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Awesome / The Stanley Cup

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    In General 
  • Whenever a team clinches the Stanley Cup on a goal scored in sudden-death overtime.
  • Any time an eventual Cup winner comes back from a 3-0 or 3-1 series deficit (regardless of whether it happened in the finals or not). So far, six teams have achieved this: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (trailed the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals), the 1990 Edmonton Oilers (trailed the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 in the Division Semifinals), the 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins (trailed the Washington Capitals 3-1 in the Division Semifinals), the 2000 New Jersey Devils (trailed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 in the Conference Finals), the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks (trailed the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in the Conference Semifinals), and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings (trailed the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in the first round).

     1926 and Earlier 
1915 Vancouver Millionaires
  • This was the first Stanley Cup Finals between the champions of the National Hockey Association (the precursor to today’s NHL) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (based in the Pacific Northwest). The Vancouver Millionaires (of the PCHA) become the first West Coast team to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the Ottawa Senators (of the NHA).

1917 Seattle Metropolitans

  • The Seattle Mets of the PCHA becoming the first American-based team to win the Stanley Cup, defeating the defending champion Montreal Canadiens of the NHA three games to one.

1925 Victoria Cougars

  • The Cougars were the last non-NHL team to win the Stanley Cup, defeating the defending champion Montreal Canadiens three games to one. It was also the last team from the West to win the Stanley Cup until the Edmonton Oilers 59 years later.

1926 Montreal Maroons

  • Nels Stewart leading all players in scoring during the regular season (34 goals, 42 points), becoming the first rookie to win the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.
  • The Maroons were also the first team to win the Stanley Cup in the legendary Montreal Forum.note 

     1927 Ottawa Senators 
  • Frank Nighbor, Cy Denneny, and team captain Georges Boucher, who had also been there when Ottawa won the Cup in 1920, 1921, and 1923, were the only three Sens to be a part of all four of Ottawa’s Stanley Cup victories during the 1920s, effectively making them the NHL’s first dynasty.
  • Sens goaltender Alec Connell allowing only four goals in six games of the postseason, with two of his three victories being shutouts.note  His playoff GAA of 0.60 would only be reached once more over the next nine decades and change.

     1928 New York Rangers 
  • The Rangers would win the Stanley Cup despite having to play the entire series in Montreal: the circus had taken over Madison Square Garden (something that would happen quite a bit over the Rangers’ first four decades of existence whenever they made the playoffs).
  • Forty-four-year-old Lester Patrick, then coach of the New York Rangers, making an emergency appearance in goal during game two after their starting goalie Lorne Chabot sustained an eye injury (teams did not carry backup goaltenders back in the day).
  • While he was a member of the losing team, the Maroons’ Clint Benedict posted a record four shutouts during the playoffs. Eleven other goaltenders tied that record over the next seventy-four years before it was finally broken in 2002.note 

     1929 Boston Bruins 
  • The Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup by completely sweeping the postseason, as Boston swept the Montreal Canadiens (the first time these two teams met in the playoffs) in three straight in the semifinals before defeating the New York Rangers in two straight in the Finals. This was also the first finals which had two American teams playing for the Cup.
  • Cecil “Tiny” Thompson allowing only three goals in five games (for a 0.60 GAA) while backstopping the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.

     1930 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Habs goaltender George Hainsworth allowing only six goals in six games with three shutouts during the playoffs (for a 0.75 GAA). He allowed no goals for a 270-minute, eight-second period during that time. He would be the last goalie to have a GAA under 1.00 in the playoffs for over two decades.

     1934 Chicago Black Hawks 

     1936 Detroit Red Wings 
  • Game one of the semifinals between the Wings and the Montreal Maroons is STILL, after over 80 years, the longest game in National Hockey League history. It started at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and ended at 2:25 a.m. the next morning, when the Wings’ Mud Bruneteau scored the lone goal on Maroons’ goaltender Lorne Chabot to win the game, 1‒0, after 116 minutes and thirty seconds of overtime (that’s SIX overtimes).
  • Not only was this the first Stanley Cup for the Detroit Red Wings, but it was the culmination of Detroit being called the “City of Champions,” as both the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions had won the first of their respective championships (the World Series and the NFL Championship) several months earlier (the NBA would not come into existence until the following decade).

     1938 Chicago Black Hawks 
  • The Hawks won the Stanley Cup despite having a record of fourteen wins, twenty-five losses, and nine ties in the regular season, upsetting the Montreal Canadiens in the quarterfinals and New York Americans in the semifinals before defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one, becoming the first team in history to win a championship with a losing record. (The NHL management gave them so little chance that they did not even see fit to ensure the Cup was in Chicago on April 12, the date and location of what proved to be the climactic game four.) This was also the last time a Chicago-based team won a championship at Chicago Stadium until the Chicago Bulls won their second straight NBA title fifty-four years later.

     1939 Boston Bruins 
  • This was the first best-of-seven series in Stanley Cup Finals history, but the Bruins would only need five to knock off the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the semifinals between the Bruins and the New York Rangers did go to seven games, with four of the games needing overtime. Of those four, three of them were won by the Bruins, and each of them were scored by Mel Hill, including the final game, which went into triple overtime (the first game also went into triple overtime).
  • Nine future Hall of Famers were a part of this Cup-winning team: Bobby Bauer, Frank Brimsek (who received his nickname “Mr. Zero” by earning six shutouts in his first seven games and a league-leading 10 shutouts that season), Dit Clapper, Roy Conacher, Bill Cowley, Woody Dumart, Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, and team captain Ralph “Cooney” Weiland.

     1940 New York Rangers 
  • Bryan Hextall, patriarch of the Hextall hockey family (father of forwards Bryan Jr. and Dennis, and grandfather of goaltender Ron {son of Bryan Jr.}), scoring the overtime goal to clinch the Cup for the Rangers against the Leafs.

     1942 Toronto Maple Leafs 
  • The first Stanley Cup Finals in history to go seven games also features the first time ANY team (not just in Stanley Cup Finals history, but sports history in general) came back to win a playoff series from a 3‒0 deficit.

     1944 Montreal Canadiens 
  • In only his second professional season, Maurice Richard set a postseason record of 12 goals, the first player since Newsy Lalonde twenty-five years earlier to score at least 10 goals in the playoffs.
    • Richard’s linemate, Toe Blake, set a postseason record for points with eighteen. Blake would also score the Cup-winning goal in overtime to sweep the Hawks.note 
  • Speaking of Richard, in the second game of the semifinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Rocket would score all five of the Habs’ goals in the team's 5‒1 victory. He was named the first, second, AND third star of the game, the first player to so do.

     1950 Detroit Red Wings 
  • Detroit becomes the first team to clinch the Stanley Cup in sudden-death overtime when Pete Babando (one of the few U.S.-born NHLers at that time) scored at 8:31 of the second overtime in game seven against the New York Rangers.
  • It should also be noted that the Wings won the Stanley Cup that year WITHOUT Gordie Howe, as he suffered a life-threatening head injury during the first game of the playoffs against Toronto.

     1951 Toronto Maple Leafs 
  • Every one of the five games in this series went into overtime, with Bill Barilko clinching the Cup for the Leafs in game five. This turned out to be his last goal, as he would die in a plane crash four months later.note 
    • Barilko was also one of eight players to be a part of Toronto’s four-Cup dynasty (1947‒49 and 1951), alongside Turk Broda, Ted “Teeder” Kennedy (who also won the Cup with Toronto in 1945), Joe Klukay, Howie Meeker, Gus Mortson, Jimmy Thomson, and Harry Watson.

     1952 Detroit Red Wings 
  • The Detroit Red Wings become only the second team in Stanley Cup history to go undefeated in the playoffs. (This was also the origin of the Legend of the Octopus, as the octopus’ eight legs represented the number of wins at the time needed to win the Stanley Cup.) Compare that to their opposition, the Montreal Canadiens, who had to go through a grueling seven-game series against the Boston Bruins to get to the finals.note 
  • Goaltender Terry Sawchuk allowing only five goals during the playoffs, with none of them being on Detroit ice (that’s a 0.63 goals against average). He was also the third goalie to tie Clint Benedict’s record of four single-playoff shutouts.

     1954 Detroit Red Wings 
  • Tony Leswick scoring the Cup-clinching goal in overtime of game seven. No game seven in the finals has gone to overtime since then.

