NHL Playoffs 2012: New Jersey Devils Face Most Favorable First-Round Matchup

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NHL Playoffs 2012: New Jersey Devils Face Most Favorable First-Round Matchup

The New Jersey Devils' win in Detroit on Wednesday night marked a number of milestones for the Devils.

It was the thirteenth 100-point season in Devils' history, it was also New Jersey's first win in Detroit since 1996, one year after sweeping the Red Wings to win their first ever Stanley Cup.

Martin Brodeur also claimed a notable accomplishment by changing history once more. Brodeur won his 30th game of the season, the fourteenth time he has done so in his career, passing  Patrick Roy's previous record. 

Most importantly the Devils secured the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Usually not having home ice advantage puts a team at a disadvantage, but the Devils would beg to differ. 

Next week in the first round of the playoffs, the Devils will square off against the winner of the Southeast Division. The third seed will be decided this Saturday between Washington and Florida. Florida only needs an overtime loss, or one point, to secure their first-ever Southeast Division title. 

Both the Caps and Panthers will come into the playoffs as the NHL's only two teams with a negative goal differential. The Panthers have slumped down the stretch and have been crawling into the playoffs. The Capitals have miraculously muscled their way in after a very disappointing season by their own standards.

The loser of the indirect match up will have to face the first-seeded New York Rangers. While nobody wants to play the Rangers in the first round, the Capitals might be interested by the prospects of New York—whom they have beaten twice in the playoffs during the Ovechkin era—rather than inviting New Jersey to home ice. 

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