When we last left off, we were headed towards a climatic Game 6 showdown between the NY Rangers and the NJ Devils.  The Devils needed a win to clinch the series and move on to the Stanley Cup, while the Rangers desperately needed a win to stave off elimination and force a Game 7 back at Madison Square Garden.

There were plenty of storylines that hung over the impending game.  First there was "The Declaration of 1994", by Mark Messier, which led the NY Rangers to the Stanley Cup.  The fact that Game 6 was being played on the 18th Anniversary of "The Declaration" was also played up by the media and fans alike.  Lost among the hoopla, however, was one stat that was brought up at the beginning of the series, yet quickly swept under the rug:  Teams that won consecutive Game 7's in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup were a combined 0-38 in the Conference Finals.  Unfortunately, this statistic would come back to haunt the NY Rangers as the NJ Devils took the fight to the Blueshirts yet again.  This time, however, the Rangers didn't have the luck of Mark Messier by their side as the Devils eliminated the Blueshirts in overtime, 3-2, to win the Eastern Conference title and a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Of course the win by NewJersey was awesome for Devil fans as they've felt like step-children throughout the whole series, enduring taunts and wisecracks from Ranger fans.  On the flipside, being eliminated from the Stanley Cup was a crushing blow for the Rangers fans.  With all of the top seeds already eliminated, this was supposed be smooth sailing to the Cup for the Rangers.  So when things didn't materialize as expected for the NY Rangers, this was a brutal slap in the face for the team and its fans.  And as a result, the streak remains intact.... and the NJ Devils get to host the Stanley Cup against the L.A. Kings beginning this Wednesday.

As for the NY Rangers, today was "Break-Up Day", where the players and coaches cleaned out their lockers and reflect on the season and what could have been.  While they won't get a chance to raise the Cup at Madison Square Garden this season, they have no reason to be ashamed of their efforts.  They had a great run and have a lot to look forward next season.

In the meantime, there's one last round of hockey to be played:  The Stanley Cup starts on Wednesday and we'd love to see the Cup raised here on the East Coast!  As always, we'll carry every game (w/audio)!   Good luck to the NJ Devils!


No comments: