The Kings and Devils squared off in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, with the Kings winning the series and the Stanley Cup 4-2. As a fan, it’s hard to still not be disappointed with the outcome.
I was at Game One of the series and I will always remember that odd man rush late in the third period where Mark Fayne was breaking down the slot, had the puck coming his way and couldn’t push the biscuit into an open net. We’ll never know what would have happened, but that could have completely changed the outlook of the series.
It was tough not to feel helpless after Game Two. Ilya Kovalchuk hit the crossbar in the final seconds and it felt like the longer the game kept going, the lesser their chances were at tying the series. The Devils worked so hard to get each goal in those first two games and when Jeff Carter scored on such a seemingly harmless play, everyone’s heart sank. They played much better in Game Three but the Kings buried all of their chances, putting the Devils on the brink.
I’ll remember the way they fought back, though. They finally had a lead in Game Four, but it lasted all of one minute. It was hard not to think it was over at that point. The Kings could do no wrong. When Adam Henrique scored though, it gave life to the fanbase. If NJ could defend their home ice, all they had to do was win one more game in LA and they could be Stanley Cup Champs. The sight of Zach Parise scoring the opening goal in Game Five, letting out a primal scream and pounding the boards with his hand will always have a place in my mind. So will the memory of Bryce Salvador pumping his fist after his fourth goal of the playoffs.
I’ll remember the run up to that point. Game Six certainly went to the wayside, but it was a great season. Coming off a year where they missed the playoffs, it was an unexpected ride to the Finals, which made it all the more enjoyable. Finally getting that first round monkey off their back in sudden death fashion, dominating the rivals from Pennsylvania and the Henrique winner against New York provided moments that Devils fans won’t soon forget.
I’ll remember getting to hear Doc Emrick’s voice every night. It was a shock to all Devils fans when he stepped away from the Prudential Center microphone after the 2010-11 season. After hearing he would still do national games, I half-jokingly said to a friend of mine, “Well, we’ll just have to get to the Stanley Cup Finals so Doc will call all our games”. Turns out we got it a round earlier as well with Emrick calling the Rangers series. I’ll always appreciate that because he was and always will be the voice of the New Jersey Devils.
Yes, we are reminded of disappointment when we see the Los Angeles Kings take the ice tonight in Newark but we should also reflect on the great moments in that series and recall the wonderful memories that led up to that point.