     1955 Detroit Red Wings 
  • This series marked the first time the home team won all seven games in the Finals.
  • In game two, Ted Lindsay scored four goals, the first player ever to do so in a Finals game.
  • The Detroit Red Wings of the early 1950s were perhaps the most dominant team during that time. Besides winning four Stanley Cups in six years, they also won the Prince of Wales Trophy as the regular season champions for seven consecutive seasons (1948‒49 to 1954‒55), a streak that no team is likely to break anytime soon.
  • Nine players and staff were a part of all four championship Red Wing teams during the 1950s: Gordie Howe (who missed the 1950 Finals as noted before), Red Kelly, Ted Lindsay, Marty Pavelich, Marcel Pronovost, John Wilson, general manager Jack Adams (who was also coach of the Wings' championships in 1936, 1937, and 1943), trainer Carl Mattson, and publicity director Fred Huber Jr.

     1956 Montreal Canadiens 
  • This was noteworthy as it was the first of five consecutive Stanley Cups won by Les Canadiens. It was also the first for Hector “Toe” Blake as a coach, and the last for long-time Habs captain Émile “Butch” Bouchard (who missed the last half of the regular season and nearly the entire playoffs due to physical problems, but dressed for the Cup-clinching game).
  • Jean Béliveau led all players in scoring with 12 goals (seven coming in the championship series, a record matched only twice) and 19 points.
  • Besides the aforementioned Béliveau and Bouchard, there were eight other future Hall of Famers on this team: Maurice Richard, his brother Henri Richard (in his rookie season), Bert Olmstead, Bernie Geoffrion, Dickie Moore, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, and Jacques Plante. Montreal management traded Olmstead to Toronto after the 1958 Cup win, but the other eight Hall of Famers (Béliveau, Geoffrion, Harvey, Johnson, Moore, Plante, and the Richard brothers) were part of all five consecutive Cups with Montreal from 1956 to 1960.

     1957 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Maurice Richard scored four goals in game one, tying Ted Lindsay’s record.

     1958 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Maurice Richard, who would celebrate his thirty-seventh birthday the next August and had been kept out of most of the regular-season action by a number of injuries, scores eleven goals in ten games in the playoffs. One is his sixth career playoff overtime goal, at 5:45 of overtime in game five of the Finals, at the Forum, against Boston; it gives the Canadiens a 3‒2 win in the game and a 3‒2 lead in the series.

     1960 Montreal Canadiens 
  • The Habs win their fifth consecutive Stanley Cup by sweeping the Toronto Maple Leafs. Incidentally, this was also their tenth consecutive appearance in the finals. Both records (as of 2019) have yet to be broken.
  • And speaking of five in a row, twelve players were a part of all five Stanley Cup-winning teams during that time: Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Jacques Plante (who became the first goaltender to wear a mask on a regular basis during this season), Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard (who retired after this season and had captained the team since 1956), Jean-Guy Talbot, and Bob Turner; and of those twelve, Geoffrion, Harvey, Johnson, Moore, Plante, and Maurice Richard also won the Cup in 1953.

     1961 Chicago Black Hawks 
  • In the opening round, the third-place Black Hawks upset the first-place Montreal Canadiens four games to two, effectively ending the Canadiens’ dynasty of the 1950s. The Hawks beat the Red Wings by the same games margin in the Finals to win their first Cup since 1938. (The Habs would not reach the Finals again until 1965.)

     1963 Toronto Maple Leafs 
  • Dick Duff starting the finals in style by scoring twice in the first sixty-eight seconds of game one.

     1964 Toronto Maple Leafs 
  • In game six of the Finals against the Detroit Red Wings, Leafs’ defenceman Bob Baun took a Gordie Howe slapshot on the ankle and had to leave the game. He would return in overtime and scored the winning goal, and would go on to play in game seven despite excruciating pain. After the series, it was revealed that the ankle was broken.

     1965 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Canadiens captain Jean Béliveau wins the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.

     1966 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Detroit goalie Roger Crozier wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs, becoming the first member of the losing team to do so.
  • The Pocket Rocket, Henri Richard, would score the Cup-winning goal in game six just over two minutes into the extra period.

     1967 Toronto Maple Leafs 
  • In the opening round, the Leafs upset the first-place Chicago Black Hawks (which had Triple Crown winner Stan Mikita,note  52-goal scorer Bobby Hull, and had the lowest goals-against average of all six teams in the NHL). This, incidentally, was the last season of the “Original Six” era before six new teams were added for the following year.
  • Eleven players won all four Stanley Cups with the Leafs during the 1960s: George Armstrong, Bob Baun, Johnny Bower, Larry Hillman, Tim Horton, Red Kelly (the only player to win eight Stanley Cups who DIDN’T play for Montreal), Dave Keon (who also won the Smythe this particular year), Frank Mahovlich, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, and Allan Stanley (no relation to the Cup’s namesake Lord Stanley). All those mentioned except Baun, Hillman, and Shack are also members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • The Leafs’ last Stanley Cup to date would have ten future Hall of Famers as a part of its roster: besides those already mentioned, there was also Marcel Pronovost and Terry Sawchuk, who both won Cups with the Detroit Red Wings during the 1950s.

     1968 Montreal Canadiens 
  • While Les Canadiens would sweep the St. Louis Blues in four straight games, all four games were close, with each being decided by only one goal (with games one and three being won in overtime)—in fact, the Blues actually scored the first goals in games one and three and led those games, and in game four, they rallied from an early one-goal deficit to take the lead into the third period. And despite being on the losing team, “Mr. Goalie” Glenn Hall would win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Despite how the playoff system was set up and the fact that they lost, the 1968 Blues are still considered to be one of the best expansion teams ever.
  • This final series was noteworthy as it was the last time Hector “Toe” Blake won the Stanley Cup,note  as he retired less than half an hour after the Habs won the Cup. It was also the first Finals appearance of the man who would go on to break Blake’s record for Stanley Cups won by a coach. That man’s name: Scotty Bowman, head coach of the Blues at that time.

     1969 Montreal Canadiens 
  • While often underappreciated, especially relative to their 1950s and ’70s incarnations, the Montreal Canadiens of the mid-late 1960s are still considered a dynasty, making it to the Stanley Cup finals five consecutive seasons (1965‒69), and winning four out of those five years (the odd year out being against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the Canadian centennial year of 1967). Also, there were fourteen players that were a part of all four championship teams during that time: Ralph Backstrom, captain Jean Béliveau, Yvan Cournoyer, Dick Duff, John Ferguson, Terry Harper, Ted Harris, Jacques Lapèrriere, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles and Jean-Claude Tremblay (who were not related to each other), and Lorne “Gump” Worsley.
  • Serge Savard becoming the first defenceman to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

     1970 Boston Bruins 
  • Bobby Orr’s winning goal in game four to complete the sweep of the St. Louis Blues, giving the Bruins their first Stanley Cup in twenty-nine years. It also gave the ice hockey world one of its most iconic images as the ecstatic Orr tripped over Noel Picard’s outstretched stick and completely left the ice for just long enough to be caught on camera in midair, arms raised in celebration. In 2010, a bronze statue of the airborne Orr was unveiled outside the Bruins’ home arena, TD Garden. It should be noted that Orr also won the Conn Smythe Trophy, in addition to the Hart (for most valuable player in the regular season, his first of three consecutive), Norris (for outstanding defenceman, his third of eight consecutive), and Art Ross (as the NHL’s leading scorer)note  trophies that season. The commentary by Dan Kelly, the Blues’ play-by-play commentator, for the CBS broadcast is the icing on the cake of Orr’s winner:
    Dan Kelly: Westfall rolled it in front, Sanderson tried a shot that was wide, and Keenan cleared it but not out … Bobby Orr … behind the net to Sanderson to ORR!... BOBBY ORR!... SCORES and the Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup!
  • Hearing Fred Cusick, the Bruins' play-by-play commentator, who was commentating the radio broadcast, is even more insane.
    Fred Cusick: Orr fights to keep it in, does, passes it in the corner to Sanderson, back to front...ORR SHOOTS...SCORES! BOBBY ORR FROM SANDERSON, AND WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN THAT! AS THEY BEAT ST. LOUIS FOUR TO THREE! ORR TO SANDERSON, BACK TO ORR, AND THEY GO WILD!

