums watching that video.
Did I miss any? Let me know what goals you think deserve honorable mention!
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