|Rangers winger Brandon Prust and Devils winger Eric Boulton fought just two seconds into their game at Madison Square Garden in New York last February. (Ray Stubblebine/Reuters)
The New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils have not met in the Eastern Conference final since 1994, but the rivalry between the clubs has never waned. It was, to say the least, a spirited regular-season series involving the teams in 2011-12.
Here's a glance at how the games broke down:
Dec. 20: Rangers 4 at Devils 1
The Rangers spotted the Devils a 1-0 lead and tied the game late in the second period on a goal by Artem Anisimov before going ahead on a goal by Marian Gaborik early in the third. There's a harbinger of what's to come in later games when New Jersey's Cam Janssen and New York's Mike Rupp fight just three seconds into the game.
Jan. 31: Rangers 3 at Devils 4 (SO)
llya Kovalchuk scored the deciding goal in a shootout after David Clarkson tied the game for the Devils in the final minute. The Rangers opened the scoring and the teams traded goals until Clarkson's tally with 48 seconds left. There was a total of just 12 penalty minutes, but New Jersey's Eric Boulton slashed Rupp (no penalty was called) and later was fined $2,500.
Feb. 7: Devils 1 at Rangers 0
The ugliness went to another level, with Janssen fighting Rupp and Boulton fighting Brandon Prust two seconds into the game. Clarkson scored the lone goal and Martin Brodeur made 30 saves for the shutout. The Rangers thought they tied the game late when Anisimov scored, but Marian Gaborik was whistled for goalie interference.
Feb. 27: Devils 0 at Rangers 2
There were a couple of more fights, though not at the same time and not off the opening faceoff. Carl Hagelin scored the winning goal toward the end of the first period and Ryan Callahan put one into an empty net. Henrik Lundqvist had to make just 13 saves for his eighth shutout of the season.
March 6: Rangers 1 at Devils 4
Two fights occurred in the first period, again at different times, after Kovalchuk snapped a nine-game goal-scoring skid. Derek Stepan tied the game in the second period before the Devils scored three unanswered goals in the third. Brodeur made 25 saves.
March 19: Devils 2 at Rangers 4
This is the one everyone talked about for days after, and lost amid the fighting was the Rangers' clinching of a playoff berth. The line brawl three seconds into the game resulted in a war of words between Devils coach Peter DeBoer and Rangers coach John Tortorella, with DeBoer calling Tortorella a "hypocrite" and Tortorella telling DeBoer to "shut up." In all, there were 22 fighting major in Rangers/Devils games during the regular season.