     1971 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Ken Dryden, who only played in six games prior to the playoffs, backstopped the Canadiens to their seventeenth Stanley Cup, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process.note 
  • Hell, the Canadiens winning the Cup that year was itself a Moment of Awesome. The previous year, the Habs had missed the playoffs for only the second time since the start of the Original Six era (and even then, they missed the playoffs by only three goals as they were tied with the Rangers by wins and points), and were a major underdog against the Boston Bruins in the playoffs. How much of an underdog were the Habs against the Bruins? Well, Boston set many records that year, including wins for a single season (57), team points for a single season (121), team goals for a single season (399), number of goals by an individual for a single season (76, by Phil Esposito), and single-season points by each of the major positions: 152 by centre Phil Esposito (also a single-season record), 139 by defenceman Bobby Orr (who also set the single-season assist record with 102), 116 by left wing Johnny “the Chief” Bucyk,note  and 105 by right wing Ken Hodge. It should also be noted that Espo, the Chief, and Hodge were on the same forward line. Anyway, in game two of that series, Montreal was trailing 5‒2 at the start of the third period, and would go on to win the game by scoring FIVE unanswered goals (they ultimately won the series against Boston in seven). The Habs would then defeat the Minnesota North Stars in the semifinals in six before beating the Chicago Black Hawks in seven (and sending Jean Béliveau out in style with his tenth Stanley Cup win as a player; he would go on to win seven more as a team executive). WHEW!!!
  • Game seven of the Finals would have the Canadiens trailing Chicago 2‒0 before the Habs scored three unanswered goals, with Henri Richard scoring both the game-tying goal and the goal that could clinch Cup number 17 for the Habs.
  • Frank Mahovlich, who was traded to Montreal from Detroit during the season and had spent his best years in Toronto with the Canadiens’ Arch-Enemy the Maple Leafs, led all players in goals (14) and points (27) during the playoffs.

     1972 Boston Bruins 
  • Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito led all players in playoff scoring with 24 points apiece. Espo also led the postseason in goals scored, along with his teammates Johnny Bucyk and Ken Hodge with nine goals apiece, and Orr (who also won the Conn Smythe Trophy that year) led all players in assists with 19.
  • Goaltender Gerry Cheevers setting a record of 32 consecutive undefeated games in the regular season, a record that’s yet to be matched.

     1973 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Habs captain Henri Richard (the younger brother of some famous hockey player named Maurice) would win his eleventh Stanley Cup, the most of any hockey player, and tying him with Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics with having the most championships by a single player (also 11) in any sport on the continent.
  • This was also the first Stanley Cup for head coach Scotty Bowman, as well as Hall of Fame players Larry Robinson, Steve Shutt, and a kid named Guy Lafleur.
  • Yvan “Le Roadrunner” Cournoyer set a record for postseason goals with 15, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process.

     1974 Philadelphia Flyers 
  • The Flyers becoming the first team from the 1967 expansion to win the Stanley Cup, sweeping the Atlanta Flames in the first round before going to seven against the New York Rangers in the semis and defeating the Boston Bruins in six games in the finals.
  • Flyers’ captain Bobby Clarke scoring the overtime goal in game two, which was the first time the Flyers won at the Boston Garden since their first game there on November 12, 1967.
  • Flyers goalie Bernie Parent adding to his already impressive season (with a 47‒13‒12 recordnote  a 1.89 GAA — sharing the Vezina Trophy with Tony Esposito of the Chicago Black Hawks — and 12 shutouts) by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy with a 2.02 GAA and two shutouts (the second of which was the 1‒0 win in the Cup-clinching game six).
  • Speaking of the Cup-clinching game six, the Flyers relied on their secret weapon to win the Stanley Cup. No, it wasn’t Bobby Clarke, Rick MacLeish (even though he did score the Cup-clinching goal), or Bill Barber, it was Kate Smith.note 

     1975 Philadelphia Flyers 
  • Bernie Parent winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for the second year in a row (only two other players, both from the Flyers' interstate rivals, have repeated this feat), improving his stats from the previous year by having a 1.89 GAA, and tying the record of four shutouts.

     1976 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Despite being a part of the losing team, Conn Smythe Trophy winner Reggie Leach scored nineteen goals during the playoffs, a record that has only been matched once since then (this includes a five-goal game against the Boston Bruins).
  • Montreal going 12‒1 on the way to their first of four consecutive Stanley Cups, with their only loss coming in the semifinals against the upstart New York Islanders.note  They also set records for wins (58) and points (127) that season.

     1977 Montreal Canadiens 
  • The 1977 Montreal Canadiens are arguably considered to be the greatest team in NHL history, as they lost only eight games on the road to the Stanley Cup (with records of 60 wins and 132 points, the former having been surpassed only twice in the next four-plus decades and the latter being yet to be broken), and they had nine future Hall of Famers on the roster: Jacques Lemaire (who scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime), playoff MVP Guy Lafleur, Yvan Cournoyer (who actually missed the Finals that year due to injury), Steve Shutt, Bob Gainey, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard (who was Acting Captain during the playoffs), Larry Robinson, and Ken Dryden (who had a 1.56 GAA in the playoffs and a record-tying four shutouts). They also only lost twice during the playoffs (both times against the New York Islanders in the semifinals).

     1978 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Guy Lafleur and Larry Robinson led all scorers in the postseason with 21 points apiece. The former led all players in goals with 10, while the latter was named the most valuable player in the playoffs.

     1979 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Despite missing most of the regular season and the playoffs due to a back injury that would ultimately end his career, Yvan Cournoyer would win his tenth Stanley Cup with the Habs. Serge Savard, who served as acting Captain for the second time in three seasons, won his eighth Stanley Cup, and would be named Captain full-time at the start of the following season.
  • Cournoyer and Savard were only two of fifteen players who were on all four of Montreal’s consecutive late-1970s Stanley Cups. The others were Rick Chartraw, Ken Dryden (who retired after this season), Bob Gainey (who won the Conn Smythe Trophy that year), Doug Jarvis (who holds the record for most consecutive games played in the NHL — 964, never missing a single game in his NHL career), Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Guy Lapointe, Michel “Bunny” Larocque, Jacques Lemaire (who also retired after this season), Doug Risebrough, Larry Robinson, Steve Shutt, and Mario Tremblay. Cournoyer, Dryden, Gainey, Lafleur, Lapointe, Lemaire, Robinson, Savard, and Shutt are also in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Cournoyer, Dryden, Lapointe, Lemaire, and Savard were also part of the Habs’ Cup wins in 1971 and 1973.
  • The Habs’ 1979 Stanley Cup run cannot be discussed without mentioning game seven of the semifinals against their number one rival, the Boston Bruins. With 2:34 left to go in regulation, and the Bruins leading 4‒3, Boston was called for a “too many men on the ice” penalty. Guy Lafleur scored during the ensuing power play, and in overtime, Yvon Lambert scored the game-winning goal to send the Habs to the finals (and send Boston coach Don Cherry to the unemployment line).

     1980 New York Islanders 
  • The Islanders begin their Dynasty by upsetting the Philadelphia Flyers (who were the regular season champions and went THIRTY-FIVE straight games — twenty-five wins, ten ties — without a loss) in six games, clinching the Cup on an overtime goal by Bob Nystrom.
  • Ken Morrow becoming the first player to win an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup in the same year.note 

     1981 New York Islanders 
  • The Isles going 15‒3 during their playoff run, with their only losses being against Edmontonnote  in the quarterfinals (two losses), and to Minnesota in game four of the Finals.
  • Mike Bossy setting a postseason record of 35 points. This was also the same year he scored 50 goals in 50 games (Bossy ended up with 68 goals that season), the first to do so since Maurice Richard in 1944‒45.

     1982 New York Islanders 
  • Of the four regular season division champions — the Edmonton Oilers, the Minnesota North Stars, the Montreal Canadiens, and of course, the New York Islanders — all but the Isles were upset in the first round by the Los Angeles Kings (including the famed Miracle on Manchester), Chicago Black Hawks, and Quebec Nordiques, respectively. And even then, the Isles themselves were nearly upset by the Pittsburgh Penguins (who would make their last playoff appearance until a guy named Mario joined their team), but were saved by two clutch goals from John Tonelli (the second coming in sudden-death overtime).
  • Mike Bossy matches Jean Béliveau’s record with seven goals in the Stanley Cup Finals, including the Cup clincher in game four, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process.
  • Hell, their OPPONENTS (the Vancouver Canucks) making the Finals is a Moment of Awesome. After sweeping the Calgary Flames in the first round, the Canucks faced two more unexpected opponents (the Los Angeles Kings in the Smythe Division Finals and the Chicago Black Hawks in the Campbell Conference Finals; the latter being the series that inspired the famed “Towel Power” rally) before the Islanders swept them.

