5. Rangers versus Devils
These two teams are only about 10 miles away from each other, all it takes is a short drive through the Lincoln Tunnel. That is one of the reasons why this rivalry is so heated. Every game between these two doesn’t go well. It is an all-out battle.
Let’s start with the ’94 Conference Finals. Devils up 3-2 in the series, Captain Mark Messier comes out and guarantees a Rangers win. Something that was never done before. Most thought he was crazy. He backed up his statement though, as he scored a hat trick in Game 6 to tie the series. In Game 7, the Rangers were 7.7 seconds away from from heading to the Stanley Cup Finals when Valeri Zelepukin tied it to send it into overtime.
In the middle of the second overtime however, history happened. Howie Rose witnessed the whole thing:
“Fetisov for the Devils plays it cross-ice, into the far corner. Matteau swoops in to intercept. Matteau behind the net, swings it in front. HE SCORES! MATTEAU!! MATTEAU!! MATTEAU!! STEPHANE MATTEAU!! AND THE RANGERS HAVE ONE MORE HILL TO CLIMB, BABY! BUT IT’S MOUNT VANCOUVER! THE RANGERS ARE HEADED TO THE FINALS!!!”
The Rangers went on to win their first Cup since 1940. The rivalry continued to pick up intensity after that. While the Devils experienced great success in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, that doesn’t mean the games weren’t exciting and great.
The Rangers and Devils met again in the Conference Final in 2012, this time the Devils came out on top in 6 games when Adam Henrique scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
They have shared some great history in their time. Every game is a battle. The players hate each other, the coaches hate each other, the fans hate each other. It all makes for some good hockey. The near-future should be no different.