Adam Henrique's goal 1:03 into overtime gave the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers, seeded No. 1 in the Eastern Conference. The Devils won the best-of-seven East finals in six games and will play the Los Angeles Kings in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final.
NEWARK, N.J. — The memory of missing the playoffs for first time since 1996 and the ghost of an 18-year-old wound were wiped out with a sweep of rookie Adam Henrique’s stick.
The New Jersey Devils are going back to the Stanley Cup Final, thanks to Henrique, 40-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur and a coach who had never been to the league playoffs.
How’s that for a turnaround?
Henrique scored off a wild scramble 1:03 into overtime and the Devils defeated the rival New York Rangers 3-2 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series to advance to their first best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final since 2003.
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“That one was like Christmas,” Henrique said of his goal.
The Devils, seeded sixth in the East, will face the Los Angeles Kings, seeded eighth in the West.
Game 1 is Wednesday in New Jersey.
Of getting to the Final, Devils leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk said, “It means a lot. It’s a great feeling.”
The top-seeded Rangers outshot New Jersey 35-29.
In 1994, New York beat the Devils in seven games in the East final series and proceeded to win its first Stanley Cup in 54 years.
Henrique’s winner came after New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped Kovalchuk twice and Alexei Ponikarovsky once. The puck wound up in the crease and Henrique tapped it home.
“We caught them on a line change and their defensemen were tired,” said Devils coach Peter DeBoer. “We found a way to jam one in.”