     1983 New York Islanders 
  • The New York Islanders of the early 1980s are considered by many to be one of the most dominant teams of all time, winning nineteen consecutive playoff series (including the first three rounds of the following year's playoffs before losing to some kid named Gretzky and his Oilers). Also, over twenty players and personnel were on the team during the entire dynasty run, including coach Al Arbour (who had previously won Stanley Cups as a player in 1954, 1961, 1962, and 1964), general manager Bill Torrey, and all eight players that have had their numbers retired by the Islanders: #5 — Denis Potvin (team captain), #9 — Clark Gillies (who gave up his captaincy during the 1979‒80 preseason), #19 — Bryan Trottier (the Conn Smythe winner in 1980, Trots would later win back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s), #22 — Mike Bossy (one of the most dominant scorers of his era and the 1982 Conn Smythe winner), #23 — Bob Nystrom (scored the Cup-clinching goal in 1980), #27 — John Tonelli (who scored a number of “clutch” goals during the dynasty run, such as the goals in ’82 that saved them from being upset by the Pittsburgh Penguins), #31 — Billy Smith (who won the Smythe in ’83), and #91 — Butch Goring (who was traded from Los Angeles at the 1980 trade deadline and was the playoff MVP in ’81).
  • Among the other players to win all four Cups with the Isles during this time were Wayne Merrick (who scored the Cup-clinching goal in ’81), Ken Morrow (who was part of the Miracle on Ice U.S. team that beat the Soviets), Duane Sutter (one of the six Sutter brothers who played in the NHL. His younger brother, Brent, won the Cup with him in ’82 and ’83), Anders Kallur and Stefan Persson (the first two European-born-and-trained players to win the Stanley Cup).
  • While his team was swept in the Finals, the Oilers’ Wayne Gretzky set a postseason record of 38 points.

     1984 Edmonton Oilers 
  • It takes a great team to end a dynasty like the New York Islanders. Seven Hall of Famers — Wayne Gretzky (winning the playoff scoring race with 35 points), Jari Kurri (leading all players in playoff goals with 14), Grant Fuhr (shutting out the Islanders in game one of the Finals), Paul Coffey (leading all players in plus-minus during the playoffs with plus-21), Mark Messier (who was named playoff MVP), Glenn Anderson (one of three Oilers to score 50 goals during the regular season, the other two being Gretzky and Kurri), and Kevin Lowe (who was the first-ever player selected by the Oilers in the NHL Draft) — were a part of this team, and the Oilers’ next two Cup victories. Six of the seven also have their jersey numbers retired by the Oilers (Gretzky—#99, Kurri—#17, Fuhr—#31, Coffey—#7, Messier—#11, and Anderson—#9).

     1985 Edmonton Oilers 
  • Wayne Gretzky dominates the playoffs, scoring a record forty-seven points on his way to the Conn Smythe Trophy.
  • While Gretzky was the MVP that year, Jari Kurri deserves credit as well, tying Reggie Leach’s nine-year-old record of 19 goals in the postseason.

     1986 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Game two of the Stanley Cup Finals went to overtime, but it ended quickly as Montreal’s Brian Skrudland scored the winning goal in only nine seconds, which is still (as of 2019) a playoff record. The Habs had lost the previous game 5‒2, and were trailing this one 2‒0 before scoring three unanswered goals (including the aforementioned nine-seconds-of-OT goal).
  • Patrick Roy becomes the first rookie to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, winning fifteen games in the last year this was the number of games a team needed to win to get the championshipnote  and having a 1.93 GAA.note  Roy’s GAA was the lowest for any goaltender of a Stanley Cup-winning team in the 1980s.

     1987 Edmonton Oilers 
  • Despite losing in seven games, Ron Hextall becomes only the second rookie (and the fourth member of a non-Cup-winning team) to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.
  • Also a Heartwarming Moment: After receiving the Stanley Cup from NHL president John Ziegler, Oilers captain Wayne Gretzky handed the Cup to Steve Smith, who one year earlier scored the infamous “own goal” that knocked the Oilers out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

     1988 Edmonton Oilers 
  • The Oilers lose only two games (once each against Winnipeg in the first round, and Detroit in the Conference Finals, respectively), a record for the 16-win format of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Incidentally, Grant Fuhr becomes the first goaltender to win 16 games in this format, a record that has been matched 22 more times since then as of 2019.note 
  • After completing a five-game sweep of the Boston Bruins,note  Smythe winner Wayne Gretzky (in what ended up being his last game for Edmonton) got every member of the Oilers — players, coaches, management, scouts, trainers, even the locker room assistants — on the ice for a picture with the Stanley Cup, starting a tradition that continues to this day.

     1989 Calgary Flames 
  • The Flames become the first (and only) team to clinch the Stanley Cup against the Canadiens on Montreal Forum ice.
  • Lanny McDonald, who was retiring at the end of the season, went out in style as he scored a critical goal in the Cup-clinching game.
  • Al MacInnis leading all players in scoring with 31 points (the first defenceman to do so), winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process.
  • Mike Vernon saving the Flames’ Cup run by stopping a shot from Canucks captain Stan Smyl in overtime of game seven of the Smythe Division Semifinals.

     1990 Edmonton Oilers 
  • Game one is still (as of 2019) the longest game in Stanley Cup Finals history: one hour, fifty-five minutes, and thirteen seconds were played until Petr Klima scored the game-winning goal for Edmonton. This came after the power went out in the Boston Garden for the second time in three years (though this time, the lights came back on since the lights were on an automatic timer). In a bit of irony, the Oilers would win the Stanley Cup on May 24, 1990, two years to the day after the blackout suspended the original game four.
  • Bill Ranford won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after a shaky start in the postseason (allowing seven goals in game one against the Winnipeg Jets). Hell, the Oilers as a whole had a shaky start in round one against the Jets. After losing the aforementioned game 1 7‒5, they won game two in overtime (scored by Mark Lamb) before dropping the next two games at the Winnipeg Arena (game four went to double overtime before its conclusion). Down 3‒1 in the second period of game five, the Oilers scored three unanswered goals to win the game, then won games six and seven to win the series. Edmonton would only lose three more times (sweeping Los Angeles in the second round, beating Chicago 4‒2 in the third, and finally beating Boston 4‒1) on the way to the Stanley Cup.
  • Seven Oilers were a part of all five Stanley Cup-winning teams from 1984 to 1990: Glenn Anderson, Grant Fuhr, Randy Gregg, Charlie Huddy, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, and team captain Mark Messier.

     1991 Pittsburgh Penguins 
  • The Penguins winning their first Cup ever after struggling for survival since 1967 was certainly a big deal.
  • Coach Bob Johnson, known affectionately as “Badger Bob” due to his success at the University of Wisconsin, being the coach of the team to win the Cup after failing to win it with the Calgary Flames five years earlier. Tragically, Johnson was diagnosed with brain cancer soon afterwards, and it would kill him shortly into the following season.
  • In game six of the Patrick Division Semifinals, the Pens are trailing the Devils three games to two, with Frank Pietrangelo starting for the Penguins in place of regular starter Tom Barrasso. During the game, the Devils’ Peter Stastny would seemingly score on Pietrangelo, but it turned out that the goalie made a save at the last possible moment. It has to be seen to believed. Obviously, the Penguins would go on to win game six (4‒3), and then shut out the Devils in game seven, 4‒0.
  • The Pens coming back from a 2‒0 deficit to win four straight against the Boston Bruins in the Wales Conference Finals. Not so awesome if you’re a Bruins fan, as Pittsburgh’s Ulf Samuelsson delivered a cheap shot to Boston’s Cam Neely during game three that would ultimately help end the latter’s career prematurely.
  • Lemieux’s memorable goal against the Stars in game two. We should also note that Super Mario only played 26 games during the regular season that year, while he only missed one (game three of the finals) during the playoffs.
  • The clincher against the North Stars saw the Pens destroy them by a score of 8‒0.
  • The ’91 Pens had seven players who would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame by 2018: Mario Lemieux (who also won the Smythe that year), Bryan Trottier (formerly of the Islanders dynasty), Joe Mullen (formerly of Calgary), Paul Coffey (who came to Pittsburgh from Edmonton in 1987), Larry Murphy (who was traded from, ironically, the Minnesota North Stars during the season, and was the only player who was part of both the Penguins’ and later Red Wings’ back-to-back Stanley Cup wins), Ron Francis (who came from Hartford along with Ulf Samuelsson for virtually nothing in return at the trade deadline), and Mark Recchi (who led the team in scoring that year with Super Mario missing most of the season), one definite future Hall of Famer (a Czech rookie named Jaromír Jágr), and a possible future Hall of Famer (Tom Barrasso).

     1992 Pittsburgh Penguins 
  • After Badger Bob Johnson’s death, the team wore a patch in his memory and dedicated the season to him. They even had his name put on the Cup.
  • Mario Lemieux winning the Conn Smythe Trophy despite missing six postseason games due to injury.
  • The Penguins coming back from losing the first two games of the playoffs and being down three games to one to defeat the Washington Capitals in game seven of the Patrick Division Semifinals.
  • The Pens won eleven straight games on their way to the Stanley Cup, sweeping Boston in the Conference finals, and Chicago in the Cup Finals in the process. They would go on to add three more victories in the first round against the New Jersey Devils the following year, making a record of 14 consecutive wins in the playoffs.
  • In game one of the Finals against the Blackhawks, the Penguins were down 3‒1 after the first period, and 4‒1 just after the midway point of the game. They went on to score four unanswered goals in the remaining twenty-eight minutes, with Lemieux scoring the game-winner with just thirteen seconds left in regulation.

