#17: 2001 New Jersey Devils
The 2001 New Jersey Devils were as good as any NHL team that didn’t won the Stanley Cup. Had they faced anyone but a team led by an unstoppable force in net, the Devils likely would have won the Stanley Cup. The 2001 Devils, led by Martin Brodeur, took the Colorado Avalanche, led by Patrick Roy, to seven games in one of the most memorable Stanley Cup finals of all time.
The Devils are generally known as being a defensive team that focuses more on stopping goals than scoring them. The 2000-2001 Devils did not get that memo. They were an extremely well-balanced team, leading the NHL in goals scored and finishing tied for fifth in fewest goals allowed.
The Devils had the Selke Trophy winner in John Madden. He consistently dominated his opponent’s top players and allowed guys like Patrik Elias to dominate while facing lesser competition. Elias finished third in the league in points with 96. When you look at the Devils roster, it resembled a “Who’s Who of Hockey” book. Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Brian Rafalski, Scott Niedermayer, John Vanbiesbrouck, and Scott Gomez were among the Devils that made the roster very stacked.
The Devils lost to another stacked team in the Avalanche. They were destined to lose the moment Raymond Bourque decided to return for one more season. There was simply no stopping the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals that season. Give credit to the Devils for coming extremely close to doing so.
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