Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Re-living the Devils' Cup run in 1995, Part 2

This is the second of six installments of DGA's "Re-living the Cup" blog series leading up to the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.  This installment features recaps of the third round of the Devils' path to the Cup in 1995, which was a defeat of Philadelphia in the conference final.

PART TWO: Conference Finals of 1995

Following defeats of Boston and Pittsburgh, each in five games, the Devils travelled down the Turnpike to Philadelphia for a showdown with the rival Flyers.  The Flyers had yet to lose a playoff game at home in 1995, but Martin Brodeur and the Devils were determined to change that.  As they did against the Bruins in round one, the Devils struck early and often in Game 1 and Brodeur allowed nothing to the Flyers.  Bill Guerin scored a pair of goals, and the Devils were up 3-0 after two periods.  Martin Brodeur was less than two minutes away from his fourth shutout of the playoffs when Craig MacTavish broke the goose egg, but the Devils held on easily to win 4-1.

The Flyers got off to a better start in Game 2, as they were about to take a lead into the first intermission when John MacLean tied the game, 2-2 with twelve seconds remaining in the period.  The Devils scored three times in the second period, and never looked back.  The Crash Line accounted for two more goals, as Randy McKay and Bobby Holik both struck again, with Neal Broten and Ken Daneyko the other goal scorers.  The Devils' defense shut down the Flyers for the final two periods and won, 5-2.

Game 3 was the tightest game of the series, as the series headed up the Turnpike to the Meadowlands.  The Devils had a chance to take complete control of the series, and they had a lead in the third period, thanks to goals from Claude Lemieux and Randy McKay, but Rod Brind'Amour's game-tying goal with six minutes remaining in the third period tied the game, and forced the first overtime of the series.  Just 4:19 into the extra session, Eric Lindros won the game for the visitors, and suddenly the Flyers were back in the series, down two games to one.

Brind'Amour tallied another goal in Game 4, and Ron Hextall turned in his best performance of the series.  His 32 saves on 34 shots stole Game 4 for the Flyers, as they won 4-2, who had just 19 shots on goal.  The Crash Line continued to produce at least one goal in each game of the series, as Mike Peluso notched his first of the series in a losing cause.  Suddenly, the series was tied, 2-2, as the two teams headed back to Philadelphia.

John MacLean got the Devils off and running in Game 5.

The Flyers responded, and tied the game, but a power play goal by Bobby Carpenter put the Devils back on top.

The Flyers tied the game early in the third period, and in the final minutes of the period, it looked as if Game 5 was headed for overtime.  That's when Claude Lemieux did this.

The goal stunned the Philly faithful and as in the previous season, the Devils were one win away from their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance.  They were not to be denied this time.

The Flyers took an early lead in Game 6, but a dominant Devils' power play got them the equalizer midway through the first period.

A few minutes later (and as ESPN showed some baseball scores), a young Brian Rolston put the home team on top.

The Devils took over Game 6 at that point, and scored two more insurance goals.

The Flyers got one back late, but it was too little, too late, and the Devils were on their way to their first ever Stanley Cup Finals.  They would face the mighty Detroit Red Wings.  Here's the final minute of Game 6.

"The Title is Team" looks back at the Devils' six game defeat of the Flyers.