Ticket prices are climbing as the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils meet for a spot in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Final, with seats offered for an average of almost $800 on the secondary market.
The Rangers host the Devils in the first two games of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals, with Game 1 tonight at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Tickets for the games in New York have an average cost of $931, more than 51 percent higher than the $615 listing price for the three potential games at the Devils’ Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, according to TiqIQ, an aggregator of the online resale ticket market. Those games in New Jersey may also see a healthy turnout of Rangers fans.
“We have seen within our transactions currently about a 4-to-1 ratio of New York to New Jersey buyers,” TiqIQ spokesman Chris Matcovich said by e-mail. “This obviously does not take into account Rangers fans who live in New Jersey, which actually might take this ratio slightly higher in favor of New York.”
The average listed ticket price of $781 for the series is the highest for the NHL’s conference finals in TiqIQ’s three-year history. It’s 56 percent higher than the next-highest priced series in that span, as the 2010 East finals between the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens had an average cost of $501 on the secondary market.
All seven possible games in the East finals have a higher average ticket price than any contest in the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes.
New York would host Games 1, 2, 5 and 7, while New Jersey is scheduled to be at home for Games 3, 4 and 6.
Rangers Are Favored
The Rangers are the -140 money line favorite, meaning oddsmakers give them a 57 percent chance of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, according to Las Vegas-based handicapping information website Pregame.com.
The Rangers and Devils split their six regular-season games, with the last meeting on March 19 -- a 4-2 win for New York -- starting with three simultaneous fights.
New York won the Atlantic Division with a 51-24-7 record this season, while the Devils finished in fourth place out of five teams even though they had only three fewer wins.
The last time the New York-area rivals met in the conference finals was in 1994, when the Rangers beat the Devils in a decisive Game 7 on Stephane Matteau’s overtime goal and went on to win the Stanley Cup. While the Rangers have been back to the East finals once since then, losing to Philadelphia in 1997, the Devils won NHL titles in 1995, 2000 and 2003.
“I just hope the team is not too interested in getting caught up in all the sideshows as far as Jersey-New York Rangers,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “It’s great for the area, don’t get me wrong, but we have to concentrate on who we are and what we have to do to win some hockey games.”