When I saw these on youtube (taken from NHL Network) I'll admit I got pumped. Not including the 1988 playoff run, the 1991 Patrick Division Semi Final against the Penguins was a classic Devil series vs. a team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup. This is prime Christmas tree Devil history.
It was a year where the Devils had some greats as their core, before new ones would arrive: Shanahan, Muller, C. Lemieux, Stastny & MacLean (he scored 45 goals this year & it was before his injury. He would never be the same again). Add to that a sparkplug penalty killing unit of Doug Brown & Pat Conacher.
Also of note for the Pens, this was the first playoffs ever for Jagr & Recchi.
If there was ever a New Jersey Devils team that had the potential and just missed it; it was this team (my runner up being if the 2008-09 Devils got past Carolina, we would have seen them excel).
Games 1 & 2 - They split. The Devils win game 1 with two Peter Stasny goals, Pens game 2 in OT with a Jagr goal.
Game 3 - Penguins win - Shanahan scores two; but I'll always remember Doug Brown (the little runt) scoring shorthanded to tie the game before the Devils lost it in heartbreaking fashion in the LAST MINUTE.
Game 4 - New Jersey Devils win. Gotta love the Shanahan assist & MacLean multiple fist pumps after. Claude Lemieux scores two goals. Crowd goes wild.
Game 5 - New Jersey Devils win - AT Pittsburgh - and emphatically.
Game 6 - Penguins win - Devils down 4 - 1, come storming back with
3 goals, 2 goals. I made a parody of the Boschman goal for Puck Daddy. I strongly feel if instant replay was around, the Pittsburgh Penguins would have never won in 1991. One guy commented that the call could have saved hockey in Pittsburgh. Not off base at all.
Game 7 - Penguins win. The Devils were dwelling on that disallowed goal. They were mentally beat up & got pummeled in this game.
In this series, the Penguins faced elimination twice. They would never face it again on their way to the first Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh history. The series is notable for the many disallowed goals against the Devils. I believe this matchup was the clincher in NHL offices for instant replay to proceed the next year (IMHO. I have no link to back it up).
But as the announcer said at the beginning, "What is often forgotten is how close the Penguins came to missing the final."
Enjoy, I just wish they had the original Sports Channel commentary with Gary Thorne & Peter McNab