NHL: The 20 Most Unforgettable Moments in Stanley Cup Finals History
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The 2013 Stanley Cup Finals are under way and they certainly got started with one of the most exciting Game 1s ever. The Bruins and Blackhawks played a triple-overtime marathon in Game 1 that will probably be added to a list like this of the most memorable moments in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals in the future.
Here are the 20 most memorable moments in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals prior to this season. The more exciting, unique and historical the game was, the higher it was on the list. The list includes iconic individual efforts, monumental team accomplishments and memories that have become a big part of the history of the NHL.
Feel free to comment on any moments you feel belong on this list that I may have omitted, but please mention why you feel your choice belongs on this list and which moment you would remove.
Sit back and enjoy the 20 most memorable moments in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals.
20. Marty McSorely's Stick Measurement Costs the Kings
An illegal stick helped send this game to overtime.
Everything seemed to be going right for the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. They had a 1-0 lead in the series and 2-1 lead in Game 2 in Montreal with time running out.
Montreal coach Jacques Demers called for a measurement of Marty McSorley's stick late in the third period. It turned out Demers was right and the stick had an illegal curve. McSorely was given a 2:00 penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Demers pulled goalie Patrick Roy and the Habs had a 6-on-4 advantage. Eric Desjardins scored on the ensuing power play to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Desjardins scored again in the opening minute of overtime and Montreal won the game 3-2 and evened the series at 1-1. It was Desjardins' third goal of the game.
The Kings never regained their momentum and Montreal won the series and the Cup in five games.
19. Jagr Fakes out 5 Blackhawks
Jaromir Jagr faked out all 5 Blackhawks to score this incredible goal.
Jaromir Jagr scored this incredible goal against the Blackhawks during the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals.
Jagr faked out all five Chicago players on this play before beating goalie Ed Belfour with a backhander.
The goal was an extraordinary display of individual skill by a future Hall of Famer and helped Pittsburgh sweep the series and win their second straight Stanley Cup.
18. Ken Dryden Leads the Canadiens to a Cup as a Rookie
Ken Dryden won the Conn Smythe Trophy before winning the Calder.
Ken Dryden pulled off a rare feat in 1970-71: he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's playoff MVP a season before winning the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, which he won in 1971-72. Dryden had played only six NHL games before the start of the 1971 playoffs.
Dryden then led the Canadiens past a heavily favored Bruins team that had set league records for goals scored in a season and then helped defeat the North Stars in the semifinals.
The Habs beat the Blackhawks in seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals, which included winning Game 7 in Chicago. It was only the 2nd time a road team won a Game 7 in the finals and first time since 1945. It didn't happen again until 2009.
Montreal trailed in Game 7 2-0 but eked out a 3-2 win. Henri Richard scored the game-winner early in the third period.
Dryden would go on to win a total of six Stanley Cups in eight NHL seasons.
17. Super Mario Freezes the North Stars
Mario Lemiuex scored this incredible goal against Minnesota.
Mario Lemieux showed off his skills with this famous goal in Game 2 of the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals against the Minnesota North Stars.
Lemieux faked out both Shawn Chambers and Neil Wilkinson, the two Minnesota defensemen on this play, before forcing Jon Casey to commit and sliding the puck behind him and into the open net.
The Penguins won the series in six games to win their first Stanley Cup. Lemieux played in only five games in the series, but still scored 12 points and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP.
16. The Red Wings Pass the Cup to Konstantinov
Vladimir Konstantinov was handed the Stanley Cup in his wheelchair.
Tragedy struck the Detroit Red Wings just six days after they won the Stanley Cup in 1997.
Vladimir Konstantinov and a team employee left a private celebration of the Cup win in a limousine. The driver, who had a suspended license, lost control of the vehicle and Konstantinov was severely injured. He was restricted to a wheel chair for a long time after the accident.
Detroit repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1998 and after winning the Cup, invited Konstantinov onto the ice in his wheel chair to handle the Cup.
There was not a dry eye in the house as the tough Russian was handed the ultimate symbol of hockey supremacy, surrounded by his former teammates.
15. The Maple Leafs End the Original Six Era
This is what a Stanley Cup victory parade looks like in Toronto.
From 1942-1967, the National Hockey League had only six teams. The so-called Original Six Era featured some of the greatest players who ever played the game.
That era came to an end after the 1967 Stanley Cup Finals. The Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games to win their fourth Stanley Cup in six years. They did it with a roster full of experienced veterans. Toronto finished third during the regular season and few experts expected them to win a title.
The Original Six Era officially came to a close on May 3, 1967. Jim Pappin scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal as Toronto beat Montreal 3-1.
Oh, by the way, the Maple Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup since.
14. The Blackhawks Win on "The Phantom Goal"
Patrick Kane's "Phantom Goal" won the Cup for the Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks hadn't won the Stanley Cup in nearly half a century when Patrick Kane scored an overtime game-winner to give them the 2010 championship.
