Rangers-Devils: A Simmering Rivalry Gets Some Playoff Heat

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will face off in the NHL playoffs for the first time in 6 years.

Rangers-Devils: A Simmering Rivalry Gets Some Playoff Heat

Ken Daneyko and Mark Messier were close friends when they were growing up in Edmonton. Messier, who was older than Daneyko by a few months, always supported his younger skating friend. He ended up being in Daneyko’s wedding party and their friendship continued even after they reached the N.H.L.

Messier was not traded until 1991 when he joined the Rangers.

Daneyko said that when he moved to New York everything changed. He was a three-time Stanley Cup winner who played his entire 20-year NHL career with the Devils. All friendships had to be put on hold, because there was too much at stake. We hated them and they hated us. And the fans also don't get along.

The rivalry between Rangers and Devils was not always a blazing fire. It took time for the rivalry to grow and it cooled down when one team was lagging, but there has been a simmering fire waiting to be ignited.

Patrick Kane said that the rivalries begin in playoff series. He won three Stanley Cups with Chicago, before being traded to New York Rangers. I know that these teams haven’t played each other in the playoffs for some time, but there is still a strong rivalry.

Last time these two teams met in the postseason the series ended with Adam Henrique's overtime-winning shot for the Devils. Henrik Lundqvist was beaten by the Devils in Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals on 25 May 2012. Chris Kreider was playing in his final game as a rookie. He was thrust into the N.H.L. after joining the Rangers from Boston College. He scored five goals over 18 games in the playoffs without ever playing a regular season game.

Kreider did not recall that three of these goals were against the Devils when asked to describe the series.


He said, 'Losing'. "That's all I can remember. It's totally different now. Different teams, players. It's apples versus oranges.

Kreider will return to the stage with new cast members on Tuesday at the Prudential Centre in Newark.

Gerard Gallant said that the Rangers coach believes it will bring back the rivalry. It's going to be a great rivalry.

Hudson River separates the two teams' stadiums, which are separated by approximately 14 miles. Fans of both teams mix at games, bars, workplaces, and even within families. Both fan groups invade each other's stadium. The last time they met in Newark in March, the entire building was Rangers blue.

Erik Haula, Devils forward, said: 'If it were up to me, I'd have a few less in this room.' But it makes the game intense for everyone.

The Devils and Rangers have met six times during the playoffs. The Devils won two of the most recent matchups in 2012 and 2006, while the Rangers took the first three. This includes the best of them all, the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.

Daneyko remembered that there were Hall of Famer's all over the ice. It was one of best playoff series ever in hockey history.

Howie rose yelled, "Matteau! Matteau!" It was one of the most memorable broadcasting calls ever made in professional sports. Stephane Matteau’s series-winning goals will forever be remembered on WFAN Radio. Rose then shouted that the Rangers still had "one more hill to conquer, baby," meaning the Stanley Cup Finals, in which they defeated the Vancouver Canucks and won their first title since the 1940s.

Rose stated that a lot was riding on this goal, other than the Stanley Cup.

Rose, a Rangers fan from 1966, when he was 12 years old, said that in order to fully appreciate the significance of this goal, one must look back in time, well before the Devils moved from Colorado in 1982, after originally starting in Kansas City, Mo. The Islanders, a new team to the New York metro area ten years earlier, won four Stanley Cups in a row from 1979-80 until 1982-83. Islanders fans repeatedly chanted '1940' to irritate Rangers fans.

Rose stated that it was beyond comprehension what Rangers fans felt today. That's what happened. Then, another team comes to New Jersey. And the last thing that a Rangers' fan would tolerate is for another team to come to this market, and to step over and on top of the Rangers.

The Rangers defeated the Devils seven times in their first meeting in the 1992 first round of the playoffs. In 1994, the Devils were a much improved team and had a different color scheme to match up with the Rangers.

The Devils of this year and the Rangers from 1994 both had 112 points. The 1994 Devils won 47 games and scored 106 points. This is the same as the winning total of the Rangers. Because the teams are so evenly-matched, betting outlets made the Rangers as the only 'underdogs' who were paid at even money in the playoff field.

Jimmy Vesey said, "I like them all, but I am sure they'd all say the exact same thing." Vesey was a Rangers' winger last year who played for Devils. It's playoffs. There are no friends and it's serious.

Messier predicted that the Rangers will win the 1994 Madison Square Garden Game 6, even though the Devils had won the Game 5. He then backed up his prediction in one of the greatest team sports performances ever. Messier's assist on Alex Kovalev’s goal gave the Devils a 2-0 lead with less than two minutes left in the second half. Messier added three of his own goals in the third.

Daneyko referred to the Devils' 1995 championship as a learning curve. Did we tighten our heels, squeeze our sticks and let the Rangers run? Yes.'


The Devils were trailing 1-0 with less than 10 seconds left in Game 7, when Valeri Zelepukin scored. This was the second time that the Devils had tied the game after removing the goalie. Both teams battled through a tense, scoreless first extra time. Matteau, who was behind the net, and his teammate Esa Tikakanen, who drove up in front of the goal, then slipped the puck into the net off Martin Brodeur’s glove at 4 minutes 24 second in the second overtime, prompting Rose's chilling cry.

Sal Messina's booth partner Rose wondered, while watching the replay of the game on their monitor, if it might have been Tikkanen that scored the historic goal. Rose swallowed silently.

Rose recalled, 'I was thinking, Oh no! I will either be the biggest laugh in N.H.L. Rose remembered, "I'm either going to be the biggest laughingstock in N.H.L. history or I'm going have to go into studio and overdub 'Tikkanen Tikkanen Tikkanen'!

On Tuesday, new players will join Matteau and Messier in the pantheon of rivals, as well as Brodeur, Lundqvist, Henrique, Daneyko and Brodeur.

Maybe Jacob Trouba of the Rangers will deliver a devastating hit to an opponent unaware, just as Scott Stevens with the Devils. Kane or Jack Hughes could score a hat-trick in their first playoff game with the Rangers. Maybe a name that no one expected, such as Matteau in the year 1994, will be part of new history.

Or Vesey.

Daneyko stated, 'I anticipate it will be a classic.' I think the seven-game series will be epic.