Top 5 Stanley Cup finals of the last 20 years
With Chicago winning the Stanley Cup in thrilling fashion we pause to take a look back at some of the NHL‘s other all-time great final series.
Here’s a list of the top 5 Stanley Cup finals of the last 20 years.
1) New York Rangers vs Vancouver Canucks – 1994
Despite losing the opening game of the series on home ice, the Rangers looked poised to lift the trophy after returning from Vancouver with a solid 3-1 lead, having scored nine goals in two games in Canada. The Canucks, however, were determined to spoil the party and won games five and six to force only the second game seven since 1971.
Having gone 2-0 up, New York’s home crowd was silenced by Vancouver’s Trevor Linden, before Rangers’ captain Mark Messier put his side 3-1 up, a lead they would hold despite a late Canucks goal. Messier showed incredible emotion as he received the trophy, the Rangers’ first in 54 years.
2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs Detroit Red Wings 2009
Having lost against the same opponent in the Stanley Cup final 12 months earlier, the Penguins were determined to avenge defeat and secure their third Stanley Cup trophy. Detroit won the first two games on home ice, only for the Penguins to level the series back in Pittsburgh, before Detroit went back in front again in front of their fans.
The Penguins leveled the series again but with game seven scheduled in Detroit, the Red Wings seemed destined to retain the trophy. However, the Penguins jumped into a 2-0 lead, before Brian Rafalski gave Detroit hope with a third period goal only for Penguins’ goalie Marc-Andre’ Fleury to produce a string of incredible saves in the final minutes of the game as the Penguins became the first team to win the Stanley Cup on the road in game seven in almost 40 years.
3) Colorado Avalanche vs New Jersey Devils – 2001
Having left Boston after two decades during which the Stanley Cup trophy had always eluded him, Ray Borque’s dream seemed destined to be shattered yet again as defending champions Devils took a 3-2 lead back to East Rutherford ahead of game six.
The Avalanche, however, swept New Jersey 4-0, before securing a 3-1 win in game seven in front of their fans, who were treated to one of the most iconic NHL’s picture of the last 15 years, as Avalanche’s captain Joe Sakic handed the trophy straight to Bourque, who had finally crowned his dream.
4) Chicago Blackhawks vs Philadelphia Flyers – 2010
The Flyers went into game six on home ice trailing 3-2 in the series and scored a dramatic equaliser with only minutes left in regulation, before Blackhawks’ goalie Antti Niemi prevented Jeff Carter from scoring what would have been a series-leveling goal.
Patrick Kane then secured himself a place in Blackhawks’ history as he scored the overtime winner to seal his franchise’s first Stanley Cup trophy in 49 years.
5) Tampa Bay Lighting vs Calgary Flames – 2004
After the first four games, nobody thought the series between the Lighting and the Flames would go down as one the best series since the turn of the millennium. Both teams had won one of their games on the road, before the series bursted into life in game five.
Led by Jarome Iginla, who played helmet-less in overtime, the Flames snatched game five in OT, before the Lighting won game six in Calgary in double overtime. In game seven, with Tampa Bay 2-1 up, Lighting’s goalie Nikolai Khabibulin produced a series of outstanding saves to seal his team’s triumph.
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