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Poll: Are the New Jersey Devils the most entertaining team left in the playoffs?

May 9, 2012, 1:52 PM EDT

Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

I asked the above question last night on Twitter after the Devils had eliminated the Flyers, and the replies I got from my tens and tens of followers were practically unanimous.

“Yes and I am flabbergasted by that.” — @BAR_DOWN

“100% yes, and it’s not close. At least 3 goals in 7 straight games.” — @ComfortableCam

“Unfreakingbelievable we’re even contemplating such a question.” – @Hibackhand

Nobody called me crazy for asking.

Of the four other remaining teams — the Capitals, Rangers, Coyotes and Kings – only Los Angeles has managed to score consistently in the playoffs.

Now, to be fair to the Capitals, Rangers and Coyotes, the Devils got to play Philadelphia, a team that doesn’t mind trading chances. (Or, against New Jersey, just give them up.)

But what does it say that we’re even wondering whether a team that’s become synonymous with defensive hockey could be the most exciting one of the five left?

Do we credit New Jersey for acquiring a player like Ilya Kovalchuk and employing a slightly more up-tempo style? Remember, signing Kovalchuk to an enormous contract was more than just a hockey move. In many ways, it was a business deal. Owner Jeff Vanderbeek wanted to provide a more entertaining product for the fans in hopes of improving attendance that had continued to languish despite three Stanley Cup championships since 1995.

Or, is it less about the Devils than the trend towards defensive hockey that emphasizes protecting leads, not building on them.

Or, is New Jersey still boring and I’m completely off base here?

 

  1. biffnasty - May 9, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Nj hockey Is painful to watch. Slow and boring

    • giantsfan428 - May 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      I don’t see how. They consistently score with an array of players (Bryce Salvador hadn’t scored at all in the regular season yet has 2 goals in the playoffs). They score from the point, they get their fair share of odd man rushes, and they’re solid on the boards in the offensive zone. Not to mention they play a very up-tempo style of defense; against Philly they were constantly on the forecheck, forcing the Flyers to make mistakes and turnovers. I’d rather watch THAT than the Rangers sitting back and blocking shots every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      • haterzgonahate - May 9, 2012 at 3:11 PM

        last night’s game was painful to watch… incredible execution by the Devils… but yes.. painful to watch. if they plan on winning games playing like they did last night (buy suffocating the opposing teams offense in the nuetral zone) then yes… the entertainment factor will take a huge hit.

        i don;t understand this notion that goals=entertainment… i’d rather see plenty of offence countered by great goaltending on both ends.. now that is exciting playoff hockey. 1-1 games in triple overtime… that is playoff hockey at it’s best

      • underthefish - May 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        You’re saying their game was painful to watch because they had good defense? The entire series they had great defense and great offense, and that made the game painful? Don’t blame the Devils for being good on both sides, blame the Flyers for sucking. I don’t see how you can watch a team play great on both offense and defense and then say that THEY are the boring ones.

  2. Stiller43 - May 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Still painful to watch

  3. stakex - May 9, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    The fact that the Devils scored a lot in the 2nd round is virtually meaningless. The Flyers had by far the worst defense of any team in the second rounds, and as such the Devils looked like they were a more wide open team then they actually are. In a series against the Caps/Rangers the Devils wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as they were this round. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even be the most entertaining team against either of them.

  4. dallasstars9 - May 9, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    For me, the entertainment value lies not just with the goals, but with what happens between the goals. A 2-1 game can be just as entertaining as a 5-4 game with great hits and even greater saves. With that in mind, I think the Kings are the most entertaining team left in the playoffs.

  5. bdavis14 - May 9, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Yes dallasstars9! I would say the kings are the most entertaining as well. How could they not be just be Vancouver in 5 the series was great, good scoring hitting and fighting. Then we close out the blues in four! With good scoring and hitting! Now comes phx an I’m hoping it’s only goin to get that much better. Mike Richards is being the leader he was in Philly getting important goals at the right time. Kings scored in the first min in game 2! Kings for me! Haha not only cuz I’m a kings fan haha!

    • dallasstars9 - May 9, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      They’re also the best looking team left in the playoffs. Always liked that 3rd jersey and glad they went to it permanently.

  6. biffnasty - May 9, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    The devils scored goals bc Bryz is by far the worst goalie in the playoffs. He can’t even clear the puck without it going into the net

  7. fruitsareedible - May 9, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I’m going with the Kings only because I was completely shocked at how entertaining the Kings and Blues series was, and that had everything to do with the Kings. It’ll be interesting if they can keep it up with Phoenix. Phoenix’ clamp down game isn’t that great (just looking at the number of leads they’ve given up late in the 3rd), so even if the Coyotes get up early, I don’t see them being able to shut down the Kings for a huge portion of the game like a lot of other teams left are capable of doing (and do do). It was surprising to see the Kings continually push forward against the Blues, even with a lead, I didn’t notice them doing that as much against Vancouver, probably because they were more scared of giving up odd man rushes to Vancouver than they were to the Blues.

  8. vindicatus - May 9, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Well, of course you’re not going to find the Devils entertaining if you’re watching them dominate your team, or if you’re a know-nothing, bandwagon-hopping hockey “fan” who merely parrots the same old outdated garbage about dead puck era traps. I’m obviously biased, but the Devils have it all: balanced scoring, wily veterans like Elias, new heroes like Henrique, stars like Kovy and Parise, a solid defensive squad, a future HOF goalie who needs no introduction, dedicated coaching staff that conduct themselves with class, and an evil genius GM! Oh, and despite 3 cups in 30 years, they are the perennial underdogs. What’s not to love?

    LET’S GO DEVILS!!!!

  9. tackledummy1505 - May 9, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Wait a minute, people actually like watching the trap? Lol it’s probably the same number of fans they have at their home games lol

  10. tackledummy1505 - May 9, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Not to mention all the penalties they got away with. Wait until they play the Rangers and they get called with the things they got away with against the Flyers. It’ll be funny to hear about.

  11. dawglb - May 12, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    I would not say entertaining, but most well rounded. They proved in the Flyers series that they can put 35 shots on goal and limit teams to under 8 a period. If Marty is “on”, they will be tough to beat.

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