Devils–Flyers rivalry Edit
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|New Jersey Devils|
|New Jersey Devils-Philadelphia Flyers|
|First Meeting||October 18, 1982|
|All-Time Series||110–105–18 PHI|
|Series since 1982||101–83–15 (NJ)|
|2015–16 Series||Tied at 2–2|
|All-Time Meetings||16–14 PHI|
|All-Time Series||6, tied 3–3|
|1978 PR||Flyers won 2-0|
|1995 ECF||Devils won 4-2|
|2000 ECF||Devils won, 4-3|
|2004 ECQF||Flyers won 4-1|
|2010 ECQF||Flyers won 4-1|
|2012 ECSF||Devils won 4-1|
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. 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.
From the time the conferences were realigned and renamed prior to the 1993–94 season until the next realignment at the end of the 2013–14 season, the two teams 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 19 titles from the original Atlantic Division.
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, until1987–88.
Although these two teams faced each other on a regular basis since the Devils' relocation from Denver in 1982, the rivalry 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. 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, 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.
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 4-1 in the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Flyers also defeated the Devils in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, again 4-1, 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. The Flyers finished with a combined regular season & playoff record of 9-2 against the Devils for 2009–10.
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, 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, while the Flyers led the Atlantic Division steadily and won the division in their final game of the season.
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. 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.