For the first time in six seasons, the New Jersey Devils will participate in the 2017-18 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 2-1, the New Jersey Devils have clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was far from easy, but they did it. This was a team that was ruled out before the season started, and they fought night in and night out to make the playoffs.
The Devils have gone 7-0-1 in their last eight, and they earned it. They had to go out and do it themselves. Very rarely did the Devils get help from other teams.
Also, Taylor Hall will taste the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in his NHL career on the heels of the best regular season he’s ever had. Hall has amassed 39 goals and 54 assists this season, both career highs.
Another major factor to the Devils making the playoffs is Keith Kinkaid. Kinkaid is the winningest goaltender in the league since Feb. 13, and he has been arguably the best player for the Devils since that time. He also had the most wins in his career this season.
As for tonight’s game, the Devils played really well in the first period with nothing to show for it. In fact, they trailed 1-0 at the first intermission off of a goal from William Nylander.
The second and third periods were the biggest of the season for New Jersey, and they delivered big time. Just 7:55 into the second period Pavel Zacha netted his eighth of the season off of a beautiful pass from Patrick Maroon where he roofed a goal above the shoulder of Fredrick Andersen.
Just about ten minutes later, Pat Maroon used his body to shield the puck for what seemed like an eternity, took the puck behind the net and found Miles Wood open in front, where he buried it to give the Devils a 2-1 lead. They never relinquished that lead.
Here is the goal that sent the Devils to the playoffs.
— Devils Insiders (@DevilsInsiders) April 6, 2018
The third period felt like an eternity when it started. The Leafs pulled the goalie with 2:30 to go, and the Devils battened down the hatch and held on.
The playoffs are set to begin Wednesday, April 11, but we don’t know who they are going to play yet. There are a number of different scenarios that have to play themselves out, but the important part is that they clinched the playoffs.