A year ago, the New Jersey Devils failed to make the NHL playoffs for the first time in 14 years. It was a down time for the proud and storied franchise, one that had captured three Stanley Cup championships since 1995.

Now, with a new coach, a new system, some new players and some late-season confidence, the Devils are making their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since winning the Cup in 2003.

Adam Henrique snapped a 2-2 tie just 1:03 into the overtime session, leading the Devils to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers to capture the best-of-seven NHL Eastern Conference championship series, four games to two.

With the win, the Devils advance to the Stanley Cup finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Game 1 of the finals will be played Wednesday night at the Prudential Center in Newark.

After regulation ended at 2-2, the Devils made a mad scramble in front early in OT. Ilya Kovalchuk kept the puck alive with two pokes in front of Rangers goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist, but Henrique stayed with the play and tucked it past Lundqvist for the game-winner.

"I couldn't see the puck," said Henrique, who also scored an overtime game-winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against Florida. "Henrik was down, and the play just happened to come back to my path. I was able to get it there. It's something I could only dream of. I'm still in amazement."

Lundqvist also didn't see the puck on the final play.

"It's a disappointing feeling, an empty feeling," said Lundqvist, who made 26 saves. "They're a good team, and they deserved to win the series. I don't know what happened on that play. It was a mad scramble. I just lost sight of it. I just hoped they would have missed it."

Kovalchuk, who scored a power-play goal in the first period, just wanted to keep the puck alive.

"We had to find a way to win," Kovalchuk said. "The puck was just lying there, and I kept at it. Adam was there to get the final rebound because he never gave up on the play."

Unsung hero Ryan Carter also scored a first-period goal for the Devils.

Ruslan Fedotenko and captain Ryan Callahan scored for the Rangers in the second period to tie the game, and the teams played a scoreless third period, heading to overtime.

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced.

The Devils' relentless pursuit to the puck, which they had all series long, led to the first goal. Stephen Gionta, the smallest man on the ice who played in only one regular season game before the playoffs, poked the puck ahead of Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto and brought the play toward Lundqvist, who stopped the original shot, but Carter scored yet another goal on a rebound with 9:55 remaining in the first period.