After what seemed like a long lull in the playoffs, the final berth was finally established for the Eastern Conference Finals. The Rangers finally punch their ticket with a win over the Capitals. No shame on the Caps, they actually played some excellent hockey, unseating the Cup Champion Bruins before falling to the Rangers.
Despite unquestioned skill, they still face question marks regarding their inability to go deep in the playoffs. They have some roster turn-over going into the off-season. Tomas Vokoun is likely to get resigned because better goaltending may have made the difference for them this year. In addition to him some significant players may be leaving. Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble, Dennis Wideman and Mike Green is going RFA. The Capitals will likely be looking for some tweaks in the off-season.
The Rangers are the sole strong regular season team remaining. Other juggernauts that surrounded them in the regular season standings are all long gone at this point. The Canucks, Blues, Penguins, Predators, Flyers, Red Wings and Bruins.
The Devils are a team that surged late in the season. Winning their last six games and carrying that momentum into the playoffs to dispatch the Panthers and the Flyers. Little more this and that after the jump.
Torts does his post game after the Rangers win.
Coach DeBoer talks about preparation for either the Capitals or the Rangers after the practice on May 11th. The Devils have had the luxury of a bit of rest before hand.
The Rangers took the regular season match up with a 3-2-1 record over the Devils.
The East will deliver two previous Cup Champions, both teams have numerous Cups in their history. The last one for the Rangers was in 1994. The Devils had their success in the dead puck era and engraved Stanley 3 times: 1995, 2000 and 2003.
Martin Brodeur is the only remaining Devil to have his name on the Cup from all three previous wins for the franchise. At the age of 40 some questions will remain if he can hold up in the Conference finals. He has let in some soft goals previously but the Devils have responded in front of him to earn it back.
Despite the Rangers better paper factor, don't count the Devils out, they are rested and fully capable of taking out a tired Rangers team, if only Marty has that little bit of gas left in the tank to rise to elite play.