By John Schweibacher
» More Columns
Just like their first Stanley Cup-winning season in 1995, the New Jersey Devils will play a 48-game schedule as the NHL returns from its four-month lockout.
Martin Brodeur, who has now essentially lost two full seasons to work stoppages, will begin his 19th NHL campaign and will make his record 18th consecutive opening game start, dating back to that shortened 1994-95 season:
|1994-95||1/22/95||Devils 2 at Hartford 2||65||T||2||27|
|1995-96||10/7/95||Florida 0 at Devils 4||60||W||0||17|
|1996-97||10/5/96||Detroit 1 at Devils 3||60||W||1||25|
|1997-98||10/3/97||Devils 4 at Tampa Bay 3||60||W||3||21|
|1998-99||10/10/98||Devils 1 at Chicago 2||59||L||2||15|
|1999-00||10/2/99||Devils 4 at Atlanta 1||60||W||1||26|
|2000-01||10/6/00||Montreal 4 at Devils 8||60||W||4||30|
|2001-02||10/6/01||Devils 1 at Washington 6||40||L||5||20|
|2002-03||10/10/02||Devils 2 at Ottawa 1||60||W||1||34|
|2003-04||10/8/03||Devils 3 at Boston 3||65||T||3||31|
|2005-06||10/5/05||Pittsburgh 1 at Devils 5||60||W||1||37|
|2006-07||10/6/06||Devils 4 at Carolina 0||60||W||0||29|
|2007-08||10/4/07||Devils 1 at Tampa Bay 3||60||L||2||23|
|2008-09||10/10/08||Islanders 1 at Devils 2||60||W||1||26|
|2009-10||10/3/09||Flyers 5 at Devils 2||59||L||2||27|
|2010-11||10/8/10||Stars 4 at Devils 3||L||61||4||28|
|2011-12||10/8/11||Flyers 3 at Devils 0||L||60||3||29|
Brodeur’s first season-opening start was back on January 22, 1995, against the Hartford Whalers at the Hartford Civic Center. Brodeur allowed goals to Robert Kron and Geoff Sanderson in the first 7:04 of the opening period but “Brass Bonanza” would not be played again that night.
A late first period goal by Stephane Richer and a second period tally from Bobby Carpenter gave New Jersey the 2-2 tie and the game remained deadlocked the rest of the way as Brodeur and future Devils’ teammate Jeff Reese earned one point apiece for their clubs.
Brodeur is the only active player who appeared in that 1995 season opener. In fact, as of January 16, only 11 players who played during that lockout shortened campaign remain on active NHL rosters heading into this season:
· Martin Brodeur
· Nikolai Khabibulin
· Roman Hamrlik
· Jaromir Jagr
· Teemu Selanne
· Ray Whitney
· Chris Pronger
· Ryan Smyth
· Sergei Gonchar
· Jamie Langenbrunner
· Adrian Aucoin
This will be the fourth time the Devils have faced the Islanders in a season opening game. New Jersey has won all three of the previous meetings, including a 2-1 victory four years ago to begin the 2008-09 season.
This will be the first time the Devils open the season at Nassau Coliseum. However, the Kansas City Scouts, the franchise’s original version, began the 1975-76 NHL season on the road against the Islanders.
Goaltenders Billy Smith and Denis Herron battled to a 1-1 tie in Uniondale with Guy Charron scoring for K.C. and Billy Harris providing the lone goal for the Isles.
The Devils fell two wins short of their fourth Stanley Cup title last June, losing the finals in six games to the Los Angeles Kings. Since the NHL expanded back in the 1967-68 season, only three teams that lost a Stanley Cup final series have bounced back to win the Cup the following season: the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens, the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers and the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here is how the Stanley Cup runner-ups have fared since the last work-stoppage shortened season back in 1995:
· 1993-94 Vancouver Lost Conference Semifinals
· 1994-95 Detroit Lost Conference Finals
· 1995-96 Florida Lost Conference Quarterfinals
· 1996-97 Philadelphia Lost Conference Quarterfinals
· 1997-98 Washington Missed Playoffs
· 1998-99 Buffalo Lost Conference Quarterfinals
· 1999-00 Dallas Lost Conference Semifinals
· 2000-01 New Jersey Lost Conference Quarterfinals
· 2001-02 Carolina Missed Playoffs
· 2002-03 Anaheim Missed Playoffs
· 2003-04 Calgary Lost Conference Quarterfinals
· 2005-06 Edmonton Missed Playoffs
· 2006-07 Ottawa Lost Conference Quarterfinals
· 2007-08 Pittsburgh Won Stanley Cup
· 2008-09 Detroit Lost Conference Semifinals
· 2009-10 Philadelphia Lost Conference Semifinals
· 2010-11 Vancouver Lost Conference Quarterfinals
No team has lost consecutive Stanley Cup Finals since the Boston Bruins in 1977 and 1978. The St. Louis Blues were the last club to drop three straight, losing in the finals in 1968, 1969 and 1970.
Minus: Locked-Out. Adam Henrique. Devils playoff hero as a rookie last spring will begin his sophomore season on the injured list. Henrique had surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament sustained while playing in an AHL game in November during the NHL lockout.
Plus: Locked-Up. Travis Zajac signs an eight-year contract extension with New Jersey. The 27-year-old center could have been an unrestricted free agent this summer.