The Devils punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday thanks to their cross-river rivals, the Rangers.
New York’s 4-3 comeback win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday sealed New Jersey’s first entry into the NHL postseason in five seasons.
Entering Saturday, the Devils had three scenarios to clinch a playoff berth. The first was beating the Ottawa Senators in any fashion (in regulation, overtime or in a shootout).
The second scenario was if they got one point against the Senators and either of the following occurred: The Penguins lose to the Capitals in regulation or the Panthers lose to the Rangers in any fashion.
The third, and the scenario that wound up occurring, was the Panthers losing outright to the Rangers in regulation.
At the time of clinching the playoffs, the Devils were tied 1-1 after one period.
This is the earliest playoff clinch for the Devils since 2009. That season, New Jersey was the Atlantic Division champion (106 points) and the No. 3 seeds. They met the No. 4 seed Carolina Hurricanes in the first round, but lost in seven games.
Currently, New Jersey is second in the Metropolitan Division but are just two points behind the Hurricanes. If the season ended Saturday, the Devils would face the Rangers in the first round.