1994 Stanley Cup Finals

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1994 Stanley Cup Finals
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The 1994 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1993–94 season, and the culmination of the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested between the Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers and Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks were making the club's second Final appearance, their first coming during their Cinderella run of {{scfy|1982}},{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=129}} and the Rangers were making their tenth appearance, their first since {{scfy|1979}}. The Rangers ended their record 54-year championship drought with a victory in game seven to claim the long-awaited Stanley Cup. It was the fourth championship in franchise history. The CBC broadcast of the deciding game seven attracted an average Canadian audience of 4.957 million viewers, making it the most watched CBC Sports program in history to that time.{{harvnb|McKinley|2012|page=230}} This was the last Stanley Cup Finals with games played in Canada until {{scfy|2004}}.

Paths to the Finals

{{See also|1994 Stanley Cup playoffs|1993–94 New York Rangers season|1993–94 Vancouver Canucks season}}The Canucks entered the playoffs seeded seventh in the Western Conference, and overcame a three-games-to-one deficit against the Calgary Flames, winning the final three games in overtime with game seven ending in double overtime as Pavel Bure scored the winning goal on a breakaway to upset the Flames.NEWS, Canucks conquer Flames in OT, May 1, 1994, Canadian Press, Toronto Star, B5, NEWS, YEEEE-HAH!: Pavel buries Flames in double overtime, May 1, 1994, Jim, Jamieson, Vancouver Province, A72, They then upset the fourth-seeded Dallas Stars and the third-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs in five games each to capture the Western Conference title.NEWS, Final-ly: Canucks make Stanley Cup after thriller, Strachan, Alex, Vancouver Sun, May 25, 1994, A1, NEWS, Canucks advance to Cup final: Adams scores winner in double overtime to sink Maple Leafs, MacIntyre, Ian, Vancouver Sun, May 25, 1994, D1, The Rangers entered the playoffs with the league's best record, then swept their New York-area rival New York Islanders and then beat the Washington Capitals in five games,{{harvnb|Morrison|2008|p=106}} before falling behind three games to two in the Eastern Conference Final against their Hudson River rivals, New Jersey Devils. They then won game six by a 4–2 score after team captain Mark Messier publicly guaranteed a victory and then scored a third-period hat trick.{{harvnb|Morrison|2008|pp=106, 137}} The Rangers then won game seven 2–1 on Stéphane Matteau's goal in double overtime, prompting the call of "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!" by Rangers radio announcer Howie Rose.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|pages=119-120}} It was Matteau's second double overtime goal of the series.NEWS, 2 Overtimes Later, It's a Final and It's the Rangers, LaPointe, Joe, New York Times, May 28, 1994, 27,weblink June 5, 2011,

Game summaries

This series brought together two assistant coaches who were teammates on the other Canucks team to reach the Finals: Rangers assistant coach Colin Campbell and Canucks assistant coach Stan Smyl, who served as team captain then, as Kevin McCarthy was injured.It was the second straight Finals that featured a former Edmonton Oilers captain trying to become the first person to win a Stanley Cup as captain on two different teams. The previous year, Wayne Gretzky, who captained the Oilers to the first four of their five Stanley Cups in the 1980s, captained the Los Angeles Kings to the finals, which they lost to the Montreal Canadiens.{{harvnb|Morrison|2008|pp=131, 145}} Here, it was Mark Messier of the Rangers, who captained the Oilers to the last of their five, in {{scfy|1990}}.{{harvnb|Cole|2004|p=120}}{{harvnb|Morrison|2008|pp=134–137}}The Rangers players had a decided edge in Finals experience, with seven players from the 1990 Oilers, including Messier, Glenn Anderson, Jeff Beukeboom, Adam Graves, Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish and Esa Tikkanen. One 1990 Oiler, Martin Gelinas, was playing for the Canucks. Overall, the Rangers had eleven players with previous Finals appearances, compared to the Canucks' five. In addition, three of the Rangers (Messier, Anderson and Lowe) were each making their seventh appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals (each having made their first six with Edmonton).With the Rangers having 112 points in the regular-season standing and the Canucks 85, the 27-point difference was the largest point differential between two teams in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1982, when there was a 41-point difference between the New York Islanders (118) and the Canucks (77).NEWS, 1982 Canucks were unlikeliest of heroes, Olson, Arv, The Vancouver Sun, June 1, 1994, E3, NEWS, The 27-point differential is the greatest, ironically, between Stanley Cup finalists since the last time the Canucks made the trip to this mega-city 12 springs ago., Paper rout for Rangers, May 31, 1994, Jim, Jamieson, Vancouver Province, A54,

Game one

|team1 = Vancouver Canucks
|team2 = New York Rangers
|stadium1 = Madison Square Garden
|date1 = May 31
|score1 = 3–2
|won1 = 1
{edih}The Rangers scored early and led 2–1 late in the third period before Martin Gélinas tied the game with 1:00 to play in regulation time.NEWS, Canucks Take Stanley Cup Opener in OT, Sell, Dave, The Washington Post, June 1, 1994, F01, The Rangers lost the first game of their Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey in much the same fashion. In both cases, they controlled play, took leads, then lost leads…Martin Gelinas scored for a 2–2 tie with 60 seconds left in regulation., {{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=131}} It was the third time in eight games that the Rangers had surrendered a last-minute tying goal. The Rangers were all over the Canucks in overtime, but goaltender Kirk McLean made 52 saves on the night.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=132}} In the last minute of the first overtime, Brian Leetch hit the crossbar at one end, and the Canucks went down to score the winner at the other on an odd-man rush by Greg Adams, as the Rangers, once again, lost a series opener at home in overtime.

