New Jersey Devils – New York Rangers

The New York Rangers-New Jersey Devils rivalry exist between two National Hockey League teams in the New York metropolitan area. The two teams are called "cross-river rivals."[1] This is because Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan, where the Rangers play, is less than ten miles and across the Hudson River from the Prudential Center in downtown Newark (and previously, the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford), the home ice of the Devils. Travel between both arenas is easily accomplished by both road (usually through the Lincoln Tunnel) and rail (along the Northeast Corridor and Port Authority Trans Hudson).

History Edit

Rangers-Devils rivalry
New York Rangers New Jersey Devils
First meeting October 5, 1982
Latest meeting February 23, 2016
Next meeting TBD
Meetings total 266
All-time series 119-112-27-8 (NJ)
Regular season series 103-94-27-8 (NJ)
Postseason results 18-16 (NYR)
Post-season history

The rivalry began when the Devils moved from Colorado to the New York City metropolitan area, in spite of the territorial fees paid to the Rangers, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers. For over 25 years, fans of both the Rangers and Devils have seen the best out of both their clubs whenever they meet. Despite the Devils' overall playoff superiority since the 1990s, the first three playoff series between these teams were all Rangers victories. Their first meeting occurred in 1992 Patrick Division Semi-Finals, when the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers survived a 7 game Patrick Division Semifinal series with the Devils.

Stanley Cup Champions of 1994 and 1995 Edit

The rivalry's most famous moments, however, are centered around the significance of the teams' meetings during the 1995–96 season.

1994: Rangers Win Stanley Cup Edit

The rivalry's most famous moments, however, are centered around the teams' second encounter: the Rangers' championship season of 1994 during the the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. Although both teams were the top point-getters in the NHL in 1994 (the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers netting 112 and the Devils notching 106), the story entering the series was the Rangers' 6-0 record against New Jersey that regular season. However, all ideas of a quick New York series were soon ended after Game 1, a 4-3 double overtime victory that was sealed by the Devils' Stephane Richer. The Rangers routed the Devils 4-0 in Game 2, and used a double overtime goal by Stéphane Matteau to take a 2-1 lead after Game 3. After dropping Games 4 and 5, the Rangers faced elimination against the Devils going to New Jersey for Game 6. Prior to the game, Rangers captain Mark Messier guaranteed a victory in Game 6 at the Meadowlands; with the Rangers down 2-0 to the Devils, Messier scored a hat trick to tie the series at 3-3 and send it back to New York for Game 7. In Game 7, the Devils' Valeri Zelepukin tied the game with 7.7 seconds left in regulation, but thanks to another Matteau goal in double overtime the Rangers won the series and went on to win the Stanley Cup over the Vancouver Canucks, also in 7 games. Interestingly, the first 6 games were won by the team that lost that respective game in 1992. That trend was reversed, however, when the Rangers won Game 7 in 1994.

1995: Devils Win Stanley Cup Edit

The Devils would eventually recover from that crushing defeat in 1994 and win the Stanley Cup the following year, though they had to go through another of their own rivals in 1995 Eastern Conference Finals, the Philadelphia Flyers, and also in a shocking and improbable sweep of the Detroit Red Wings, making the rivalry during the 1995–96 season showdowns between the Stanley Cup champions of the previous two seasons.

When both teams won the Stanley Cup in their respective seasons, the Stanley Cup was awarded on their side of the Hudson River (Rangers won at Madison Square Garden in 1994, the Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena in 1995). The Devils did not have home ice advantage during their Finals. In fact, they were the first team to win the Stanley Cup without having home ice advantage in any of the four rounds of the playoffs.

1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals Edit

The third Devils-Rangers playoff series happened only three years later. The Rangers eliminated the Devils in 1997 Eastern Conference Semifinals. New Jersey was limited to 5 goals in the 5 game series, including two shutout losses.

1998 to 2006 Edit

From the start of 1998, however, the pendulum began to swing the other way. New Jersey dominated New York during the regular season in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At one point, the Devils had an unbeaten streak against the Rangers throughout 23 regular season games going 15-0-8; starting on February 17, 1997, and ending March 31, 2001 — an undefeated streak spanning 4 years.

