THE SHOCKS KEEP on coming in the Stanley Cup playoffs as the New Jersey Devils came up trumps in a six-match series to eliminate the New York Rangers.
22-year-old Adam Henrique was the overtime hero for the Devils as they clinched a 3-2 win to advance to a finals match-up against the L.A Kings.
It seems that every ice hockey team that receives the favourites tag does not last much longer as the Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins found out to their cost.
The Devils, who missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996 last year, had too much pace and fore-checking power against a New York side that looked fatigued after coming through two seven-game series against Ottawa and Washington.
Henrique’s goal came just over a minute into overtime after a scramble in front of the net.
New Jersey had taken a 2-0 lead through Ryan Carter and Ilya Kovalchuk but were clawed back as the Rangers rallied.
The Devils were indebted to their 40-year-old netminder Martin Brodeur, who produced a series of crucial stops to take his side into, and beyond, sudden death overtime.
Kovalchuk, the Devils’ leading scorer, declared that his team’s march to the final ‘means so much’ to him. He added:
It’s a great feeling. Last year was a tough one, but this year was totally different. We played well all year.
“The first round of the playoffs was a little tough but after that, I think we figured out our game and what it takes to win.”
The first game of the best-of-seven final against L.A is in New Jersey.