New Jersey Devils Move On to Round Three

Are the Philadelphia Flyers really that good? Or were the Pittsburgh Penguins just that bad? That’s the question everyone’s asking after the Flyers were thrown out of the playoffs by the New Jersey Devils in just five games.

In last night’s elimination game, the Flyers looked defeated from the moment they stepped onto the ice, and it was a far cry from the highly aggressive, high scoring team that we saw in the first round. And once the Devils got two shots past Philly goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, the Devils pretty much had it in the bag.

You can credit the 27 saves that Martin Brodeur made for the win, or maybe the fact that Claude Giroux, their best player, was out on a suspension. But what really made the difference in this game was that the Devils knew what they had to do: play a completely different game than Pittsburgh did.

While Pittsburgh was all about engaging in the emotional side of the game with Philly, getting into scrums after the whistle and giving hits that walked the fine line of the penalty box, New Jersey would have none of it. They were extremely focused and if one teammate forgot that for just a moment, there was another one there to pull him away, reminding him what they were to do. It was what’s needed against a team like Philly, and it was enough to effectively shut them down.

The New Jersey Devils have been to the Stanley Cup Finals seven times, and have won six. The last time was in 2003 when Martin Brodeur carried his team to the title, and his performance this season has made all the retirement talk long-forgotten.

“I don’t think he was ever a guy that was going to retire,” said Devils’ forward David Clarkson. “He’s won us some games in the playoffs. He’s held us in. He’s exciting to watch.”

While New Jersey has moved on, they still don’t know who they’ll face — the Washington Capitals, or the New York Rangers. That Game 7 will be played on Saturday and the winner will move on to face New Jersey.

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