On to the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs
How do you remember an NHL season?
Is it the big goals, or the incredible saves? The winning streaks, or a new wins record?
Whatever Devils moment made your pulse pound over the last six months, one thing’s for sure: You can’t wait to rev it up again in the playoffs.
Now that Jersey’s Team has wrapped up 2008-09, it’s hard not to consider the past campaign as one of their most exciting yet.
For starters, the Devils set a new franchise record for victories by beating Ottawa on April 9 for their 50th victory. That same night, New Jersey locked up its third Atlantic Division title in the last four seasons, and eighth division crown in the last 12. This year’s 106-point effort was the 11th time the club has hit the century mark.
Martin Brodeur returned from injury to become the winningest goaltender in NHL history with his 552nd victory. Patrik Elias collected his 702nd point to pass John MacLean as the all-time leading scorer in Devils’ history.
Zach Parise blossomed into a 40-goal scorer, recording just the third campaign of 90-or-more points by a Devil. He was one of several Devils to reach new season highs, as forwards David Clarkson, Jamie Langenbrunner, Travis Zajac and defenseman Johnny Oduya all hit new peaks. Dainius Zubrus notched his first four-goal game with a Texas hat trick at Tampa Bay.
A pair of former Devils extended their productive careers to new levels: Brian Rolston made his 1,000th career appearance, then Brendan Shanahan his 1,500th. At the other end of the experience spectrum, a quartet of younger Devils made their NHL debuts: Patrick Davis, Matt Halischuk, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Petr Vrana.
With that, the first leg of the Devils’ journey has reached its end. For all its storylines and special moments, individual accomplishments and team achievements, the outgoing season has given Devils fans everywhere even more reasons to be proud of their team.
Now, on to the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.