New Jersey Devils: Momentum from 2012 NHL Playoffs ECF Win Over New York Rangers Gone?
The New Jersey Devils started the lockout-shortened 2013 season riding the momentum of a thrilling 2012, but it quickly dissipated as they collapsed down the stretch.
New Jersey defeated the New York Rangers in overtime to advance to the 2012 Stanley Cup, banishing demons from 1994 and adding another banner to the Prudential Center rafters. The Devils won a double-overtime Game 7 in Florida to open the postseason. They went on to eliminate two division rivals in one playoff, and players like Adam Henrique, Bryce Salvador, and Stephen Gionta emerged. Things were looking up for the Devils, and their successful playoff run clearly rolled into the next season.
After former captain Zach Parise signed elsewhere when his one-year RFA contract expired last offseason, the Devils answered the many questions brought on by his departure with an excellent start. Unfortunately, their chemistry and strong play eroded as the season went on.
Martin Brodeur missed time and Johan Hedberg proved to be an inadequate replacement in the starting role. Ilya Kovalchuk succumbed to injury and the offense floundered in his absence. The end of the 2013 season proved the Devils have essentially become a two-man show, and perhaps erased all momentum from a fantastic 2012 playoff run.
Going forward, the Devils know they can beat anyone after their 2012 Stanley Cup run, especially their division rivals. The roster remains largely the same, but they do need to add pieces. Questions about the future remain, and the momentum they entered the season with is gone, but the experience Devils players gained over the past two seasons should stay with them heading into next year.
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