However, the rivalry really began to take form during the 1993-1994 season, where the Rangers won the Stanley Cup after beating the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals and advancing to beat the Vancouver Canucks. Since that series, fans from New York and New Jersey have restlessly debated who exactly is the best team in the rivalry.
The New Jersey Devils may be considered the little brother of the New York Rangers in the tri-state area, but numbers show that the Devils have emerged as the better team since the Rangers won the Cup in 1994.
According to Hockey Reference, the Devils have posted a record of 795-463-119-67 (remember ties?) compared to the Rangers 672-583-102-87 since the beginning of the 1993-1994 season. Although the Rangers went on to beat the Devils in the Conference Finals that year on the way to a championship, the Devils have won three Stanley Cups and five Eastern Conference championships compared to the zero recorded by New York since that year.
The Devils have also recorded more playoff appearances (16) then the Rangers (10) in that time frame, and New York has suffered through eight losing seasons since their last Stanley Cup victory while New Jersey has only had one (2010-2011 with a 38-39-5 record).
As for the head-to-head rivalry, the Rangers have the better record against the Devils all-time, going 101-84-27-6 since New Jersey came into the league in 1982. However, it is important to note that from February 17, 1997 to March 31, 2001, the Devils went 15-0-8 against the Rangers over a span of four seasons.
The Rangers lead the Devils in playoff series wins, but New Jersey has won two of the last three meetings in the postseason including last year's Conference Finals. The Devils also have the lead in Atlantic Division championships with nine, but the Rangers are currently the defending division champs.
It seems as though the Rangers, who have made the playoffs in six of the past seven years, are trying to keep themselves as the top like the Devils have for so long. New Jersey, who were considered a "Mickey Mouse organization" when they first came into the league, continue to succeed despite a low payroll and "no-name defense".
With negotiations still going on between the NHL and the players, fans will have to sit and wait while games are cancelled and the rivalry is pushed to the wayside in 2012-2013. The Rangers are considered to be heavy favorites this season now that they have Rick Nash, but the Devils did win the Cup after a work stoppage in 1995.
Who do you think is the better team given the evidence? Are the Rangers still the supreme team in the area, or have the Devils emerged as the new dominant force in the rivalry?