The New Jersey Devils defeated the top-seeded New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime to advance to the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Final against the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Kings.
Adam Henrique scored early in overtime last night for the Devils, who won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals four games to two to reach the championship round for the fifth time. Game 1 against the Kings is May 30.
“It didn’t matter how it got to overtime, we were in a good position,” Devils captain Zach Parise said in a televised interview. “We were at home. We just needed one shot.”
Henrique scored the series-winning goal in overtime for the second time in the playoffs. A month ago, he got his second goal of the game 3:47 into the second overtime period to give the Devils a 3-2 victory that ousted the Florida Panthers in Game 7.
“This one was like Christmas,” said Henrique, who made his NHL debut for the Devils on April 11, 2011. He is nominated for the Calder Trophy given to the NHL’s top rookie.
Ryan Carter and Ilya Kovalchuk scored in a four-minute span of the first period to give the Devils a 2-0 lead at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
The Rangers tied the game in the second period with their own outburst of two goals in a four-minute span. Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan scored for New York, with Ryan McDonagh assisting on both goals.
“We had to be ready to be a little patient,” Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said in a televised interview. “They outplayed us in the second period. This is a hockey game and we’re not going to walk through them.”
The Rangers were trying to force a decisive seventh game tomorrow at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rangers won their two previous series this postseason in Game 7 showdowns at Madison Square Garden.
The Devils won the last three games in the series by a combined score of 12-6 after the Rangers had won two of the first three games.
The Kings won the Western Conference finals 4-1 against the Phoenix Coyotes.