Devils–Flyers rivalry

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New Jersey Devils–Philadelphia Flyers
History
1st Meeting October 18, 1982[1]
1st Result NJ: 3–1
Location Brendan Byrne Arena
Last Meeting March 11, 2014
Last Result NJ: 2–1
Location Wells Fargo Center
Next Meeting
Number of Meetings 225[2]
All-Time Series PHI: 107–100–18[2]
Current Streak NJ: 1
Post Season History
Post Season Meetings NJ: 3–2
Post Season Series Tied: 14–14
1995 ECF Devils won, 4–2[3]
2000 ECF Devils won, 4–3[4]
2004 ECQF Flyers won, 4–1[5]
2010 ECQF Flyers won, 4–1[6]
2012 ECSF Devils won, 4–1[7]

The Devils–Flyers rivalry is a rivalry between two teams in the NHL's Metropolitan Division. This rivalry has become quite intense in New Jersey itself, sometimes referred to as the "Battle of the Jersey Turnpike", with the northern part of the state being the Devils fanbase, while the southern part of the state is overwhelmingly Flyers fans due to South Jersey's close proximity to Philadelphia.[8] The Flyers practice in Voorhees Township, New Jersey, and since their Stanley Cup days of 1974 and 1975, many members of the Cup teams (as well as other Flyers alumni) have lived in South Jersey.

Since the conferences were realigned and renamed prior to the 1993–94 season, the two teams have won the two highest numbers of division titles, the Devils 9, the Flyers 6; together, the two teams' 15 division championships account for almost all of the 18 Atlantic Division titles.

Early history[edit]

The first meeting between the two franchises was in the 1977–78 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and had no geographic significance. The Devils were then known as the Colorado Rockies. The Flyers took the best-of-three Preliminary Round series 2-0. It was the only playoff series the team would play in during their six seasons in Denver, and the only one they would play in during their first 13 seasons of play, until 1987–88.

Although these two teams faced each other on a regular basis since the Devils' relocation from Denver in 1982, the rivalry between the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils took off with their first playoff meeting in the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season, when the Devils eliminated the Flyers in six games in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals en route to winning the Stanley Cup.[9] The turning point of the series came in Game 5, when Claude Lemieux scored from 65 feet out, sending a wobbly puck past Flyers goalie Ron Hextall, with 44 seconds left in regulation of a tie game. The series was considered an upset, as the Devils were the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, while the Flyers had made a dramatic improvement to end their five-year playoff drought by winning the division and the 2nd seed in the East,[9] and were led by eventual Hart Memorial Trophy winner, captain Eric Lindros. Lindros and Devils captain Scott Stevens were afterwards known for their on-ice feuds.[9]

During the 1999–2000 regular season, the Devils were leading in both the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division, but their 10-game slump near the end of the season resulted the Flyers overtaking them for both the division title and the #1 seed in the East. They would meet once again in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals; this time, the Flyers blew a 3-1 series lead over the Devils, including losing 3 of the 4 games played in Philadelphia. Game 7 of this series was the final game for Eric Lindros as a Flyer, suffering a concussion at the hands of Stevens, whose controversial hit was viewed by some as the key moment of the Devils' playoff run. The Devils would go on to win the Cup by beating the defending champion Dallas Stars in 6 games.

21st century[edit]

The Flyers would finally defeat the Devils in the playoffs in 2003–04, when they eliminated the defending Cup champs 4 games to 1 in the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Flyers also defeated the Devils in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, again 4 games to 1,[10] en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. The latter series was considered a big upset, as the Devils won the Atlantic Division and the 2nd seed in the East while the Flyers clinched the 7th seed in a shootout victory over the New York Rangers on the last day of the regular season.[10] The Flyers finished with a combined regular season & playoff record of 9-2 against the Devils for 2009–10.[10]

In the 2006–07 season, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur broke Philadelphia legend (and fellow Montrealer) Bernie Parent's single season wins record of 47 by earning his 48th win against the Flyers. Flyers fans booed Brodeur and the milestone was not announced by the Flyers' PA announcer, Lou Nolan, at game's end. Nevertheless, Parent offered his praise,[11] even though he didn't have the benefit of overtime or shootouts in his era (12 of Brodeur's 48 wins were in overtime or the shootout). Brodeur also notched his 500th career victory at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in 2007–08. This time, the milestone was announced by the PA announcer and was booed. Furthermore, on Sunday, March 1, 2009, Brodeur recorded his 100th career regular season shutout during a home game versus the Flyers. Brodeur recorded 27 saves in the 3-0 victory.

