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NEWS

Fan-tastic start at Prudential Center

Sellout crowd rocks The Rock to open 2012-13

Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 2:24 PM / News
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Fan-tastic start at Prudential Center



 
The reviews are in: Opening Night at Prudential Center was a smash hit.

The Devils dropped the puck Tuesday for their 2012-13 home opener and blanked the rival Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0, in front of a pumped-up and packed house of 17,625.

In the Devils’ first home game since June, Martin Brodeur recorded his 120th career shutout, rewarding the fans who have been filling the Rock in growing numbers.

“It was a long time coming,” Brodeur told the Associated Press. “I thought we had a great run in the playoffs, and our fans were great. With the lockout, we didn’t know how these fans would respond. They showed tremendous support.”

Ilya Kovalchuk got a hero’s welcome during pregame introductions then lit the lamp on a shorthanded penalty shot in the second period.

These fans were outstanding to us as a team throughout the playoffs. I think they don't realize how much it helps when you have support from your home crowd. - David Clarkson
With the Garden State fans behind them, the sky’s the limit for the Devils, who are quickly off to a 2-0 start in the lockout-shortened 48-game schedule.

“The crowd was great all last year and I knew that the fans were real disappointed because of the situation the last four months, but we really appreciate that they came back and gave us that kind of support,” Kovalchuk said. “We try our best and we’ll try our best all 46 (remaining) games.”

In the stands, red jerseys with the “NJ” logo were everywhere from the Bud Light Goal Bar to the Acela Club restaurant. The building was electric as the Devils dominated one of their top rivals.

“It is nice to see The Rock ‘owned’ by Devils fans,” said longtime supporter Bill Schmidt, who attended games with his father and now brings his grandsons to Prudential Center. “It does seem like ‘playoff’ hockey. It may be shortened season, but what it might lack in quantity, it will certainly make up with action and excitement.”

The impact of the Devils’ return has been felt outside the arena, as well. Local restaurants are benefitting in a big way now that fans are streaming back into Newark’s downtown.

"The Devils have a great fan base, and for us, the games are an opportunity to have new people coming into our restaurant,” Newark Dinosaur BBQ general manager Scott Kleckner told NJBIZ.com.

The registers were ringing at Hobby’s Delicatessen, too.

Said Hobby’s co-owner Marc Brummer: "We're not open at night unless there's a Devils game, so during the lockout, the place was dark. But my main business is corporate lunchtime, so anything on top of that is just a nice bonus, and business (on opening night) was wonderful."

Devils fans have long ranked among the League’s most passionate. Their fervor may have reached new heights during last season’s run to the Stanley Cup Final, but it’s still growing.

"These fans were outstanding to us as a team throughout the playoffs,” said David Clarkson, who scored in Tuesday's home opener. “I think they don't realize how much it helps when you have support from your home crowd.”

It’s that degree of support that makes Devils hockey so special for players and fans.

"We had never really given them much to celebrate in this building before, and when we gave it to them, they really took it and embraced it," Brodeur said. “Again, we're looking to continue on the same wave of what we accomplished last season.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 40 10 16 -1 26
J. Jagr 43 9 16 -10 25
M. Cammalleri 35 15 6 -3 21
P. Elias 37 6 14 -14 20
M. Zidlicky 47 4 16 -7 20
M. Ryder 42 6 12 -2 18
T. Zajac 39 8 8 -7 16
S. Gomez 23 4 12 -5 16
S. Bernier 32 6 7 1 13
M. Havlat 29 5 7 -10 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 19 4 .920 2.41
K. Kinkaid 1 3 3 .913 2.54