- Last Updated: 8:43 AM, May 13, 2012
- Posted: 1:58 AM, May 13, 2012
Being an former Capitals player wasn’t even a consideration. Devils winger Dainius Zubrus says Rangers-Devils is what the hockey world wanted, and got.
“There’s no need for buildup. It’s already there,” Devils winger Dainius Zubrus told The Post last night after the Rangers scored a 2-1 win in Game 7 to eliminate the Capitals to set up a sixth Battle of the Hudson, which opens tomorrow at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s good for hockey, good for the fans, and good for everyone else,” Zubrus said. “A lot of people around here wanted this.
“Since the day I arrived in New Jersey, I sensed that this is The Rivalry. And I like that stuff.”
The Devils have beaten the Rangers once in their five meetings, sweeping them in 2006. The Rangers won in 1992, 1994, 1997 and 2008.
This year, the Rangers finished seven points ahead of the Devils. New Jersey was 3-3 in the regular season series, while the Rangers were 3-2-1.
“It’s going to be tough. There’s a reason why they finished where they did,” Zubrus said.
The Devils have been off since ousting the Flyers on Tuesday, and have played just 12 games, compared with the Rangers’ 14. Dating back to the regular season, Jersey is 14-4 in its last 18 games.
“I’d like to think we’re at least as good as they are. But that’s to be proven. We’re a good team, and there’s a reason why only the two of us are left from our conference,” Zubrus said.
David Clarkson, who has been clutch for the Devils throughout the playoffs, said before the Rangers’ Game 7 win that he didn’t care who they played. But he has had success against the Blueshirts.
Clarkson led the Devils with three goals against the Rangers in their 3-3 regular-season series, including two game-winners and an overtime-forcer (shootout victory).
With the fireworks that erupted during the regular season, the opening faceoff fights in three games, the words bandied by the coaches, and the fervor of the fans, this series has the chance to be an all-timer. It is the first time since that epic of 1994 that these teams have met this close to the Stanley Cup finals.
* Anton Volchenkov and Marek Zidlicky joined team in lengthy practice yesterday for the first time since both were injured in Game 5 against the Flyers on Tuesday. Volchenkov said he had his wind knocked out of him by sandwich hit from Zac Rinaldo and Sean Couturier, while Zidlicky may have suffered whiplash type muscle strain when decked by Wayne Simmonds with forearm to back of neck.