NHL: Ranking the Top-10 Goals in New Jersey Devils History
Over the 30 years of New Jersey Devils hockey, there have been a number of memorable moments and big-time goals. Whether it was an overtime thriller, a regular season dramatic finish or a Stanley Cup winner, the Devils have had their fair share of drama.
Randy McKay, Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique have all placed their name in history over the years, but only certain goals make the cut over the rest. Here are the top-10 goals in New Jersey Devils history.
10. Brian Gionta Opens Prudential Center with a Goal
Not the most beautiful goal and not the most dramatic, but this list starts off with the first ever goal at the Prudential Center.
Former Devil Brian Gionta hits the skates of, ironically, Anton Volchenkov, scoring the first goal ever at New Jersey's new home in Newark.
Whether or not it is the best ever, the first goal at your home arena will be remembered forever, and that title officially goes to Brian Gionta.
9. Patrik Elias Becomes Franchise Leader in Goals
On December 17, 2011, Devils forward Patrik Elias broke a 3-3 tie against the Montreal Canadians to become the franchise leader in goals scored with 348.
Off of a turnover, long-time teammate Petr Sykora set up Elias on a three on zero to help him pass to John MacLean for the record goal. It was his second goal of the game, as he tied the record earlier in the first period.
Elias currently has scored 361 goals in his career and will return to the Devils in 2012-2013.
8. Mike Rupp in Game 7 of 2003 Stanley Cup Final
With the superb goaltending of both Martin Brodeur and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, it was no surprise that Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final would be low-scoring.
Mike Rupp scored the first goal of the game early in the second period off of a deflection, and it ultimately turned out to be the series-clinching goal. Jeff Friesen went on to score two goals later in the game, but it was Rupp that netted the deciding score.
This was Rupp's only goal of the 2002-2003 Stanley Cup playoffs, but it turned out to be the biggest of his career
7. Don Lever Scores First Goal in Team History
The video shows how old this goal is, but it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable. On October 5, 1982, Don Lever scored the first goal ever by the New Jersey Devils in a 3-3 tie against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Meadowlands.
Rocking the green and red jerseys that we now consider "retro," Lever took a pass off of a deflection and buried the puck into the back of the net. Lever went on to score 23 goals during the 1982-1983 season, but none were bigger than this.
6. Martin Brodeur Scores Goal in 1997 Playoffs
We know that Martin Brodeur will go down in history as the greatest goaltender of all time, but even a future Hall of Fame goaltender has some tricks up his sleeve.
In 1997, up by two goals against the Montreal Canadiens, Brodeur took the puck and aimed straight for the opposition's empty net. What happened after was the goaltender's first goal of his career and one of the most memorable game calls in the team's history.
Brodeur is one of two goaltenders to ever score twice in their career, although Brodeur's other goal came as a result of a defensive mistake. Either way, the memories continue to build with the long-time Devil.
5. Sergei Brylin Ices the 1995 Stanley Cup Final
Sergei Brylin will always be a fan favorite, but one of his more memorable goals came in Game 4 of the 1995 Stanley Cup Final.
Already up three games to none against Detroit and holding a 3-2 lead in the third period, Brylin took a rebound in front of the net and put the game away from the Devils. Having a two-goal lead on Detroit late in the game put all the momentum on the Devils side, and the goal put the Meadowlands into an absolute frenzy.
4. Henrique! It's Over!
The greatest moment of the 2012 Stanley Cup run comes in at No. 4.
In a 2-2 tie in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Adam Henrique found a loose puck in front of the net and eliminated the New York Rangers to go to the Stanley Cup Final.
Doc Emrick made the historical call for NBC at the Prudential Center, and Henrique ended what was arguably the best game ever held in their home in Newark. The goal forever ended the comparisons to them in 1994.
3. Devils Make the Playoffs for First Time in History
It's always entertaining hearing Gary Thorne call an NHL game, and John MacLean made sure that he had something to be excited about.
On April 3, 1988, MacLean scored an overtime goal against the Chicago Blackhawks to send the "Mickey Mouse Organization" to the playoffs for the first time in history. MacLean went on to set many of the Devils scoring records before Patrik Elias came along, bu this was one of his greatest goals.
2. Scott Niedermayer Shifts Momentum in the 1995 Stanley Cup Final
There's a reason why Scott Niedermayer's No. 27 hangs from the rafters in Prudential Center.
Back at the young age of 21 (scary thought), Niedermayer skated the length of the ice and split three defensemen to find the net. The goal tied the game at two and silenced the fans in Detroit, giving New Jersey the momentum to win the critical Game 2 on the road.
Some people say that this was one of his greatest goals, and others say that goal won them the Stanley Cup in 1995. Either way, it is one of the best that the Devils have ever seen.
1. Jason Arnott in Overtime
This is a no-brainer for No. 1 of top memorable goals.
Tied 1-1 in double overtime of Game 6, Patrik Elias made an incredible pass to Jason Arnott who cut in front and put a shot in the net, sending the Devils to their second ever Stanley Cup Championship.
There have been efforts to rekindle that magic over the years in New Jersey, but Arnott's other stints didn't match up to the chemistry that he had with the team in 2000.
While there have been a number of great goals in the past, this is my top 10. What did I miss? What do you think?