New Jersey Devils clinch playoff berth for first time in six years


Taylor Hall celebrates his goal

Ian Massaro, Reporter

  On April 5, 2018, the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League clinched a playoff spot for the first time since the 2011-12 NHL season. The game was held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The final score was 2-1, Devils.

  Devils fans all over have been overjoyed about their appearance in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and show it confidently. Sophomore and avid Devils fan, Andrew Mazurek, speaks on how exciting it is to see the Devils in the playoffs after a long wait.

  “It’s amazing. We’ve just come a long way and the rebuilding paid off,” Mazurek said, “I can’t wait. I’ve been a Devils fan all my life, all 15 years so I was just really ecstatic when we clinched and I couldn’t believe that after all this wait, the playoffs are finally here.”

  Mazurek feels with certainty that this playoff appearance will boost confidence in the locker room for the remainder of this season and beyond.

  “[The appearance] will have a huge impact because we will just have something to feed off of for next year,” Mazurek said “It will allow us to make it year after year.”

  Many people have different opinions about the Devils clinching a playoff spot. New York Rangers fan, sophomore Joshua Rubinstein, explains why he believes Devils fans are taking their appearance a bit too far.

  “The Devils haven’t been in the playoffs in six years,” Rubinstein said. “When a fanbase hasn’t been there for six years, they all get crazy. I think they’re overreacting a little bit.”

  “I think, realistically,” Rubinstein said, “if you’re not a Devils fan and biased towards them, I think they’ll lose in the first round of the playoffs. Taylor Hall really carried their team this year so without him, they wouldn’t have made the final wild card spot.”

  Taylor Hall, the Devils’ leading point scorer, had 93 points at the end of the 2017-18 NHL season, while the Devils’ second leading point scorer, Nico Hischier, ended his season with 52 points. The point gap between Hall and Hischier is the largest in the NHL.

  But as other fans bash the Devils’ franchise, Devils fans believe that they are still one of the most powerful teams in the NHL. Fans like freshman Spencer Cohen have waited a long time through a rigorous rebuild and wish to proclaim the Devils’ success.

  “As a Devils fan, it’s truly exciting to see a team be successful after years of rebuilding,” Cohen said, “I got a glimpse of the Devils’ 2012 playoff berth and to see the boys competing with the best of the best is fun to watch. All Devils fans can agree that there’s no better feeling than getting to compete for the most prestigious trophy in sports (The Stanley Cup).”

  Similar to Mazurek, Cohen explains what the secrets are to ensuring the Devils have a successful playoff run and strong confidence going forward.

  “Getting the young guys on the team to gain playoff experience is the most important part of this postseason for the Devils,” Cohen said “Win or lose, the Devils will go home with confidence that they can achieve a playoff position next year.”

  The Devils, although eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, are now a confident team. They have finally made it to the postseason after a long wait and will now be back and ready to compete next season.