At the end of the 2005–06 season, the Devils had won 11 games straight — the second such streak of the season — and capped off the run by winning the Atlantic Division in comeback fashion against the Montreal Canadiens, a division win made all the more exciting by the fact that the Devils had been 22 points out of the lead just 3 months prior, with many thinking the team wouldn't make the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Rangers had the division lead for most of the latter part of the season, but fell victim to a losing skid as the season came to a close. The Devils meet the Rangers in the 2006 Eastern Conference Quarter Finals. The result was a 4 game sweep of New Jersey over their cross-river rivals for the first time ever in franchise history.

2007-2011 Edit


Sean Avery distracts Martin Brodeur during Game 3 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Two years later, the teams would meet yet again in the playoffs for the 5th time, in the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. After long time Devil Scott Gomez signed with the Rangers before the 2007–08 season, he has been severely booed by Devils fans at the Prudential Center every time he touched the puck. Gomez scored 3 assists in Game 1 and 2 goals in Game 4 against his former team en route to a Rangers series win. In Game 3, Ranger Sean Avery used a tactic to screen opposing goaltender Martin Brodeur. While essentially ignoring the play on the ice when his team had a two-man advantage, Avery faced Brodeur and waved his hands and stick in front of him in an attempt to distract him and block his view. Although not illegal, many NHL commentators and players described Avery's actions as inappropriate. The following day, the NHL issued an interpretation of the league's unsportsmanlike conduct rule to cover actions such as the one employed by Avery.[2] Following the Rangers victory in Game 5 of the series during the hand-shake line, Brodeur shook the hand of every Ranger except Avery. When asked what happened after the game, Avery said "I guess Fatso (Brodeur) forgot to shake my hand."

During the 2009–10 season, there was a moment of peace in the rivalry with both captains, Rangers' Chris Drury and Devils' Jamie Langenbrunner winning silver medals as members the U.S. men's ice hockey team during the Vancouver Olympics.

2012 Eastern Conference Final "The Rematch" Edit

The Devils–Rangers series debuted at its latest date since the Devils moved to New Jersey in 1982 during the 2011–12 season. For the previous 6 seasons, the teams had met at least once in October. In 2 of the first three meetings of the teams, there have been fights to start the game, which included the third game of the year, were two fights immediately broke-out after the first face-off. Also in the third game, there was a controversial call that negated a goal by the Rangers' Derek Stepan due to alleged goaltender interference by Marian Gaborik. Some argue that Gaborik was pushed into the goalie, Brodeur, by ex-Devil Anton Volchenkov, while others argue that the forward did not make an effort to avoid the goaltender, therefore legitimizing the penalty.

The Devils and Rangers met for their final contest of the season on March 19, 2012, at Madison Square Garden. Continuing the trend established in prior games, the game began with three simultaneous fights, and the Rangers went on to win the game, 4–2. With the Devils defeating rival Philadelphia in 5 games, and the Rangers defeating Washington in 7 games, the stage had been set for a rematch of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals between the two in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the exception of Games 1 and 2, the remainder of the series was played on the 18th anniversary of each game of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals series between the two, and the pattern of wins from Games 3 to 5 were identical to 1994. This pattern was broken when New Jersey Devils won Game 6, against New York Rangers 3–2, in overtime on Adam Henrique's game-winner, securing the Devils 5th trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the Devils would lost Stanley Cup Finals in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.

Reaction by FansEdit

Fans on both sides have agreed the rivalry has become even stronger as of late, due in large part to the fact that both teams have shown much more parity towards each other. Many hockey analysts within the media have referred to them as "mirror teams" given their many similarities. Since the NHL Lockout, the two teams have met a total of 43 times (as of March 25, 2010) including postseason games. The Devils lead the series 121-110-17-8.