The crazy thing was that almost nobody in the arena saw the puck go in the net. The Flyers players, the broadcasters and most of the crowd all paused for a few seconds while Kane and his teammates started to celebrate. It then became known as "The Phantom Goal."
The Blackhawks won the series in six games and won their first title since the days of Stan Mikita, Glen Hall and Bobby Hull.
13. Lanny McDonald Wins His First Cup in His Last Game
Lanny McDonald won his first Stanley Cup in his last NHL game.
Lanny McDonald was one of the most popular players on both the Maple Leafs and Flames during his NHL career.
His final campaign came in 1988-89. During that season, McDonald scored his 500th career goal, registered his 1,000th career point and won his first and only Stanley Cup.
The Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games to clinch their only championship. McDonald scored a goal in the final game, which Calgary won 4-2. Defenseman Al MacInnis was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.
The sight of McDonald raising the Cup with his trademark mustache and a bushy playoff beard was a welcome sight for hockey fans outside of Montreal. It was the perfect way for McDonald to end his time in the NHL.
12. Flyers Become the First Expansion Team to Win the Cup
The Flyers won their first Cup in 1974.
The NHL expanded and doubled in size in 1967, but the Original Six reigned supreme for the first six years after that.
The expansion teams finally won their first championship in 1974 when the Philadelphia Flyers won their first of two straight Stanley Cups.
The Flyers beat the Rangers in seven games in the semifinals to become the first expansion team to defeat an Original Six club. Then they beat Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins in six games to win the Stanley Cup.
The Flyers did it with stellar goaltending by Bernie Parent, who was the difference in the playoffs. They also became the toughest and dirtiest team in hockey, earning the nickname, "The Broad Street Bullies."
By winning the Stanley Cup, they also achieved hockey immortality.
11. Petr Klima's 3 OT Goal Gets Edmonton Past Boston
Little-used Petr Klima scored in 3 OT to give the Oilers a big win.
The Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers played the longest game in Stanley Cup Finals history in 1990 when Game 1 of their series lasted 115:13 of playing time. Petr Klima won the game for the Oilers at the 15:13 mark of the third overtime.
The ironic thing was that Klima didn't see much ice time in this game. He was firmly entrenched in coach John Muckler's dog house for his poor play. The fact that he hadn't played much allowed him to have fresh legs in the third overtime and therefore score the winning goal.
The Oilers went on to win the series in five games to win their 5th Stanley Cup and the only one they've won without Wayne Gretzky. Goalie Bill Ranford won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, but it was seldom-used Petr Klima who created the most memorable moment in the series.
10. Ray Bourque Finally Wins a Cup
Ray Bourque's final NHL game was his ultimate triumph.
Hall of Famer Ray Bourque spent 22 seasons in the NHL but he didn't win the Stanley Cup until his final NHL game.
Bourque holds the NHL's all-time record for goals, assists and points by a defenseman. He won five Norris Trophies as the league's top defenseman and was named to 19 postseason All-Star teams during his Hall of Fame career. But while he played in two Stanley Cup Finals with the Bruins, he never won a championship.
The Bruins traded Bourque to the Colorado Avalanche after nearly 21 full seasons in Boston in an attempt to get Bourque that elusive Cup win. He was dealt to Colorado in 2000. A season later, the Avs won the Stanley Cup and Bourque emerged triumphant in the final game of his career.
It was a magic moment as Bourque raised the Stanley Cup over his head.
9. Brett Hull's Controversial Goal Wins a Cup for Dallas
Brett Hull's controversial goal gave Dallas their only Cup win.
Few Stanley Cup-winning goals were as controversial as Brett Hull's in 1999 that gave the Dallas Stars their first and only Stanley Cup win.
The goal came at 14:51 of triple overtime in Game 6 and gave the Stars a 2-1 win in the game and a 4-2 series win.
But the question remains: should the goal have been waived off because Hull's skate was in the crease before the puck arrived there?
Ask a Sabres fan about this goal and even more than a decade later, you're likely to get an angry response.
Despite the controversy, this is a memorable goal that ended an exciting game and series and gave the Stars a championship.
8. Bob Baun Scores the OT Game Winner on a Broken Leg
Baun's unlikely goal earned him a place in Stanley Cup lore.
Toronto Maple Leafs' defenseman Bob Baun was never known as a goal scorer, but it was a remarkable goal that he scored in Game 6 of the 1964 Stanley Cup Final that earned him a place in hockey history.
The hard-hitting Baun was removed from the game on a stretcher after suffering a broken leg. Somehow, he returned to the game when it went into overtime and scored to force a seventh and deciding game in this tight series between Toronto and Detroit.
The Leafs went on to win Game 7 and capture their third straight Stanley Cup.
Baun scored only 37 goals in 964 career NHL games, but it was this famous goal and the toughness he showed in playing through injury that forever made him a part of hockey lore.
7. Bob Nystrom's OT Goal Gives the Islanders Their First Stanley Cup Win
Bobby Nystrom's OT Cup winner started the Islanders dynasty.
The New York Islanders had been one of the NHL's best teams for a few seasons already by the time 1980 came around, but they had endured deflating playoff upsets in both 1978 (Toronto) and 1979 (the Rangers).
