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Back To The Dance At Last! Devils Clinch First Playoff Birth Since 2018

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This past decade has sucked being a New Jersey Devils fan. When the team was trash back in the 80s (I was a kid then) it was different because we didn’t know any better. But missing the playoffs just twice in twenty two years gave us fans a taste of April hockey we’d grown used to. You know what it’s like when your team makes the postseason every season, it makes the regular season feel like extended pre-season.

My 8 year old self in my 80s Devils jacket. Also that’s Bigfoot.

But ever since the end of the 2012 season it’s been misery. Missing the playoffs year after year (save one) we were reminded of what it was like to have regular season disappointment. Every year there was the hope that “This year will be different! We have Mike Cammalleri!” Or it was Corey Schneider, or Taylor Hall, or PK Subban. The list went on, but so did the missed postseasons. Every year, it was hope, faith, disappointment and maybe next year. Lather, Rinse and Repeat. But this year was different. The team gelled. Dougie Hamilton was healthy and this year bucked the trend of high priced and high hope disappointments after a rough and injury-prone year one. The fan base went from calling for the firing of coach Lindy Ruff to chanting their apologies in unison. Respect.

The team won last night 5-3 at home against the Ottawa Senators but word came down early on that the team clinched a playoff birth after the Florida Panthers lost 4-3 to, of all teams, the New York Rangers. There are still some heavy concerns with the team’s play however having lost 5 of 7 and the Rangers surging, the team is playing to ensure they remain in second place in the Metro by the end of the season with a slim chance to overtake the Carolina Hurricanes for first overall. I’ll discuss this closer to playoff time, but should the Devils and Rangers play in the first round all bets are off regardless of where they land. Home ice advantage won’t exist and there will probably be 10 times the amount of fights in the stands as there will be on the ice.

It’s an accomplishment getting back to the postseason to be sure. The team’s future including Nico Hischier, Jack (and possibly his brother Luke) Hughes, Dawson Mercer and the rest have never tasted NHL postseason before and I have to wonder in Nico and Jack’s case if they had internal doubt if they ever would given how the team has been the last decade. If there was any, it’s erased now. Who knows what the future will hold for this season but this much is certain: The Devils are a playoff team again. About DAMN time.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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