New Jersey Devils head coach Peter DeBoer understands the hype surrounding his team's meeting with the New York Rangers in the 2012 NHL Playoff Eastern Conference Finals. Not only is a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals at stake in a series that begins Monday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) at Madison Square Garden, but so are bragging rights between the two regional rivals.
"I am excited it's the Rangers. Anybody that coaches or plays wants to play your main rival type of situation. So I don't think it gets any better than that," DeBoer said in a conference call prior to the opening of the series. " I think we're very excited that we'll get an opportunity at the best team in the Eastern Conference. They have the most points, and we're going to throw our best at them and see if it's good enough."
The fact that the series pits the Rangers and Devils adds juice for fans and media, and maybe even for the players. DeBoer, though, is clear on what the mission is.
"We're here to win a Stanley Cup. Our season success or failure isn't based around the New York Rangers or beating the New York Rangers," DeBoer said. "It happens they're in our way on our goal to win a Stanley Cup, and we're going to have to get through them to get where we want to go."