     1993 Montreal Canadiens 
  • Patrick Roy, who was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner seven years earlier, overcomes a shaky start in the first two games of the division semifinals against Quebec (the first loss was in overtime) to backstop his team to the Stanley Cup, winning ten consecutive overtime games along the way.note 
  • As for the overtime goals themselves…
    • In the division semifinals against the Quebec Nordiques (making their first playoff appearance since 1987, where they were eliminated by, you guessed it, the Montreal Canadiens)…
      • The first overtime victory came from Vincent Damphousse in game three against the Nordiques after an earlier goal was disallowed due to it coming from a high stick.
      • Overtime victory number two came in game five at Le Colisée de Québec, this time by Kirk Muller.
    • In the division finals against the Buffalo Sabres (fresh off an upset sweep against the Adams Division champion Boston Bruins), Games two, three, and four all went to overtime; the goals were scored by captain Guy Carbonneau, Gilbert Dionne (younger brother of Hall-of-Famer Marcel), and Kirk Muller, respectively. Incidentally, all four games in the division finals were won by scores of 4‒3.
    • In the conference finals against the New York Islanders (fresh off an upset seventh game overtime win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins), Stephane Lebeau, who had the aforementioned high-stick goal against the Nords, redeems himself by scoring the game-winning goal in double overtime. In the following game on Long Island, captain Guy Carbonneau scores his second overtime winning goal.
    • In the Stanley Cup Finals against the Los Angeles Kings (fresh off an upset seventh game victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs), As in the Adams Division Finals, the Canadiens won three consecutive overtime games in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Los Angeles Kings, the first coming in game two after the Habs dropped the first game. Game two was noteworthy as Habs coach Jacques Demers called for a measurement of Marty McSorley’s stick with the Habs being down 2‒1 with less than two minutes to go in regulation, and the stick was deemed illegal. Eric Desjardins would score on the ensuing power play, as well as the overtime goal fifty-one seconds in (Desjardins, incidentally, is the first and only defenceman to score a hat trick in the Stanley Cup Finals). And finally, John LeClair scored the overtime goals in games three and four at the Great Western Forum.
  • Denis Savard, who had a homecoming three years earlier when he was traded from the Chicago Blackhawks for Chris Chelios (Savard had played his junior career in Montreal), being the first to lift the Stanley Cup after the Habs won (he had also been injured during the Finals and was unable to play in the Cup-clinching game).

     1994 New York Rangers 
  • Going into game six of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers were down three games to two against the New Jersey Devils after dropping Game 5 on home ice, 4‒1. Team captain Mark Messier then guaranteed the Rangers would win Game Six. He scored a natural hat trick (three consecutive goals) in the Rangers' 4‒2 victory over the Devils.
  • Game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals, Rangers hanging on to a 1‒0 lead until Valeri Zelepukin ties the game with 7.7 seconds left in regulation, the specter of the Curse of 1940 looming again. Then trade-deadline acquisition Stephane Matteau wraps around the game-winner past Martin Brodeur and three words enter Rangers lore:
    Rangers radio play-by-play announcer Howie Rose: Matteau!! Matteau!! Matteau!!
  • The Rangers finally winning the Stanley Cup after a 54-year drought (and to make it even sweeter, they did it at Madison Square Garden). That said, the end of game seven had Rangers fans sweating bullets as it was just a one-goal difference with less than two seconds left on the clock with a face-off near the Rangers' goal: memories of the Devils' scare fresh in their minds. Then the Rangers win the face-off and run out the clock, and MSG erupted. Times Square relayed the news, echoing the words of ESPN commentator Gary Thorne: "THE CURSE IS OVER!"
    Rangers TV play-by-play Sam Rosen: The waiting is over!
  • American Brian Leetch becoming the first non-Canadian player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, leading all players in scoring with 34 points.
  • Messier also became the first (and only, as of 2019) player to captain two different teams to a Stanley Cup championship.note 
  • Alexander Karpovtsev (who tragically perished in the Yaroslav plane crash in 2011), Alexei Kovalev (who was the first Russian player to be drafted in the first round), Sergei Nemchinov (who later won the Cup with New Jersey in 2000), and Sergei Zubov (who later won the Cup with Dallas in 1999) becoming the first Russian-born-and-trained players to win the Stanley Cup.
  • Like their first finals appearance twelve years earlier, the Vancouver Canucks' run to the finals in 1994 was a Moment of Awesome in its own right. First, they came back from a 3-1 series deficit by winning three straight overtime games against the Calgary Flames, with the Russian Rocket, Pavel Bure, scoring the game-winner in the deciding game. The Canucks then defeated the Dallas Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games apiece before falling to the Rangers in Game 7 of the finals, and even then, they won Games 5 and 6 by a combined 10‒4 after losing three straight games (they won Game 1 in overtime).

     1995 New Jersey Devils 
  • The Devils pull off a major upset, sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in four straight games (and beginning a four-year stint of Stanley Cup sweeps). Claude Lemieux, who would become the most hated man in Detroit one year later (that time as a member of the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche), won the Conn Smythe Trophy, leading all players in playoff goal-scoring with thirteen (after scoring only six in the regular season).
  • Hell, the Devils making it to the Finals was itself awesome: they were the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference (seeding by conference had only begun the previous year). During their playoff run, they defeated the fourth seed Boston Bruins in the first round (closing out the Boston Garden in the process), the Mario Lemieux-lessnote  Pittsburgh Penguins (third) in the second round, and the second seed Philadelphia Flyers (making their first postseason appearance in six years) in the Conference Finals before sweeping the Wings (who had the best record in the NHL during the lockout-shortened season) in the Stanley Cup Finals.

     1996 Colorado Avalanche 
  • The Avalanche become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in their first year in a new city.note 
  • Colorado completing their sweep of the Florida Panthers by Uwe Krupp scoring the lone goal in triple overtime (44:31, to be exact) of game four. The Avs outscored Florida 15‒4 during the four games.
  • Avs captain Joe Sakic leading all players in scoring with 18 goals and 34 points, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process.
  • While it had not been formally established yet, Swedish player Peter Forsberg and Russian players Valeri Kamensky and Alexei Gusarov became members of the elite Triple Gold Club (Forsberg had won Olympic Gold in 1994 and the World Championship in 1992, while Kamensky and Gusarov were part of the Soviet teams that won Olympic gold in 1988, and the World Championship in 1986, 1988, and 1990).
  • During game three, after the Panthers scored two goals during the first period, Avs goaltender Patrick Roy vowed “No more rats,”note  and did not allow another goal during the rest of the series.
  • Roy managed to lead the team to the Cup after having been traded to them mid-season the previous December, following a brutal 11-1 shellacking by Detroit while on his previous team in Montreal.

     1997 Detroit Red Wings 
  • Who scored the goal that clinched the first Stanley Cup for Detroit in forty-two years? It wasn’t Yzerman, Fedorov (who scored five goals in a single game earlier in the season), or even Brendan Shanahan (who came to Detroit from Hartford at the start of the season in exchange for Paul Coffey — who would be sent to the Philadelphia Flyers later that season — and Keith Primeau). It was Darren McCarty, the Wings’ enforcer who pulled off a Mario Lemieux-esque move. This was also a Moment of Awesome for long-time Red Wings announcer Bruce Martyn, who retired two years earlier (the year the Devils swept the Wings), but came back to call the second period of game four, meaning he got to call the goal that clinched the Stanley Cup for Hockeytown.
  • Larry Murphy, who came to the Wings in a deadline trade with Toronto (Maple Leaf fans basically booed him out of the city) for future considerations, leading all players in playoff plus-minus with plus-16 (with a plus-10 in the finals alone).
  • Mike Vernon, who backstopped the Calgary Flames to the Stanley Cup eight years earlier, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy after replacing Chris Osgood in net at the start of the playoffs.
  • The Wings holding the Legion of Doom (Flyers captain Eric Lindros, 50-goal scorer John LeClair, and Swede Mikael Renberg), the most dominant forward line of the season, to just 7 points in the series (with Renberg only scoring one point, an assist, in game 1, and Eric Lindros scoring his only goal of the finals in the closing seconds of game 4).
  • Joey Kocur, who had previously played for the Wings as one half of the Bruise Brothers and had started the season in a beer league, rejoining the team shortly after Christmas and helping them to their first Cup in 42 years. He even scored a goal during the finals.
  • March 26, 1997—the Wings prevent a season sweep against their hated rivals, the Colorado Avalanche (so heated that the Avalanche needed a police escort to the arena, due to Claude Lemieux delivering a cheap shot to Kris Draper during Game 6 of the previous year's conference finals; Lemieux was making his first appearance in Detroit since the incident), winning 6-5 in overtime. During the first period, a massive brawl broke out, including Darren McCarty avenging his Grind Line buddy against Claude Lemieux and goaltender Mike Vernon (who picked up his 300th career win that night) beating Patrick Roy in a fight. Oh, and who scored the game-winning overtime goal for Detroit? McCarty.