The Isles were starting to get a reputation as playoff chokers so general manager Bill Torrey acquired Butch Goring from the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline in 1980. Goring was the last piece of the puzzle.
The Islanders won their first Stanley Cup on Bob Nystrom's overtime goal in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Nassau Coliseum.
It was the start of hockey's next great dynasty. The Islanders won four straight championships (and 19 consecutive series) before falling to the Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 finals.
6. Lester Patrick Plays Goal at 44
Lester Patrick went from coach to goalie and helped his team win a Cup.
While it happened way back in 1928, Lester Patrick's brief turn as a goaltender remains one of the most improbable and incredible moments in NHL history.
The Rangers' coach was 44 and while he was a Hall of Fame player, he had retired six years earlier and played either rover or defense.
When goalie Lorne Chabot was injured in Game 2 of the series against the Montreal Maroons, Patrick faced a difficult decision. Teams didn't carry backup goalies in those days and the Maroons denied the Rangers the right to use a goalie who was in the stands that night. Eventually, the decision was made for Patrick himself to don the pads and play goal himself.
Patrick's decision to play goal himself inspired his team. Patrick saved 18 shots out of the 19 he faced and the Rangers beat the Maroons 2-1 in overtime.
New York went on to win the series 3-2 and Patrick's brief stint in goal became a part of hockey lore.
5. Messier Delivers the Stanley Cup to the Rangers
The Rangers won their first Cup in 54 years in 1994.
The New York Rangers had gone 54 years without winning the Stanley Cup, a drought made even more remarkable by the fact that they were one of only six teams in the league for the first 27 years of that era.
Many great players had been brought to the Rangers to try to bring the Cup back to Broadway including Boom-Boom Geoffrion, Phil Esposito, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson, Marcel Dionne and Guy Lafleur, but all had failed.
Then, in 1991, the Rangers acquired Mark Messier from the Edmonton Oilers. In his first year, he delivered a President's Trophy, but no Cup. After missing the playoffs entirely in 1992-93, the Rangers won another President's Trophy in 1993-94 and prepared for another playoff battle to end their jinx.
The Rangers silenced the chants of "1940" for good in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers held on for a 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden over a determined Vancouver team that nearly pulled off the upset.
As Rangers' play-by-play man Sam Rosen said, "This one will last a lifetime!"
4. Bobby Orr Flies Through the Air and Lands a Champion
Bobby Orr's OT goal gives the Bruins the 1970 Cup.
Bobby Orr scored this famous goal in overtime of Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals to clinch the Stanley Cup for the Bruins in 1970. It completed a 4-0 series sweep for Boston over the St. Louis Blues.
It was the perfect way for Orr to cap off a record-breaking season. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The goal became famous for a still photo of Orr "flying through the air" after scoring the goal. Noel Picard of St. Louis tripped Orr as he scored and he extended his arms in triumph while in the air after he saw the puck go into the goal.
The Bruins won another Stanley Cup in 1972 with a similar cast that included Phil Esposito, Wayne Cashman, Gerry Cheevers, Derek Sanderson and Johnny Bucyk.
3. Bill Barilko Scores the Cup Winner and Then Disappears
The last goal of Bill Barilko's career was a big one.
The Toronto Maple Leafs won the 1951 Stanley Cup Finals in five games over the Montreal Canadiens. It was a tight series, all five contests went into overtime.
The Cup winning goal was scored by Bill Barilko in overtime of Game 5 and it gave the Leafs their fourth championship in five years.
Tragically, Barilko died that summer in a plane crash. His body was not found until 1962, 11 years later. The Maple Leafs did not win the Cup again until Barilko's body was found.
2. The Maple Leafs Overcome a 3-0 Series Deficit to Win the Cup in 1942
The 1942 Maple Leafs are the only team to overcome a 3-0 lead in the Cup Finals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs made history in 1942 when they became the first team in NHL history to win a best-of-seven series after falling behind 3-0.
Game 7 was played in Toronto and the Leafs won it 3-1 to complete their incredible comeback. Pete Langelle scored the game winner midway through the third period.
While it has happened two times since then, the 1942 Leafs are the only team to accomplish this feat in the Stanley Cup Finals. The New York Islanders were the next team to complete the comeback when they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975. The Flyers then pulled the trick against the Bruins in 2010 although the Leafs remain the only team to do it in the Stanley Cup Finals.
1. The Canadiens Win Their 5th Straight Cup
The Habs won 5 straight Stanley Cups from 1956-1960.
The Montreal Canadiens established the greatest dynasty in NHL history when they won their 5th consecutive Stanley Cup in 1960.
The Habs defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs to win that title, sweeping the series in four straight games. Jean Beliveau scored the game winning goal and Jacques Plante earned a shutout in Game 4, a 4-0 Montreal win.
This was also the last NHL game played by the great "Rocket" Richard, who retired after the series was over.
No team has won five straight Stanley Cups before or since the 1956-1960 Canadiens.