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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.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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