     1998 Detroit Red Wings 
  • The Red Wings dedicated their entire season to defenceman Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseuse Sergei Mnatsakonov, who were both severely injured in a limousine crash less than a week after the Wings won the Stanley Cup, with the team wearing a special patch on their jerseys with their initials on it, and the words “Believe” in English and Russian (BELIEVE/ВЕРИМ VK&SM). After clinching the Stanley Cup at the then-new MCI Center, Captain (and Playoff MVP) Steve Yzerman placed the Cup in Konstantinov’s lap and wheeled him around the ice in a victory lap.
  • Scotty Bowman tying Toe Blake’s record by winning his eighth Stanley Cup as a coach.
  • Sergei Fedorov leading all players in goal-scoring during the playoffs, despite sitting out most of the season in a contract dispute with the team.
  • After giving up a horrible overtime goal in game five of the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Stars, Chris Osgood would redeem himself in the following game by shutting out the Stars 2‒0, allowing the Wings to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals.
  • Detroit coming back from a 3‒1 deficit in game two of the Finals to win the game 5‒4 in overtime, with Grind Line leader Kris Draper scoring the game-winning goal.

     1999 Dallas Stars 
  • Brett Hull ends the second-longest Stanley Cup Finals game in history by scoring the Cup-clinching goal at 14:51 of the third overtime. However, this goal is not without controversy, as Hull’s skate was in the crease (while the puck was not) when he scored the goal.note 
  • Derian Hatcher becoming the first American-born Captain of a Stanley Cup-winning team.
  • Joe Nieuwendyk winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, leading all players in goal-scoring with 11 (six of them were game-winners). This came after he missed most of the previous year's playoffs and the first part of the regular season recovering from a torn ACL that required TWO knee surgeries.

     2000 New Jersey Devils 
  • For the second consecutive season, the Stanley Cup is won in overtime (double overtime, in this case). This time, the Cup-clinching goal was scored by the Devils’ Jason Arnott. This came after Arnott's A-Line partner, Petr Sykora, was taken out earlier in the game by Stars captain Derian Hatcher and had to be taken to the hospital. In what also doubles as a Heartwarming Moment, both Devils coach Larry Robinson and fellow A-Line member Patrik Elias would wear Sykora’s sweater as they lifted the Stanley Cup after winning it. They also brought the Cup to Sykora in the hospital.
  • Scott Stevens, the captain of the Devils, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs.

     2001 Colorado Avalanche 
  • “And after twenty-two years … RAYMOND BOURQUE!” Those were the words of ESPN’s Gary Thorne as the oft-underappreciated Canadian hockey legend Ray Bourque, who in 1998 had been named the greatest player never to have won the Stanley Cup,note  finally got his chance to lift the Cup as part of the victorious Avalanche in 2001, at the end of the twenty-second and last season of his professional career.
  • Patrick Roy wins his third Conn Smythe Trophy, becoming the only player to win it more than twice, and the only player to win it for more than one team. His stats that postseason include a 1.70 GAA, a .934 save percentage, and four shutouts (including a 4‒0 shutout in a critical game six of the Finals).

     2002 Detroit Red Wings 
  • Considered by many fans to be one of the greatest teams ever assembled, as of 2019, the 2002 Red Wings have nine players (Igor Larionov, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Dominik Hasek, Sergei Fedorov, playoff MVP Nicklas Lidstrom) who are currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and one player that is likely to be inducted after he retires (Pavel Datsyuk, a rookie who may do this again).
    • Oh, and there was also Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, who went out in style as he retired after the Wings won the Cup and was the first to receive Lord Stanley from captain Steve Yzerman. And he earned the privilege by surpassing the great Toe Blake and standing alone (to this day) as the coach with the most Stanley Cups: with nine.
    • That team was also headed by owner Mike Ilitch (who made the Hockey Hall of Fame the next year) and general manager Ken Holland (inducted into the Hall in 2020), both of whom played pivotal roles in the revitalization of the Red Wings in the 1990s and were a part of all four Stanley Cup wins since 1997. They were the architects of this team, especially with the offseason acquisitions of Hasek, Robitaille, and Hull.
  • Igor Larionov made history in game three by not only becoming the oldest player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals (at the time), but by also scoring the game-winning goal in the third-longest game in Finals history (1:54:47 to be exact). It should also be noted that the “Old Goat,” Brett Hull, sent the game into overtime with a late-third period goal.
  • Dominik Hasek accumulating a then-record SIX shutouts during the playoffs while backstopping the Wings to the Stanley Cup.
  • Captain Steve Yzerman motivating his team after going down 2‒0 against the Vancouver Canucks in the first round and ultimately leading his team in scoring throughout the playoffs, despite an aggravating knee injury that kept him out of the latter part of the regular season and ultimately cost him most of the following season.
  • Nicklas Lidstrom scoring from centre ice during game three of the first round against Vancouver. The Wings never trailed the Canucks again during the rest of the series.
  • From game five of the Conference Semifinals against St. Louis — Grind Line member Kirk Maltby blocking three Blues shots … WITHOUT HIS STICK!!!
  • Darren McCarty getting a hat trick in game one against Colorado. For those that don’t know, a hat trick is three goals in a single game. Oh, and those goals also came IN THE SAME PERIOD!
  • While the Wings faced the Carolina Hurricanes for the Stanley Cup that year, many fans say that the true Stanley Cup Finals were against their arch-rivals, the defending champion Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals. Going into Game Six, the Wings were trailing the series 3‒2, and near the end of the first period, Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy was making save after save against the Wings. However, during one save, Roy held his glove up to signal that he had the puck … only he didn’t, and Brendan Shanahan quickly slipped the puck into the net. Like the Lidstrom goal in the first round, this was the turning point in the series, as Detroit would win the next two games, both of them shutouts, to set up a Finals date with Carolina. Oh, and that score for game seven? Seven to zero.
  • Besides winning the Stanley Cup, the Wings also had success at the Olympics: seven players won medals in Salt Lake City (Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan won Gold for Canada, Chris Chelios and Brett Hull won Silver for the USA, while Russians Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, and Pavel Datsyuk won the Bronze against a Cinderella Belarus)note .
  • An MOA for a player that didn't even reach the finals. Peter Forsberg, the star forward from the Colorado Avalanche, leading all players in playoff scoring with 27 points in 20 games despite missing the entire regular season due to injuries (which also caused him to miss the previous year's finals).

     2003 New Jersey Devils 
  • Martin Brodeur, despite not winning the Smythe, broke Hasek's shutout record from the year before with SEVEN playoff shutouts, including a 3-0 victory in game seven of the finals.
  • Brodeur was one of five players that were a part of all three of the Devils' Stanley Cup-winning teams from 1995 to 2003. The other four were the Hall of Fame Scotts (Stevens and Niedermayer), "Mr. Devil" Ken Daneyko (who played over 1,200 regular season games with the franchise and retired after this particular finals), and Russian-born forward Sergei Brylin.
  • An Awesome Moment for Anaheim captain Paul Kariya. During game six of the Finals, Kariya took a huge hit from his Devils counterpart, Scott Stevens. Many thought that would be the end for the Ducks' captain, but he returned to the game four minutes later, and scored a key goal, ultimately forcing a game seven in the Meadowlands.

     2004 Tampa Bay Lightning 
  • Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk winning his first Stanley Cup after 22 seasons, tying him with Raymond Bourque with the longest career before doing so, and unlike Bourque (who had at least made the 1988 and 1990 Finals), he had NEVER played for the Stanley Cup before — the closest he had gotten to the Cup being in 1993 and 1994 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and in 2000 with the Colorado Avalanche (with Bourque as his teammate). All three times, his teams lost in the Conference Finals (to the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, and Dallas Stars, respectively).
  • Tampa Bay's Brad Richards leading all players in scoring with 26 points, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process. He also had seven game-winning goals during the postseason.
  • Nikolai Khabibulin's 3rd period save in Game 7 to preserve the Lightning's victory. Stretching across the crease to make a save with his blocker that was otherwise a wide open net.
  • The Lightning in general became the southernmost team to hoist the NHL championship with their win in '04. So much for the hockey traditionalists saying that hockey can't survive in the South!

