Editor’s Note: As part of WFAN’s 30th anniversary celebration, from April 3-14, we asked you to vote on your favorite local teams over the past 30 years. Over the course of two weeks, we are revealing the top-10 vote getters.
NEW YORK (WFAN) — There was nothing cheap about this championship.
The 1994-95 NHL regular season may have been slashed to 48 games due to a lockout, but come the playoffs it was business as usual. And when all was said and done, it was a nondescript team from the suburbs that was the last one left standing. In the franchise’s 13th season in New Jersey after relocating from Colorado, the Devils captured their first Stanley Cup.
The Devils started slowly, going just 9-11-4 in the abbreviated season’s first half, but, under the tutelage of experienced head coach Jacques Lemaire, rebounded to go 13-7-4 in the second half, earning the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
It was the start of a truly epic run, especially considering the rival Rangers were coming off their first league championship in 54 years the season before and the fact that the Devils were often considered the third team in the tri-state area behind the Blueshirts and Islanders, the latter with four Cup titles of their own.
Led by eventual Conn Smythe winner Claude Lemieux, the Devils lost just four games in the ’94-95 postseason, defeating both Boston and Pittsburgh in five in the first two rounds before taking out Philadelphia in six in the conference finals.
The Devils then shocked everyone by routing heavily favored Detroit in the Cup Final, outscoring the high-powered Red Wings 16-7 in a four-game sweep.