The New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers officially start their series in just a few hours. It will be the first time fans see the Battle of the Hudson since the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals when the Devils took the series in six games.
The Devils put together their highest point total in franchise history this season, surpassing the iconic 2000-01 team that recorded 111 points. In the 2022-23 NHL season, ‘Jersey finished with 52 wins (new franchise record) and 112 points, finishing second in the Metropolitan Division behind the Carolina Hurricanes.
As for the players, four different skaters recorded 70+ points, with superstar Jack Hughes leading the way, becoming the single-season points record holder for the organization, usurping legend Patrik Elias’ previous best of 96 points as Hughes recorded 43 goals and 56 assists in 78 games played.
Despite a historic performance in the regular season, the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs won’t be a walk in the park. The New York Rangers had a strong season in their own respect, putting together 47 wins and 107 points, finishing third in the Metropolitan.
The Rangers were also one of the most active teams at the NHL trade deadline, acquiring notable skaters Patrick Kane, Vladimir Taresenko, and Tyler Motte (again).
All of this goes without even mentioning the difference in playoff experience between these two teams, as the New Jersey Devils are lacking mightily in this category with just a handful of players playing at least one series in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers are coming off a 4-2 series loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago and have remained the majority of that core.
With all of this being said, let’s take a look at the 3 X-Factors for the New Jersey Devils as they get ready to take on their historic rival, the New York Rangers in what could be one of the most exciting first-round matchups in Stanley Cup Playoffs history.