     2006 Carolina Hurricanes 
  • Cam Ward, who was put in the net after regular starting goalie Martin Gerber struggled during the first two games, manages to backstop his team to the Stanley Cup, becoming the first rookie to do so since Patrick Roy twenty years earlier. He also became the first rookie since Ron Hextall in 1987 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.
  • Doug Weight, who had sustained a separated shoulder in game five which knocked him out of the rest of the finals, managed to lift the Stanley Cup over his head successfully after the Canes won the finals.
  • Eric Staal leading all players in playoff scoring with 28 points.
  • A couple of Moments of Awesome for their opponents, the Edmonton Oilers. First, for being the first #8 seed to reach the finals (upsetting the Presidents' Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings in the first round, the #5 seed San Jose Sharks in the second round after losing the first two games, and the #6 seed Mighty Ducks of Anaheim {their last season before they simply became the Anaheim Ducks} in the Western Conference Finals) before ultimately losing to the Canes in seven, and the second involving Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger, who, in game one, became the first player to successfully score a penalty shot in the Stanley Cup Finals (in fact, as of 2019, he is the only successful penalty shot in the Stanley Cup Finals).

     2007 Anaheim Ducks 
  • With the exception of team captain and Smythe winner Scott Niedermayer, none of the Ducks had won the Stanley Cup before. Among the most notable players winning their first Cup were Scott’s brother Rob (who was a member of the 2003 Mighty Ducks that had previously lost to the New Jersey Devils), Chris Pronger (who was a member of the Edmonton Oilers that lost to the Hurricanes the previous year), Teemu Selanne (who had a career revival after returning to Anaheim the previous season), Jean-Sebastien Giguère (another player that was a member of the 2003 Ducks, he also won the Smythe trophy that year), and Brad May (best known for the “May Day” goal he scored for Buffalo to eliminate Boston from the 1993 playoffs, he was traded from Colorado at the 2007 trade deadline).

     2008 Detroit Red Wings 
  • Nicklas Lidstrom, who six years earlier became the first European-born-and-trained player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, becomes the first European-born-and-trained Captain of a Stanley Cup-winning team.note 
    • Lidstrom was one of five players who were part of all four of Detroit’s Stanley Cups since 1997 (the other four being his countryman Tomas Holmstrom, and the Grind Line — Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and Darren McCarty, the last of whom had returned to Detroit after struggling in Calgary and spending time in the minors, as well as overcoming problems in his personal life).
    • The other three members of the “Swedish Five” — Niklas Kronwall, Mikael Samuelsson, and playoff MVP Henrik Zetterberg — all became members of the elite Triple Gold Club faster than any other player (they all won the Gold Medal at the 2006 Torino Olympics, and three months after that, they were all a part of the Swedish team that won the IIHF World Championship, the first country to win both the Olympics and the World Championship in the same year).
  • Chris Osgood (who returned to Detroit in 2005 after being waived to the Islanders just before the 2001‒02 season and being traded to St. Louis in early 2003) having a career-low postseason GAA of 1.55 … and this was after replacing original starter Dominik Hasek during game four of the first round against the Nashville Predators.

     2009 Pittsburgh Penguins 
  • Love him or hate him, Sidney Crosby became the youngest Captain to win the Stanley Cup. He also led all players in goals scored with 15.
  • Evgeni Malkin, leading all players in scoring with 36 points, and becoming the first Russian-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.
  • Not only were the Pens the first team since the 1971 Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup after starting the series by losing the first two games, they were almost completely written off after falling down 0-2 in their rematch with the Red Wings (except for an occasional mention of the '71 Habs...), and then once again after being shutout in Game 5. They took it to dramatic heights by winning Game 6 with defenseman Rob Scuderi momentarily playing goal, and Game 7 in Detroit with Sidney Crosby injured and benched, a last-second "in front of the bullet" save by Marc-Andre Fleury, and two goals by Max Talbot.

     2010 Chicago Blackhawks 
  • Patrick Kane scoring the Cup-clinching goal at 4:06 of overtime of game six, ending a forty-nine-year drought (the longest at that time) for the Chicago Blackhawks. When the goal was scored, the officials initially lost sight of the puck, even though Kane and most of his teammates were celebrating. It was only after a video review that the goal (and the Cup victory) was made official.
  • Jonathan Toews becoming the youngest captain to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (the honour of youngest Smythe winner still belongs to Patrick Roy in 1986) AND the youngest player to join the elite Triple Gold Club (having previously won the World Championship in 2007 and the Olympic Gold Medal just months earlier in Vancouver).
  • Marian Hossa FINALLY winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks after failing to win it the two previous seasons with the Penguins and Red Wings, respectively.
  • A couple of MOAs for the team the Hawks beat to win the Stanley Cup, the Philadelphia Flyers. First, the Flyers had to beat the New York Rangers in a shootout in order to get into the playoffs. Later on, in the second round, they lost the first three games against the Boston Bruins, only to come back and win the next four (with game seven having Philly coming back from a 3‒0 deficit to win the game 4‒3), becoming the fourth major North American sports team to do so (and the first in the NHL since the 1975 New York Islanders).

     2011 Boston Bruins 
  • Tim Thomas shutting out the Vancouver Canucks in game seven, 4‒0 in B.C., backstopping the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in thirty-nine years. He is named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for most valuable player in the playoffs.
  • Zdeno Chára becoming the first Cup-winning captain from a former Eastern Bloc nation (Chára was born in Trencin, Czechoslovakia, which is now in Slovakia). He’s also the tallest player to hoist the Stanley Cup (he stands 6-foot-9, or 206 centimeters).
  • Mark Recchi, 43 years young, ending his career in style as he won his third Stanley Cup with his third team (he had won the Cup in 1991 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes), leading his team in scoring during the Finals. He also became the oldest player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals during game two (he would go on to score two more goals in game three).
  • Patrice Bergeron scoring the Cup-clinching goal in the Bruins’ 4‒0 game seven win over Vancouver, and becoming the twenty-fifth player to join the elite Triple Gold Club (having previously won the World Championship in 2004 {shortly before his 19th birthday} and the Olympic Gold in 2010 {he'd add another OG in 2014}).
  • The Bruins being the first team to win 3 Game 7s to win a Stanley Cup.

     2012 Los Angeles Kings 
  • The Los Angeles Kings, who were the second-to-last of the 1967 Expansion teams to win the Stanley Cup, becoming the first eighth-seeded team to go all the way — knocking out the first (Vancouver Canucks, the Presidents' Trophy winner), second (St. Louis Blues), and third (Phoenix Coyotes, who made their first appearance in the conference finals) seeds before defeating the New Jersey Devils (who were the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference) in six games. And the final score of game six? Six to one, thanks primarily to a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct by the Devils’ Steve Bernier that occurred midway through the first period, resulting in three unanswered goals by the Kings during the ensuing power play.
  • Jonathan Quick winning the Conn Smythe Trophy with a playoff GAA of 1.41, a .946 save percentage, and three shutouts (one of them coming in game three of the Finals).
  • The speech from legendary Kings announcer Bob Millernote  as the Kings are about to win the Stanley Cup, also doubling as a Heartwarming Moment.
    Bob Miller: This is for you, Kings fans, wherever you may be! All the frustration and disappointment of the past is gone! The forty-five-year drought is over! The Los Angeles Kings are indeed the Kings of the National Hockey League! They are the two-thousand-twelve STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!!
    • Radio commentator Nick Nickson (who was previously Bob Miller's partner until the TV and radio broadcasts were separated in 1990) wasn't too shabby either in announcing the end of the drought. His call:
    Nick Nickson: The long wait is over! After 45 years, the Kings can wear their crown! The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup!

