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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 ET / 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 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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