Breaking Down the Nasty Rivalry Between the Flyers and Devils

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2013

Breaking Down the Nasty Rivalry Between the Flyers and Devils

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    Give the Philadelphia Flyers credit.

    They get an emotional reaction out of nearly every team that plays them.

    They have deep-seated and vicious rivalries with more teams than any other team in sports.

    Most teams have one hated rival and some have two. The Flyers have blood rivalries with at least five teams.

    The cross-state Pittsburgh Penguins are probably No. 1 on the list, and the New York Rangers also enjoy a passionate hatred for the Flyers. How much joy do you think the Washington Capitals get when they beat the Flyers?

    The Flyers became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup when they beat the Boston Bruins in 1974, and they humiliated the Bruins by coming back from an 0-3 deficit to win a 2010 playoff series.

    Then there's the New Jersey Devils. These teams have met in five playoff series, and the individual matchup between former Flyer Eric Lindros and ex-Devil Scott Stevens set the tone for this edgy matchup.

Scott Stevens-Eric Lindros

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    It was Game 7 of the 2000 playoff series between the Devils and the Flyers.

    Flyers superstar Eric Lindros was carrying the puck, and as he crossed the Devils' blue line, Devils defenseman Scott Stevens had Lindros in his sights (video above).

    Stevens, a rock of a man at 6'2" and 215 pounds, had no compunction about taking on Lindros, substantially bigger at 6'4" and 240 pounds.

    Stevens hit Lindros with a brutal shot and separated Lindros from the puck, and perhaps, his senses. Lindros was left quivering on the ice, and it's fair to say that he was never the same player after taking that abuse. He never skated again in a Flyers uniform.

    The hit was one in a memorable history of confrontations between Stevens and Lindros.

1995 Eastern Conference Finals: Devils 4, Flyers 2

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    The first playoff meeting between these two teams came with a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals as the prize for the winners.

    The Devils won two games in Philadelphia to start the series, but the Flyers rebounded with two wins in New Jersey.

    The Devils won the pivotal fifth game when Claude Lemieux's long shot eluded goalie Ron Hextall.

    The Devils closed out the bitter series with a 4-2 win on home ice.

2000 Eastern Conference Finals: Devils 4, Flyers 3

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    The Devils and Flyers met for the second time in postseason history with another berth in the Stanley Cup Finals up for grabs.

    This time, the Flyers seized control of the series. After dropping the opener, the Flyers won the next three and had the Devils on the brink.

    The Devils won the fifth and sixth games to tie the series up. In the seventh game, Patrik Elias scored both goals for the Devils in a 2-1 New Jersey victory.

2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Flyers 4, Devils 1

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    The Flyers have seemingly struggled with their goaltending since Bernie Parent's career came to an end.

    However, they have had flashes of excellent net play, and they got it in their 2004 playoff series with the Devils.

    The Flyers had plenty of grit and nastiness, but it was the goaltending of Robert Esche that was the big difference in their 2004 series with the Devils.

    With the Flyers leading 2-1 going into the fourth game of the series, Esche blanked the Devils in a 3-0 Flyers victory and then held the Devils down again in the fifth and decisive game, a 3-1 Philadelphia triumph.

2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Flyers 4, Devils 1

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    The Flyers repeated their first-round triumph of 2004 over the Devils.

    The Devils had the home-ice advantage, but the Flyers took it away with a win in game one. The Devils bounced back at home to tie the series.

    However, in the third game of the series, Dan Carcillo scored the game-winner in overtime for the Flyers. That appeared to take the heart out of the Devils as Philadelphia won the final two games of the series.

    Chris Pronger's physical play for the Flyers was one of the determining factors in the series.

2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Devils 4, Flyers 1

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    After beating the high-scoring Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, the Philadelphia Flyers were loaded with confidence.

    That confidence only grew when they defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Danny Briere in the first game of the series.

    While the Devils had been done in after losing an overtime game to the Flyers in 2010, they used it as a rallying point in 2012.

    The Devils reeled off four-straight wins, including two wins on enemy ice, to take the series and advance to the conference finals against the New York Rangers.

    The Devils also won that series but lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Los Angeles Kings.