Devils, Rangers aren't carrying any baggage

May, 14, 2012
5/14/12
8:02
AM ET
The New Jersey Devils face off with the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals Monday night in a series between neighboring rivals.

The matchup must be a pleasant surprise for both teams, who have the luxury of sleeping in their own beds after home and away games. But it’s not the shortest distance between two playoff opponents -- there have been several series with a distance of 0.0 miles, a figure that would make John Blutarski proud. Here’s a list of the shortest travel distances in postseason matchups in major pro sports:

NHL: New Jersey Devils (Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.) vs. New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden, Manhattan): 13.5 miles -- 2012, 2008. The Rangers won a first-round series 4-1 in 2008. The Devils' only win in that series came in overtime.

NHL: New Jersey Devils (Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J.) vs. New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden): 8.7 miles -- 2006, 1997, 1994, 1992. The Devils won 4-0 in the first round in '06. The Rangers won 4-1 in the second round in ‘97 and 4-3 in the first round in ’92. In ’94, the Rangers famously won the Eastern Conference finals 4-3 in the Mark Messier "guarantee" series, en route to winning the team's first Stanley Cup in 54 years. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who was a rookie in 1991-92, has played in every postseason series between these teams.

NBA: New Jersey Nets (Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J.) vs. New York Knicks (Madison Square Garden): 8.7 miles -- 2004, 1994, 1983. The Nets won 4-0 in the first round in ’04. The Knicks won 3-1 in the first round in ’94 and 2-0 in the first round in ’83.

MLB: New York Mets (Shea Stadium, Queens) vs. New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium, Bronx): 9.1 miles -- 2000. The Yankees won the World Series 4-1 in MLB’s first crosstown championship since 1956.

NHL: New York Islanders (Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.) vs. New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden): 28.1 miles -- 1994, 1990, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1979, 1975: The Rangers won 4-0 in the first round in ’94, 4-1 in the first round in ’90 and 4-2 in the Campbell Conference finals in ‘79. The Isles won 3-2 in the first round in ’84, 4-2 in the second round in ’83, 4-2 in the second round in ’82, 4-0 in the Campbell Conference finals in ’81 and 2-1 in the first round in ’75.

MLB: Brooklyn Dodgers (Ebbets Field) vs. New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium, Bronx): 16.4 miles – 1956, 1955, 1953, 1952, 1949, 1947, 1941. The Dodgers won the ’55 World Series, 4-3. The Yankees won the other six World Series matchups: 4-3 in ’56, 4-2 in ’53, 4-3 in ’52, 4-1 in ’49, 4-3 in ’47 and 4-1 in ’41.

MLB: New York Giants (Polo Grounds, Manhattan) vs. New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium, Bronx): 1.0 miles -- 1951, 1937, 1936, 1923. The Yankees won all four of these World Series: 4-2 in ’51, 4-1 in ’37, 4-2 in ’36 and 4-2 in ’23.

MLB: New York Giants (Polo Grounds) vs. New York Yankees (Polo Grounds): 0.0 miles -- 1922, 1921. The Giants won both these World Series: 4-0 in ’22 and 5-3 in ’21.

[Editor's note: Thanks to commenter ScooterBugDaddyNJ for pointing out the initial omission of the following item.]

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals (Sportsman's Park) vs. St. Louis Browns (Sportsman's Park): 0.0 miles -- 1944. The Cardinals won the World Series 4-2 in the Browns' only appearance in the Fall Classic.

NHL: New York Americans (Madison Square Garden) vs. New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden): 0.0 miles -- 1938. The Amerks won the series 2-1, with one victory coming in double-overtime and the other in quadruple-overtime.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens (The Forum) vs. Montreal Maroons (The Forum): 0.0 miles -- 1928, 1927. The Maroons won a two-game, first-round series on aggregate goals, 3-2, in ‘28. The Canadiens won a two-game, first-round series on aggregate goals, 2-1, in ‘27.

MLB: Chicago Cubs (West Side Park) vs. Chicago White Sox (South Side Park): 4.7 miles -- 1906. The White Sox won the World Series 4-2 by beating a Cubs team that went 116-36 during the regular season.

The Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers have a chance to play an entire series under the same roof at Staples Center if they meet in the NBA Western Conference finals this season. The teams almost met up in 2006, but the Lakers lost to Phoenix 4-3 in the first round, missing out on a chance to face the Clippers in the conference semifinals.

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