NEW YORK (WFAN) — After a short blip, the Devils are once again ready for a run at the Stanley Cup.

And if New Jersey continues to click, watch out.

“If we play our best,” Ilya Kovalchuk told the New York Post, “nobody can beat us.”

Kovy & Co. will begin their opening round playoff matchup Friday against the Southeast Division champion Florida Panthers.

If Devils fans thought a one-year absence was bad, they just have to look at their counterparts, whose backers haven’t seen postseason play in 12 long years.

The sixth-seeded Devils will take on a No. 3 Florida team on the downswing. The Panthers (38-26-18, 94 points) have just two wins in their final 10 games, though they split four contests this season against New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the Devils (48-28-6, 102 points) are sprinting into postseason play. New Jersey ended their resurgent 2011-12 campaign on a season-best six-game winning streak.

“Now the fun begins,” Kovalchuk told the Post. “This is why we play hockey.”

How far will the Devils go? Make your prediction in the comments below…

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