It was about 18 years ago this week that the Rangers and New Jersey Devils faced off in what could arguably be the best playoff series between two teams in NHL history.
Fast forward to today, and only one player from either of those teams is still in the league: Martin Brodeur, who was a rookie the year the Rangers defeated the Devils in double-overtime of Game 7, 2-1, on Stephane Matteau's famous wrap-around.
Brodeur, now 40, will face the Rangers again in the Eastern Conference Finals starting Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
"I guess it's kind of amazing when you look at the amount of years in between the two series," Brodeur said of the 1994 series and this year's upcoming matchup, in an interview with the NHL.
"I think it's going to be pretty chaotic," Brodeur said of the way the media will handle the cross-river rivalry series. "But I think a lot of things have changed since '94 as far as the media is concerned and the way people handled them and the way you conduct yourself.
Brodeur said the heartbreaking loss in 1994 does not bother him much some 18 years later.
"No, I grew from that," he said. "I think — it hurt, no doubt about that. I never hide it that it did affect me. I think I was the first one to say that was probably one of the toughest losses I ever had. But, if I didn't have that loss maybe I wouldn't have become who I became or even our organization. It's not just myself, and I think sometimes you need to hit the hurdles before you're able to go over them pretty easily. And I think that was one of them in '94."
Brodeur dominated the Rangers in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, but has struggled against them since the lockout and the emergence of Henrik Lundqvist. The last success he's had against the Rangers was in 2006, when the Devils swept the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals. The Rangers defeated the Devils, 4-1, in 2008.
The all-time leader in wins, though, said that success will not have any effect this year.
"I think different years, different teams and different results, and we're definitely looking at some success this season," Brodeur said. "But you always look at matchups you had in the past as far as the organization is concerned. And not many guys, I don't know if there's five to maybe seven guys that were there three or four years ago when we played them. There's not many guys. So it's new."
Although Rangers-Devils is the marquee matchup, the sub-plot of the series will no doubt be Brodeur-Lundqvist.
"Well, I mean, he's a Vezina candidate," Brodeur said of Lundqvist. "He's the one that's been — I don't know, he's unbelievable. He is lately. He's kind of the top goalie in the NHL right now. And I think I was in that position once. Played against Patrick [Roy], played against Dominik Hasek, I played against all the guys that maybe, you know, the top years in their career, but for me it's kind of nice to be able to compete against them, regardless of what's going to happen."
Lundqvist has gone 23-6-5 against Brodeur, and Brodeur believes Lundqvist is the reason for that record.
"I don't know how many times he's shut us down and played so well. I didn't think I played that bad, and against the Rangers, I think he's played really well.
Finally, Brodeur said he watched Game 7, and believes the better team won.
"[The Rangers] played really well," he said. "I think we're playing the best team. We're playing the Rangers, the best team in that series. They won. They won it and they were the best team all year. So, for us, it's just a great opportunity to do something great."
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia