Last night was the start of the 2014 Stanley Cup. In honor of this occasion, we’re counting down the ALL-TIME BEST 10 STANLEY CUP FINALS!
10. 2010-Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Blackhawks win in 6)
The 2010 Cup Final seemed to be a mismatch on paper, as the Blackhawks were heavily favored over the Flyers. The first two games of the series did nothing to dispel this prognostication, but the Flyers bounced back, winning both games at home. The Blackhawks surged though, and took the remaining two games and their first Cup since 1961.
9. 2006-Carolina Hurricanes vs. Edmonton Oilers (Hurricanes win in 7)
The Hurricanes were the two-seed in the East, and one of the favorites. The upstart Oilers were the last team to make it in the West. That meant absolutely squat in the Stanley Cup Final, as the two teams went the full seven. The Hurricanes surged to get up 3-1 in the series, but the Oilers won Games 5 & 6. Carolina had the last laugh though, winning Game 7.
8. 1987-Edmonton Oilers vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Oilers win in 7)
The Gretzky/Messier Oilers were a juggernaut and nobody thought the Flyers could hang with them. Unsurprisingly, Philly found themselves down 3-1 in the series, but fought hard to win the next two. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t hang in Game 7 and the Oilers took home the Cup.
7. 2013-Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins (Blackhawks win in 6)
While it didn’t go seven, last year’s Stanley Cup Final was a classic. Two incredibly talented teams, playing their best hockey of the year. The Bruins led the series 2-1, before the Blackhawks reeled off three straight to take the series.
6. 2004-Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Calgary Flames (Lightning win in 7)
Even though Tampa was probably the favorites, the Flames were red hot (pun intended) going into the Cup Finals. No team was able to win two games in a row through the first six. Then, the Lightning broke through in a meat grinder of a Game 7, winning their first Stanley Cup.
5. 1999-Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres (Stars win in 6)
One of the most controversial calls in NHL history ended Game 6 (which went 3 OTs), as well as the series. I’m not going to go through the whole thing, cause it’s like watching JFK, but there was some serious confusion on league rules. Sabres fans still don’t want to talk about this one.
4. 2001-Colorado Avalanche vs. New Jersey Devils (Avalanche win in 7)
The Aves lost Game 5 and had their backs against the wall going to the Garden State for Game 6. Colorado dominated, winning 4-0. They then returned home for Game 7 and took the series. The 2001 Final is most remembered for legendary defenseman, Ray Bourque finally hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup and then retiring.
3. 1971-Montreal Canadiens vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Canadiens win in 7)
Both teams held serve through the first six games before the climactic seventh in Chicago. The Canadiens were amazingly able to steal one at Chicago Stadium, one of the most difficult road environments in NHL history. The Cup returned to the most successful franchise in the NHL.
2. 2009-Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings (Penguins win in 7)
After splitting the first four games, the Red Wings destroyed the Pens in Game 5 (5-0). The Pens grinded out a win in Game 6 to push the series to seven. Pittsburgh was able to hang on for 2-1 win in Game 7…barely! Down the stretch, Penguins’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had to stop a barrage of A+ Red Wings shots. One of the most impressive stretches ever by a goaltender was what the Pens needed, and got, to win the Cup.
1. 1994-New York Rangers vs. Vancouver Canucks (Rangers win in 7)
The 54-year Cup drought ends for the Rangers, but it doesn’t come easily. Despite losing Game 1 in OT, the Rangers rebounded to win three straight. Down three games to one, the Canucks won the next two, setting up a deciding Game 7. The Rangers clipped Vancouver 3-2 to finally bring the Cup back to Broadway.
As tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we at ALL-TIME BEST 10 are doing something special…we’re counting down the ALL-TIME BEST 6 D-DAY MOVIES/SERIES!
So, please come see us on 6/6/14 for this special countdown.