     2013 Chicago Blackhawks 
  • It’s game six at the TD Garden in Boston, with the Chicago Blackhawks leading the Boston Bruins three games to two. The Bruins currently lead the game 2‒1 with 1:16 left in regulation. So, the series goes back to Chicago for game seven, right? Not when Bryan Bickell scores after the Hawks pull goaltender Corey Crawford for the extra attacker. So, now the game is going to overtime for the fourth time this series, right? Not when Dave Bolland scores seventeen seconds later to give the Hawks the 3‒2 lead.
  • Patrick Kane becoming the first number-one draft pick (he was chosen in 2007) since Mario Lemieux to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

     2014 Los Angeles Kings 
  • The Kings’ second Stanley Cup win was even more improbable and awesome than their first.
    • First, the Kings overcome an 0‒3 deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks in seven games. To add to that, two of the players on that team, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, were on the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010, who overcame a 0‒3 deficit to defeat the Boston Bruins in seven games, making for an insanely rare circumstance that any player (let alone two) was on more than one team to accomplish the task.
    • Then, in the second round, they beat their SoCal rivals, the Anaheim Ducks, in another seven-game series (and sending Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu into retirement).
    • Then, in the Conference Finals, the Kings beat the defending Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in yet ANOTHER seven-game series, with Alec Martinez scoring the series-clinching goal in overtime. This also marks the first time that a visiting team won three straight game sevens.
    • And THEN, in the Finals, it takes only five games for royalty to reign again as the Kings defeat the New York Rangers (making their first Finals appearance since their 1994 Cup victory), with Alec Martinez scoring the series-clinching goal again, this time in double overtime (34:43 of overtime to be exact, making it the longest game the Kings have ever played). This, by the way, was the THIRD overtime victory by the Kings in this final series.
  • Justin Williams, known as “Mr. Game Seven” (due to having the record for most career game seven points with 14), winning the Conn Smythe Trophy.

     2015 Chicago Blackhawks 
  • The Hawks winning their third Stanley Cup in six years, and their first on home ice in 77 years.note 
  • Duncan Keith winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, having spent more time on the ice than any other player during the Finals, as well as scoring the Cup-winning goal in game six and assisting on the insurance goal.
  • Kimmo Timonen ending his career in style by winning the Stanley Cup, coming to the club when he was traded to the Hawks from the Flyers (of which Timonen was a member in the 2010 Finals) after missing most of the season due to blood clots.
  • It should be duly noted that with the exception of the Game Six 2‒0 Cup win, each of the Finals games were decided by a margin of a single goal … and NONE of them went to overtime.

     2016 Pittsburgh Penguins 
  • Despite retiring midway through the season due to health issues, Pascal Dupuis (who was with the Pens when they won the Cup in 2009) still lifted the cup with his teammates when they won, and had his name engraved on it.
  • Phil Kessel, who was traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs during the off-season, leading the team in scoring during the playoffs.

     2017 Pittsburgh Penguins 
  • Not only was this the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings, Sidney Crosby becomes the first player to win back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies since a certain Penguin did so in 1991-92.
  • Game 5 was won in a massive 6-0 shut out in the Penguins favor.

     2018 Washington Capitals 
  • A team rife with heartbreak that had only been to the big dance once before (in 1998, to be trounced by the dominant Red Wings), the Washington Capitals, and especially their captain, Conn Smythe winner Alexander Ovechkin (who set a franchise record with 15 playoff goals and won his seventh Rocket Richard trophy for leading goal scorer during the regular season), finally winning their first-ever Stanley Cup.note  They had to exorcise multiple demons to get there and clinch every single series on the road:
    • As coach of the New York Rangers, John Tortorella had been responsible for knocking the Capitals out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2012 and 2013 in seven-game heartbreakers. As coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, he seemed poised to knock the Capitals out again after overtime wins in Games 1 and 2 in Washington. The Capitals came back to win the next four, including three (all but Game 5) in Columbus.
    • The Capitals' division final opponents were the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had eliminated the Capitals from the playoffs nine times since 1991, including during their successful Cup runs in 2009, 2016, and 2017, and after overcoming a 2-0 deficit in Game 1, they seemed ready to eliminate Washington for the third year in a row. The Capitals proceeded to win four of the next five games—including the series-clinching overtime Game 6 in Pittsburgh—to reach their first conference final since 1998. (Appropriately, the 2009 Penguins were the last team to win every series on the road before Washington.) Evgeny Kuznetsov's "bird" celebration after scoring the winner in Game 6 is one of the series' most enduring images.
    • Their conference final opponents were the Tampa Bay Lightning (which included several former Rangers); in their previous playoff meeting in the 2011 conference semi-finals, the first-seeded Capitals had been swept, and when the Lightning won three games in a row to take a 3-2 series lead, the Capitals' goose seemed cooked. Goaltender Braden Holtby proceeded to shut the Bolts out in Games 6 and 7 to get the Capitals to the Stanley Cup finals. Making their victory all the more impressive is that three of their four winsnote  were in Tampa.
    • And in the Stanley Cup finals, the Capitals were playing against George McPhee, who had been their general manager from 1997-2014 and seemed poised to do in one season with the Vegas Golden Knights what he had failed to do in sixteen seasons with the Capitals: win a Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights' goaltender was former Pittsburgh Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury, who had been instrumental in getting his team to the finals in their first season. A close Game 1 finished in a 6-4 win for the Golden Knights; then, with two minutes to go in the third period of Game 2, with the Capitals clinging to a 3-2 lead, the Golden Knights' Alex Tuch fired a shot at a largely open net, only for Braden Holtby to stop the puck with his stick. This moment, which immediately entered Capitals fan lore as "The Save", was the turning point; the Capitals never looked back. They would hold on to win Game 2 and then the next three afterward to clinch the Stanley Cup.
  • The fact that their opponents, the Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team in their inaugural season, made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first to do so since the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues, is noteworthy in itself. And unlike the Blues (the playoff format of the time guaranteed an expansion team would face off against an Original Six team in the finals), they did it the old-fashioned way by racking up a winning record and making their way through the playoffs.
  • The Washington Post's Thomas Boswell summed it up: "The Biggest Underachievers Imaginable finally playing for the Cup against the Biggest Overachievers Unimaginable."
  • With the exception of veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik, none of the Capitals had ever won the Stanley Cup before. Other notable players to win their first Cup with the Capitals include Nicklas Backstrom (the longest-tenured Capital besides Ovechkin), Lars Eller (the first Danish player to win the Stanley Cup), and former Blues first-round pick T.J. Oshie.

     2019 St. Louis Blues 
  • Frankly, the awesome started before Round 2 even began. All four of the number 1 seeds (Tampa Bay, Calgary, Nashville, and Washington) all got ousted by wild card entrants (Columbus, Colorado, Dallas, and Carolina respectively), meaning for the first time ever (in any of the Big 4 sports) there is no number 1 seed going on to the second round. And with the Golden Knights also ousted (by San Jose) in Round 1, neither Stanley Cup finalist from last year cleared the first round. Compounding the awesome for Columbus specifically, this is the first time ever they moved on to round 2. This was so unprecedented that the NHL, who runs a bracket contest every year, ran a 'Second Chance Bracket' contest for the first time because practically every entry had their bracket broken.
  • Prior to this Cup win, the St. Louis Blues had endured a long legacy of failure. After making the Finals their first three years of existence, and failing to win a single Finals game each time, they would not reach the Finals again until this year,note  with many former Blues coaches and players eventually winning the Stanley Cup with other teams during the interim period (including Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour, to name just two). And even then, it looked very unlikely that the Blues would even MAKE the playoffs. At the start of 2019, the St. Louis Blues were dead last in the NHL. They finished the season with a 30-15-5 run to clinch a playoff spot, eventually reaching the finals by defeating the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars, and San Jose Sharks to set up a finals rematch against the Boston Bruins. Their first-ever finals win happened in overtime of game two, and they ended up finally winning the Cup in game Boston. This win caps a decade where three NHL teams won the Cup for the first time (Los Angeles in '12, Washington last year, and now St. Louis). Only fitting that Washington and St. Louis become the first two teams to occupy the Stanley Cup's newest ring.note 
  • Kudos to Ryan O'Reilly, the Conn Smythe winner, for scoring in each of the last four games including the opening goal in the final game; to Jordan Binnington, called up from the minors mid-season and bouncing back after a 7-2 trouncing in game three to backstop the Blues with a 32-save near-shutout in game seven (only allowing a goal after it had pretty much become academic), in the process becoming the first rookie goalie at all 16 of his team's postseason wins to clinch; and to Blues superfan and good-luck-charm Laila Anderson, battling an autoimmune disease, she managed to predict O'Reilly's opening goal and had been an inspiration to the team throughout the season and playoffs. The team invited her onto the ice to kiss the Cup.
  • Jordan Binnington became the first rookie goaltender to backstop his team to 16 postseason victories during the same Playoff season in the NHL.
  • Canadian Defenceman Jay Bouwmeester becoming the newest member of the Triple Gold Club (having previously won the World Championship in 2003 and 2004, plus the Olympic Gold in 2014).
  • In winning the Stanley Cup, the St. Louis Blues became the only team in the history of American professional sports to pull off a true in-season "Worst to First", being the only team ever to go from being in dead last after over a quarter of the season to winning it all at the end.
  • Also they got away with saying 'fuck' a dozen times on national television (seriously, someone counted) before NBC remembered they were supposed to censor that.

Alternative Title(s): Stanley Cup


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