In 2010–11, both teams were seemingly headed in different directions. The Devils finished under .500 for the first time since 1990–91,[12] while the Flyers led the Atlantic Division steadily and won the division in their final game of the season.[13]

Subsequent results proved otherwise. The teams met in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Flyers being heavily favored after dismantling Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh in the first round. However, after losing game one, New Jersey won the next four to win the series, 4–1, en route to the Stanley Cup Finals[14] New Jersey's victory in game four occurred on Brodeur's 40th birthday, giving him playoff victories over the Flyers in his 20s, 30s, and 40s. The series was characterized by a relentless Devils' forecheck and a virtual shutdown of Philadelphia's offensive weapons. The Devils would advance to defeat the rival New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Championship series. However, the trend of defeating the Flyers en route to winning the Stanley Cup was broken when the Los Angeles Kings, coincidentally featuring former Flyers Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and John Stevens defeated the Devils 4–2 to win their first Stanley Cup.

The 2012–13 season marked the first time that both the Devils and Flyers missed the playoffs since the Devils started playing in New Jersey. From 1982–83 to 2011–12, the Devils missed the playoffs eight times and the Flyers six times but never at the same time.

Rivalry outside NHL[edit]

The rivalry has taken on an even further extension; the Flyers had an ECHL affiliate in Trenton, New Jersey - the Trenton Titans, from 1999 - including the 2005 Kelly Cup Championship - to 2006, when the team was sold to the Devils, which flipped the team's affiliation after the 2006–07 ECHL season and nickname to reflect its new ownership and identity, rebranding as the Trenton Devils. Intending to establish the Devils fanbase further south in New Jersey, the rebranding instead alienated a large segment of fans in the central New Jersey area, where the Flyers have a significantly larger fanbase than the Devils. Coupled with poor performance on the ice (missing the playoffs 3 out of 4 seasons) and attendance figures near the bottom of the league, the Devils suspended operations in July 2011. A week later, the franchise was revived under the original Titans brand and reestablished affiliation with the Flyers.

For several years, the American Hockey League had a rivalry between the Adirondack Red Wings and Capital District Islanders/Albany River Rats, both served by Interstate 87. After the former team folded, the area was without an AHL team until 2009, when the Philadelphia Phantoms moved and became the Adirondack Phantoms, still affiliated with the Flyers. The River Rats moved to Charlotte and were replaced by the Albany Devils in 2010, so the Adirondack-Albany rivalry takes on new significance due to the teams' parent clubs. The rivalry will not last long, as the Phantoms will move to the Lehigh Valley area in 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "All-Time Game Scores and Results". flyershistory.net. P. Anson. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Philadelphia Flyers Head-to-Head Results". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ "1995 NHL Playoff Summary". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "2000 NHL Playoff Summary". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ "2004 NHL Playoff Summary". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ "2010 NHL Playoff Summary". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  7. ^ "2012 NHL Playoff Summary". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ Howe, Barbara J.; Fleming, Dolores A.; Kemp, Emory L. (1997). Houses and homes: exploring their history. Rowman Altamira. p. 102. ISBN 0-7619-8929-3. 
  9. ^ a b c Yannis, Alex (June 14, 1995). "Banishing Game 6 Ghosts, Devils Set Sights on Cup". New York Times. p. B11. 
  10. ^ a b c Carchidi, Sam (April 23, 2010). "Flyers Dispose of Devils; Gritty team effort finishes off N.J. in five games". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. D1. 
  11. ^ "NHL.com - Recap: Devils @ Flyers". 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  12. ^ Marin, Eric (April 9, 2011). "Rangers 5, Devils 2". Devils.NHL.com. New Jersey Devils. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ Gelston, Dan (April 9, 2011). "Flyers top Isles to clinch division, No. 2 seed". Yahoo! Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  14. ^ Kimelman, Adam (May 8, 2012). "Devils advance by beating Flyers 3-1". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved May 9, 2012.