Rangers-Devils renew rivalry, Cup berth on line

NEW YORK - (AP) - It's been 18 years since Stephane Matteau forever etched his name into hockey history with a wraparound goal that launched the New York Rangers-New Jersey Devils rivalry well beyond just a common border war.

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Matteau ended Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference finals with an unlikely goal in double overtime, beating goalie Martin Brodeur and the Devils and sending the Rangers toward the final step of ending a 54-year Stanley Cup curse.

The intensity and animosity has only grown over the past two decades. The Devils recovered well from the disappointment of losing such an important series to their so-called "big brothers," and went on to win the Stanley Cup three times between 1995 and 2003, with another finals loss mixed in.

The Rangers haven't come close to matching that run of success. This is New York's first appearance in the conference finals since 1997 - a 4-1 series loss to Philadelphia.

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