EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -Never has the Stanley Cup felt more at home than in the New Jersey swamp.
The Devils, riding the greatest home-ice advantage in NHL playoffs history and a goal from one of the unlikeliest Game 7 stars ever, ended the Anaheim Mighty Ducks’ remarkable postseason run and won the Cup with a 3-0 victory Monday night.
Mike Rupp, who hadn’t appeared in a playoff game until being called on in Game 4, scored the first goal and set up Jeff Friesen for the other two. Friesen scored five goals in the series, all at home.
The Devils swept all four games at home — all with the second period proving decisive — in the first finals since 1965 and only the third overall in which the home team won every game. The Ducks rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to force a Game 7 by winning all three games in Anaheim.
‘‘It’s been a bumpy ride, with a great deal of adversity,’’ Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said.
Never has the home-ice edge been more important to a Stanley Cup winner. The Devils were a record 12-1 at home, allowing only 13 goals. They outscored the Ducks 15-3 in four games in New Jersey, all decided by three goals.
‘‘We feel really at ease playing in our own building. The only reason we won the Stanley Cup is because we were so dominant in our own building,’’ said Brodeur, who turned aside 24 shots in his third shutout of the series, all at home.
The Devils’ John Madden credited coach Pat Burns with establishing the need to win at home.
‘‘It starts with Pat,’’ Madden said. ‘‘Previously our record at home was terrible. But he said we were going to compete hard and play hard . . . in our building.’’
And who says there wasn’t a triple crown winner this year?
The Devils, despite lacking the huge payroll and plethora of stars that Detroit has, won their third Stanley Cup in nine seasons — matching the Red Wings for the most since the Edmonton Oilers won their fifth Cup in 1990.
‘‘This makes up for that bad time against the Colorado Avalanche,’’ said Devils captain Scott Stevens. The Devils would have had a fourth Cup if they hadn’t lost a 3-2 series lead and the Cup to Colorado in 2001.
Brodeur outdueled Jean-Sebastien Giguere, whose remarkable goaltending earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs. He was only the fifth player to win the Conn Smythe on the losing team and first since Philadelphia’s Ron Hextall in 1987.
Giguere never smiled as he accepted the MVP trophy to the boos of the New Jersey fans and the applause of the Devils players, immediately leaving the ice in tears. He was almost in tears even before the game ended.
‘‘It’s tough to lose like that,’’ Giguere said. ‘‘It was really tough to see them (the Devils) cheer. . . . Like I said, this is not the one you want. You want the big silver one.’’
Brodeur said Giguere deserved the award and ‘‘I got the one I wanted.’’
After both goalies enjoyed strong first periods, Rupp scored the pivotal first goal that has proven so important, with the Devils going 11-0 when they score first.
Only 2:22 into the second period, Scott Niedermayer’s shot from the blue line was deflected by Rupp between Giguere’s pads.