The New Jersey Devils are heading back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-18 season, and they can thank the New York Rangers — in a way — for getting them in.
The Devils needed to either beat the Ottawa Senators or get the Pittsburgh Penguins to lose to Washington or the Florida Panthers to lose to the Rangers. With the Devils in the midst of a 1-1 game against Ottawa news came down that the Rangers had beaten the Panthers 4-3 in regulation. The Devils clinched their spot in the postseason.
When the @NJDevils clinch a playoff berth on home ice >>>— Prudential Center (@PruCenter) March 26, 2023
Let’s Go Devils 😍 pic.twitter.com/jFBqK0s3JA
The Devils, wearing throwback green and red trim jersey’s, accounted for four of the games next six goals as the Devils beat the Senators 5-3 to formalize their stamp to the postseason.
We. Just. Clinched.— x - New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) March 25, 2023
Devils fans, you know what to do…#NJDevils | @CitizensBank pic.twitter.com/zDORfDf4Oq
Jack Hughes got the party started with his 40th goal of the year on a power play to tie the game at one. Jesper Bratt and Dawson Mercer followed with goals in the early stages of the second period to put the Devs up 3-1.
After Ottawa scored a pair of unanswered goals, the Devils took the lead right back when Dougie Hamilton scored his 19th goal of the year to make it 4-3 Jersey. Tomas Tatar added an empty netter at the end to ice it.
With a little over a week to go in the regular season, the Devils are only two points behind Carolina for first place in the Metro Division.
Meanwhile, the Rangers defeated the Panthers 4-3, while the Islanders were blanked by Buffalo 2-0.