Home > This Day In Devils History > Remembering the 2003 Stanley Cup Championship

Remembering the 2003 Stanley Cup Championship

June 13 is one of those dates most New Jersey Devils’ fans always remember.

On this date eight years ago, the Devils defeated the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 3-0, to win the organization’s third Stanley Cup. It was the third championship in eight years, solidifying their dynastic run. Since that win, they’ve failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs.

This, however, is a happy moment. We won’t dwell on the organization’s playoff shortcomings now. So sit back and relax as we recap the run to the team’s Stanley Cup championship.

New Jersey entered the playoffs the second seed in the conference, three points behind the conference champion Ottawa Senators. The faced off against the seventh-seeded Boston Bruins in the first round. They played them well during the regular season, compiling a 2-1-1 record. The Devils won the first two games at home and pushed Boston to the brink of elimination after a Game 3 win. The Bruins responded in Game 4, chasing Martin Brodeur in a 5-1 victory. The series would come to an end in Game 5, as Brodeur rebounded to blank Boston, 3-0.

Round two brought the Tampa Bay Lightning, a more difficult opponent. The Devils managed just a 1-1-2 record against Tampa Bay, who won the cup the next season. The Devils took the first two at home, including an overtime winner in Game 2. Tampa Bay almost coughed up a 3-0 lead on home ice in Game 3, as the Devils stormed back to tie the game. Dave Andreychuk scored the game winner to break the goosegg.

That would be the highlight for Tampa Bay. The Devils would win the next two games, clinching the series with a triple-overtime win in Game 5.

The Devils advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Senators, a matchup of the top two seeds in the conference. New Jersey hadn’t played well against Ottawa during the regular season, going 1-3-0. The Devils dropped the series opener, 3-2, marking the only opener they’d lose in the playoffs. They bounced back to win the next three games, pushing the Senators to the brink of elimination. Ottawa rallied, winning the next two to force a decisive Game 7. The team’s were tied in the third period, 2-2, until Jeff Friesen struck:

The goal would send the Devils to the Stanley Cup finals and make Friesen a hero in New Jersey.

The Mighty Ducks entered the Finals after a pretty amazing playoff run. They entered the postseason as the seventh seed and swept the defending champion Detroit Red Wings. They beat the top-seeded Dallas Stars in six games, then swept the Minnesota Wild. Brodeur was strong in Games 1 and 2, posting back-to-back 3-0 shutouts. The Ducks went back home and won their two home games, sending the series back to New Jersey tied, 2-2. The Devils then pounded the Ducks, 6-3, in Game 5 to close within one game of the championship. The Ducks returned the favor in Game 6, crushing the Devils, 5-2. It wasn’t an all one-sided affair, as Scott Stevens laid out Paul Kariya with this memorable hit:

Kariya would return and score a goal he later admitted he didn’t remember.

It came down to Game 7 at the Meadowlands. That’s when another Devil, this time Mike Rupp, would etch his name into Devils playoff lore:

Rupp became the first player in history to have his first playoff goal be a Stanley Cup-winning goal. They added two more for insurance, and shut out the Ducks, 3-0, for the championship. J.S. Giguere won the Conn Smythe, and deservedly so. But the Devils had their cup, the dynasty complete.

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