Many Rangers fans have been seen burning Devils memorabilia after Rangers victories over the Devils, and lighting their cigarettes with it, while exiting Madison Square Garden. A lot of Devils fans, meanwhile, enjoy making confetti which reads "Rangers Suck" and handing them out during games at the Continental Airlines Arena and currently at the Prudential Center after Devils victories over Rangers. The Jersey fans also have a cheer that is yelled and whistled at every game. In response to the "Let's Go Band"/"Potvin Sucks" chant of Rangers fans against the Islanders, the Devils fans at the Prudential Center cheer "Rangers Suck." This chant, is heard at every Devils home game.[3] The Rangers and Devils rivalry is popular among fans, due to the geographic proximity, which is seen as a battle between the neighboring states of New York and New Jersey. While Devils fans will occasionally attend games at Madison Square Garden in large numbers (especially during the final two games of the 2006 series sweep), Rangers fans have historically showed up at both the Meadowlands and now the Prudential Center in extremely large numbers. Fans of both teams have also shown considerable hostility towards each other's goalies. Rangers fans have often battered Devils goalie Martin Brodeur with chants of "Marty! Marty! Marty!" after goals scored on him during games between the two teams. Conversely, Devils fans will chant "Henrik! Henrik! Henrik!" at Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist after the Devils score on him.

This rivalry was satirized in pop-culture with the Seinfeld episode "The Face Painter" in which David Puddy, a hard-core Devils fan, paints his face red at a playoff game against the Rangers in the Garden, to the embarrassment of Jerry, Kramer, and Elaine.

The rivalry was also seen in the short-lived 2003 sitcom Whoopi, starring Whoopi Goldberg in the episode "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", where it featured Devils stars Scott Gomez, Jay Pandolfo, and Scott Stevens. Rangers players that were featured on the show included Anson Carter and Darius Kasparitis.

Recently, there have been parting shots taken by players and media at each organization through written words. In Beyond the Crease, an autobiography written by Martin Brodeur, he writes; "I hate the Rangers, and Lou hates them to death."[4]. During their last playoff meet, actor/director Kevin Smith was asked to have a blog commenting on the series, which could be read on the NHL's official website. After Game 3 he wrote; "No Devils fan can truly pinpoint why we hate our cross-river rivals as much as we do. Even so, Devils fans live to hate the Rangers. Sometimes, it feels like a large cross-section of those folks in the stands at the Rock (and formerly at the Meadowlands) aren't there so much to love on the Devils as they are to hate on New York. Even when the boys in blue aren't anywhere near the building, we're still seething about their very existence. You'd think we'd hold a special place in our hearts for the Rangers, as they gave us our first ever win back in 1982. Granted, they don't roll over for us as much as Philly does (except, y'know - in that last game this season), but the Rangers've been hoisted up high on the Devils' pitchfork enough times (the '06 four-zip playoffs come to mind) to warrant at least a degree of affection right?"

The rivalry between the teams is so intense that the Rangers are the only NHL team with which the Devils have never made a trade.[5]


  1. New Jersey Devils win slugfest over New York Rangers, 8-5. The Record (2008-12-12). Retrieved on 2009-01-22.
  2. Associated Press. "NHL amends unsportsmanlike conduct rule in response to Avery's antics",, April 14, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-04-14. 
  3. Rangers Suck! at YouTube
  4. Brodeur, Martin (2006). Beyond the Crease. Wiley Press, 261. ISBN 978-0470838518. 
  5. New Jersey Devils Media Guide, 2006-07
New Jersey Devils
Team Kansas City ScoutsColorado RockiesPlayersAward WinnersSeasonsRecordsDraft picks • • Continental Airlines ArenaPrudential Center
New Jersey Devils coaches MacMillanMcVieCarpenterSchoenfeldCunniffBrooksLemaireFtorekRobinsonConstantineBurnsLamorielloJulienSutter
Division titles 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2005-06, 2006-07
Conference Championships 1994-95, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03
Stanley Cups 1994-95, 1999-00, 2002-03
Affiliates Lowell Devils (AHL), Trenton Devils (ECHL)
New York Rangers
Team FranchisePlayersCoachesGMsSeasonsRecordsDraft PicksHistory
Madison Square Garden
Stanley Cups 1928, 1933, 1940, 1994
Affiliates Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), Maine Mariners (ECHL)

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