It should come as no surprise, but the discussion in the press room at the Prudential Center before Monday's game between the Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins centered around the Giants' remarkable victory in Super Bowl XLII.
And since I'm fond of sports analogies, the Giants' stunning march to the championship reminded me of the Devils' improbable run to their first Stanley Cup in 1995.
The Giants' 17-14 triumph over the previously perfect Patriots was their 11th in a row away from home. The '95 Devils established an NHL record by posting 10 road victories on their way to the Cup.
Keyed by a ferocious pass rush, the Giants' defense shut down the most prolific offense in NFL history. Thirteen years ago, the Devils relied on a stifling neutral-zone trap to sweep away the Detroit Red Wings, a team that boasted no fewer than six Hall of Famers.
The defeated Patriots were coached by the legendary Bill Belichick, a winner of multiple championships who will end up in the Hall of Fame; the vanquished Red Wings were coached by Scotty Bowman, the winner of multiple championships who was
already in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Finally, the jury's still out, but it looks like Super Bowl XLII established Eli Manning as a player for the ages -- at least in the New York area. The same could be said of the Devils' first Stanley Cup for Martin Brodeur.
It's gotta be the writers' strike
That's the only excuse I could find for the Devils' lack of success this season against the Rangers and Islanders.
Beating the daylights out of teams like the Los Angeles Kings does little to assuage the frustration associated with the Devils' 0-7-3 record against the teams from the wrong side of the Hudson.
You can try to ignore the 0-4-1 mark against the Islanders because, seriously, who roots for them?
But 0-3-2 against the Rangers? That's gonna leave a mark. And what makes those losses worse is that the Rangers have beaten the Devils at their own game, allowing only four goals in those five contests.