Ranking Game 4 Among the 10 Best Stanley Cup Final Games of This Generation
The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins played one of the most exciting and memorable Stanley Cup Final games on Wednesday—one that hockey fans around the world will never forget.
Facing a possible 3-1 deficit, the Blackhawks won Game 4 6-5 in overtime to even the series 2-2. The two Original Six clubs combined to score nine goals in the final 60 minutes of play and end the latest chapter in what could become one of the top three Cup Finals in NHL history.
Where does Wednesday's classic in Boston rank on the list of the best Cup Final games in the last 25 years? Let's find out.
10. 1990 Game 1, Edmonton at Boston
The Boston Bruins were looking for revenge in the 1990 Stanley Cup Final against an Edmonton Oilers team that defeated them two years prior in a sweep.
Boston had a phenomenal chance to win Game 1 when Glen Wesley had a wide-open net but shot the puck high over Oilers goaltender Bill Ranford. In the third overtime, seldom-used depth forward Petr Klima became an unlikely hero with a goal that beat Bruins goaltender Andy Moog through the five-hole.
Unlike the 1988 Cup Final between these two teams, the Bruins had a real chance to win this series, but their devastating loss in Game 1 at home was too much for them to recover from. Edmonton won the series at Boston Garden in Game 5 for its fifth Stanley Cup title in seven years.
9. 1993 Game 2, Los Angeles at Montreal
The Montreal Canadiens completed a stunning and controversial comeback in Game 2 of the 1993 Stanley Cup Final to earn a split at the old Montreal Forum against Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings.
Montreal earned a power play late in the third period when the referee ruled that Kings forward Marty McSorley's stick had an illegal curve, resulting in a minor penalty.
Canadiens defenseman Eric Desjardins tied the game on the power play to force overtime, then ended the game less than a minute into the extra period to complete a hat trick.
Following their dramatic Game 2 victory, the Canadiens won the next three games to capture the franchise's 24th Stanley Cup title.
The pain of this defeat was lessened in 2012 when the Kings finally won their first-ever Stanley Cup.
8. 2008 Game 5, Pittsburgh at Detroit
Facing elimination on the road in Game 5 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins earned a gutsy victory in triple overtime to send the series back home for a Game 6.
After taking a 2-0 lead, Pittsburgh watched its lead crumble by allowing three straight goals to give Detroit a 3-2 lead and a golden opportunity to win the Stanley Cup at home.
With the season 34.8 seconds away from being over, Penguins forward Max Talbot scored to tie the game. After two overtimes weren't enough to find a winner, veteran winger Petr Sykora scored in the third extra period in what was a character win for the team.
One year later, Talbot's clutch scoring would help Pittsburgh win a championship when he scored two goals in a 2-1 Game 7 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
7. 2004 Game 5, Calgary at Tampa Bay
The Calgary Flames earned a thrilling win in Game 5 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final to go home with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup on home ice.
Led by Jarome Iginla on a legendary helmet-less shift in overtime, the Flames earned a hard-fought victory on the road when forward Oleg Saprykin won a puck battle at the top of the crease and beat Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. It was a great ending to the best game of an otherwise hard-to-watch series.
The Flames would fall in Game 6 at home in double overtime and lose the series back in Tampa Bay, where the Lighting won Game 7 to hoist the Stanley Cup.
6. 2013 Game 1, Boston at Chicago
The 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks began with a triple-overtime thriller.
Boston opened the game with a 2-0 lead and also held a 3-1 advantage in the third period, when Chicago tied the score with goals from Johnny Oduya and Dave Bolland to force overtime.
The Bruins had the majority of the quality scoring chances in the overtime periods, including a Kaspars Daugavins mishap with a wide-open net and a shot off the post by defenseman Zdeno Chara on the power play.
In the third overtime, third-line winger Andrew Shaw scored on a double-deflection goal to help the Blackhawks take the series opener in the first triple-overtime Cup Final game since 2008.
5. 2001 Game 7, New Jersey at Colorado
Ray Bourque finally won the Stanley Cup in 2001, when his Colorado Avalanche defeated the defending champion New Jersey Devils in an exciting seven-game series.
The Hall of Fame defenseman spent two decades with the Boston Bruins, but requested a trade in 2000 when the Original Six club was not a championship contender in the last chapter of his career.
After forcing a Game 7 with a road win in New Jersey, Colorado won Game 7 3-1, with Alex Tanguay scoring the first two goals of the game to give his team a commanding 2-0 lead.
Avalanche captain Joe Sakic handed the Cup straight to Bourque instead of skating around the ice with it first, which became one of the classiest moves in NHL history.
The emotion on Bourque's face was the perfect illustration of how important winning the Stanley Cup is to all NHL players. It's the culmination of a childhood dream and an entire career's worth of hard work.
4. 1994 Game 7, Vancouver at New York
The New York Rangers ended decades of heartbreak in 1994 when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a fantastic seven-game series.
The Blueshirts won the clinching game at Madison Square Garden 3-2, and fittingly, it was captain Mark Messier who scored the winning goal. It was a great game and a tremendous ending to one of the best Cup Finals in recent memory.
The image of Messier showing incredible emotion as he got ready to accept the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was a moment that Rangers fans will never forget, especially for those who had never seen their beloved hockey team win a championship prior to 1994.
3. 2010 Game 6, Chicago at Philadelphia
The Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup in Game 6 when star winger Patrick Kane scored in overtime to end the franchise's 49-year Stanley Cup drought.
The Philadelphia Flyers trailed 3-2 in the final four minutes of regulation, but they were able to force overtime when a puck deflected off Marian Hossa and into his own net. With 1:30 remaining in the third period, Flyers center Jeff Carter had a great scoring chance, but Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi made a tremendous save to take away a wide-open net.
It was one of the most exciting Cup-clinching games in the last 25 years, with seven combined goals, fast-paced action, huge hits and two teams trading quality scoring chances. It was a fitting end to a high-scoring series that included 43 total goals.
2. 2009 Game 7, Pittsburgh at Detroit
The Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team in almost 40 years to win the Stanley Cup on the road in a Game 7 after trailing the series 3-2 when they defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena.
After Max Talbot gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead, the Red Wings battled back in the third period with a goal from veteran defenseman Brian Rafalski. Just minutes later, Niklas Kronwall hit the post on a shot that beat Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, and the score became 2-1.
In the final 10 seconds of regulation, Hall of Fame defenseman and Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom was denied by Fleury, whose amazing save preserved a Pittsburgh triumph.
It was the first championship for Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who became the youngest captain to ever win the Stanley Cup.
1. 2013 Game 4, Chicago at Boston
The 2013 Stanley Cup Final is well on its way to becoming the best championship series in the last 25 years. After an exhilarating Game 1 that ended with a Blackhawks victory in triple overtime, the Bruins took Game 2 in overtime and then earned a 2-1 series lead with a 2-0 shutout in Game 3.
Game 4 didn't fail to disappoint. The Blackhawks took leads of 1-0, 2-1, 4-2 and 5-4 with the Bruins showing great resiliency to tie the game on four occasions and force overtime. In the extra period, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook scored his second overtime-winning goal of the playoffs to even the series 2-2 going into Saturday's Game 5 in Chicago.
This game literally had everything a sports fan could want. The star players on both teams shined, there was a fast, exciting flow to the game, lots of goals were scored and both teams traded chances all night.
Is this the best Stanley Cup Final game in the last 25 years? Share your opinion in the comments section below.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He is also a credentialed writer at the 2013 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.