With quite a few rival teams in the playoffs, it's hard as a New Jersey Devils fan to sit here and watch those teams have any sort of success in the postseason. Such was the case last night, as I watched the Washington Capitals lose 2-1 to the Second Rate Rivals a.k.a. The Philadelphia Flyers. I've been following the series from the start and was honestly hoping for a sweep by the Caps; T.J. Oshie's 3rd period goal gave me hope, but alas it seems the shut-out wasn't meant to be.
There are some interesting parallels between this series, and the last time we met the SRR in the playoffs; in both series, the Flyers only won 1 of the first 4 games. 1 game wound up being all they won against us, and I hope the same happens against Washington. There was also an atrocious goal allowed by the Flyers goaltender in each series. Against Washington, Steve Mason let in this "beauty" that I'm sure many of you have seen by now:
For the goal allowed against us? Let's take a trip back in time to 2012 when each team had 14 players that are not on their roster as of this writing and Adam Larsson was a rookie stuck in the DeBoer Doghouse.
Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals saw out New Jersey Devils walk into Philadelphia with a 3-1 series lead; the SRR would come out strong and scored 7:18 in to the first on a goal by Max Talbot. The Devils would not simply be content to lay down and die; they pushed back and scored an equalizer at 9:27 courtesy of Bryce Salvador. The game would continue on for another couple of minutes with neither team breaking the tie; then, this happened:
In what can only be described as possibly the weirdest goal of the 2012 Playoffs, then-Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov attempted an outlet pass to Kimmo Timonen without any regard for David Clarkson who was swooping in on the forecheck to apply pressure. Bryz's pass would bank off the shaft of Clarkson's stick, and the Devils would find themselves up 2-1 in a possible elimination game.
Oddly enough, the "weird goal" in both the Caps/Flyers game and Clarkson's goal above wound up being the game winning goal; the Caps' goal by Jason Chimera made the score 2-0, but the Flyers would score one before eventually losing 4-1. The Devils would score one more to finalize Game 5 at 3-1 winning them the series.
Aside from the obvious "bad goal" comparison, I brought up this goal because it is another important moment from New Jersey's past. With Clarky's game winning goal, the Devils won the series in 5 game against a heavily favored Flyers team. The momentum propelled us through a 6 game series against Our Hated Rivals and perhaps showed best that you shouldn't count the Devils out at any time. I'm hoping that this holds true for the next few seasons, as we will have some youth coming through the ranks and some salary cap space to work with which will allow us to acquire some players via trades and free agency.
A bit of a short article this week, but it was a shorter moment that we're looking back on as well. What were your memories of not only this goal by David Clarkson but also of the Devils/Flyers series? Do you hope that the Capitals end their first round match-up in 5 games as I do? Do you believe that if the Devils make the playoffs next season they will be able to have a deep run as they did in 2012? Leave any and all comments below and as always thanks for reading!