Game two

|team1 = Vancouver Canucks
|team2 = New York Rangers
|stadium1 = Madison Square Garden
|date1 = June 2
|score1 = 1–3
|won1 = 2
{edih}The Rangers evened the series with a 3–1 victory before the series shifted west.NEWS, Cup final tied heading to Vancouver, Fisher, Red, The Montreal Gazette, June 3, 1994, D1, Red Fisher (journalist), {{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|pages=133-137}}

Game three

|team1 = New York Rangers
|team2 = Vancouver Canucks
|stadium1 = Pacific Coliseum
|date1 = June 4
|score1 = 5–1
|won1 = 1
{edih}The Canucks came storming out in front of their home fans and Pavel Bure scored on his first shift to give them the early lead.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=137}} But late in the period, with the score tied 1–1, Bure hit Jay Wells in the face with his stick and cut him, leading to a major penalty and Bure's expulsion from the game.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=138}} Alexei Kovalev scored a breakaway shorthanded goal to help the Rangers and this goal will be on the cover of NHL 95 .Glenn Anderson scored on the ensuing power-play and the Rangers then cruised to a 5–1 victory.

Game four

|team1 = New York Rangers
|team2 = Vancouver Canucks
|stadium1 = Pacific Coliseum
|date1 = June 7
|score1 = 4–2
|won1 = 1
{edih}In the fourth game, the Canucks again jumped out to an early lead, this time 2–0,{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=140}} before Mike Richter and Brian Leetch took over the game.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|pages=141-143}} Richter made some key saves to keep the game within reach, including one on a penalty shot against Pavel Bure, and Leetch picked up a goal and three assists as the Rangers won 4–2 to take a commanding 3–1 series lead.

Game five

|team1 = Vancouver Canucks
|team2 = New York Rangers
|stadium1 = Madison Square Garden
|date1 = June 9
|score1 = 6–3
|won1 = 1
{edih}Most who entered Madison Square Garden for the fifth game thought they were going to see the Rangers win the Cup that night.{{harvnb|McKinley|2012|page=233}} New York had already set the date for a victory parade.{{harvnb|Cole|2004|p=128}} However, the celebration plans got ahead of the work at hand. The Canucks were leading 3–0 by the third minute of the third period. Even though the Rangers scrambled to pull even by the midway point, Vancouver took the lead 29 seconds later on a goal by Dave Babych and cruised to a 6–3 win.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=145}}

Game six

|team1 = New York Rangers
|team2 = Vancouver Canucks
|stadium1 = Pacific Coliseum
|date1 = June 11
|score1 = 1–4
|won1 = 2
{edih}The Canucks fired 16 shots at Mike Richter in the first period and led 1–0 on a Jeff Brown bullet from the point.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=147}} The score was 2–1 after two periods before another Brown goal gave the Canucks a 3–1 third-period lead.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=148}} Late in the third, Geoff Courtnall appeared to score for the Canucks, but the play continued and the Rangers scored to temporarily make the score 3–2. But, in the ensuing video review, it was confirmed that Courtnall had indeed scored his second goal of the game to clinch the game for the Canucks and force a seventh game.{{harvnb|McKinley|2012|page=233}}{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|pages=148-150}}

Game seven

|team1 = Vancouver Canucks
|team2 = New York Rangers
|stadium1 = Madison Square Garden
|date1 = June 14
|score1 = 2–3
|won1 = 2
{edih}For the second time since {{scfy|1971}} and the tenth time overall, the Final went to seven games.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=152}} Rangers coach Mike Keenan became the first person to be a head coach in game sevens of the Stanley Cup Finals for two different teams. Keenan had coached the Philadelphia Flyers in {{scfy|1987}} when they lost to the Edmonton Oilers.{{harvnb|Morrison|2008|p=109}} Mike Babcock would join him in this feat in {{scfy|2009}} while with the Detroit Red Wings, having been with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim when they lost to the New Jersey Devils in {{scfy|2003}} (the home team won all seven games of the series).NEWS, The Penguins…beat the defending champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1…in Game 7 and win the Stanley Cup for the third time…In 2003…the last series in which the home team won all seven games…the Mighty Ducks team that lost then was coached by current Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock., Penguin power: Pittsburgh motors away from Detroit with the silver Cup, Ira, Podell, Associated Press, Salt Lake Deseret News, June 13, 2009, D1, The game at Madison Square Garden was an "electric affair" with the Rangers jumping to an early 2–0 lead.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|pages=154-155}} However, Canucks captain Trevor Linden silenced the home crowd with a short-handed goal early in the second period. Mark Messier scored a third Ranger goal only to have Linden make it close again with a goal early in the third.{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|pages=155-156}}{{harvnb|McKinley|2012|pages=233-234}} After that, it was "hectic, jittery hockey". Nathan LaFayette "frightened all Manhattan wobbling a loose puck" off the post behind Mike Richter with five minutes left. In the final 37 seconds, there were three face-offs in the New York end, the last coming with 1.6 seconds on the clock.{{harvnb|McKinley|2012|page=234}}Mark Messier provided two of the most memorable images of that Stanley Cup Finals that would become iconic images to the Rangers and their fans:{{harvnb|Kreiser|2014|page=162}} first, jumping up and down excitedly as ticker tape fell, then, showing incredible emotion as he accepted the Stanley Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as he became the first (and {{as of|2015|alt=as of 2017}}, the only) player to captain two different teams to the Stanley Cup.

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