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1994 Stanley Cup Finals

The 1994 Stanley Cup Finals was a best-of-seven playoff series contested between the Gaston Conference champion New York Rangers and Slim Conference champion Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Vancouver Canucks were making the club's second Final appearance, their first coming during their Cinderella run of 1982, and the Rangers were making their tenth appearance, their first since 1979. The New York 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 7 attracted an average Canadian audience of 4.957 million viewers, making it the most watched CBC Sports program in history to that time.

Road to the FinalEdit

The Vancouver Canucks entered the playoffs seeded 7th in the Slim Conference, and overcame a 3–1 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. They then upset the 4th seeded Dallas Stars and the 3rd seeded Toronto Maple Leafs in 5 games each to capture the Slim Conference title.

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 before falling behind 3–2 in the Gaston Conference Final against their Hudson River rivals, New Jersey Devils. They then won game 6 by a 4–2 score after team captain Mark Messier publicly guaranteed a victory and then scored a 3rd period hat trick. The Rangers then won game 7 2–1 on Stephane Matteau's goal in 2OT, prompting the call of "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!" by Rangers radio announcer Howie Rose. It was Matteau's second 2OT of the series.

The SeriesEdit

This series brought together two assistant coaches who were teammates on the other Canucks team to reach the Finals: Rangers assistant coach Colin Campbell & 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 capture 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. Here, it was Mark Messier of the Rangers, who captained the Oilers to the last of their five, in 1990.

The Rangers' players had a decided edge in Stanley Cup 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' 5. In addition, 3 of the Rangers (Messier, Anderson, and Lowe) were each making their 7th appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals (each having made their first 6 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).

Game 1Edit

The Rangers scored early and led 2–1 late in the third period before Martin Gelinas tied the game with 1:00 to play in regulation time. 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. 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 2Edit

The Rangers evened the series with a 3–1 victory before the series shifted west.

Game 3Edit

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, 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. Alexei Kovalev scored a breakaway shorthanded goal to help the Rangers and this goal was 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 4Edit

In the fourth game, the Canucks again jumped out to an early lead, this time 2–0, before Mike Richter and Brian Leetch took over the game. Richter made some key saves to keep the game within reach, including one on a penalty shot against Pavel Bure & Leetch picked up a goal and three assists as the Rangers won 4–2 to take a commanding 3–1 series lead.

Game 5Edit

Most who entered Madison Square Garden for the fifth game thought they were going to see the Rangers win the Cup that night & New York had already set the date for a victory parade. However, the celebration plans got ahead of the work at hand as 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.

Game 6Edit

The Canucks fired 14 shots at Mike Richter in the first period and led 1–0 on a Jeff Brown bullet from the point. The score was 2–1 after two periods before another Brown goal gave the Canucks a 3–1 third-period lead. 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.

Game 7Edit

For the second time since 1971 and the 10th time overall, the Final went to seven games. 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 1987 when they lost to the Edmonton Oilers. Mike Babcock would join him in this feat in 2009 while with the Detroit Red Wings, having been with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim when they lost to the New Jersey Devils in 2003 (the home team won all 7 games of the series).

The game at Madison Square Garden was an "electric affair" with the Rangers jumping to an early 2–0 lead, 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. 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.

TelevisionEdit

In Canada, the series was televised in English on the CBC and in French on SRC. In the United States, the series was broadcast on ESPN. However, ESPN was blacked out in the New York City market because of the MSG Network's local rights to the NY Rangers games. ESPN also sent its broadcasts to a record 120 countries, for a potential audience of 285 million. MSG Network broadcaster Al Trautwig said that the Rangers themselves contributed to those numbers in putting the first Russian names on the Stanley Cup: Alexander Karpovtsev, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov & Sergei Zubov, giving a huge European audience, including those watching on the brand-new television screens across the former Soviet Union, a Stanley Cup story to remember.

RatingsEdit

In the United States, game seven was the highest-rated hockey game on cable. ESPN's broadcast drew a 5.2 rating, however, in New York, the ESPN blackout meant MSG Network's broadcast drew 16.2 rating, a record for the network. The two networks combined yielded a 6.9 rating.

With an average Canadian audience of 4.957 million viewers, game seven was the most watched CBC Sports program until the 10.6 million viewers for the men's ice hockey gold medal game between Canada and the United States at the 2002 Winter Olympics when Canada won its first Olympic ice hockey gold medal since the 1952 Winter Olympics.

Bob Cole (who called both games) said that game 7 was one of his most memorable TV games.

RostersEdit

New York RangersEdit

Goaltenders
# Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
30 Glenn Healy L 1992–93 Canada Pickering, Ontario first (did not play)
35 Mike Richter L 1985 United States Abington, Pennsylvania first
Defencemen
# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
2 Brian LeetchA L 1986 United States Corpus Christi, Texas first
4 Kevin LoweA L 1992–93 Canada Lachute, Quebec seventh (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
6 Doug Lidster R 1993–94 Canada Kamloops, British Columbia first
21 Sergei Zubov R 1990 Template:Country data USSR Moscow, USSR first
23 Jeff Beukeboom R 1991–92 Canada Ajax, Ontario fourth (1987, 1988, 1990)
24 Jay Wells L 1992–93 Canada Paris, Ontario first
25 Alexander Karpovtsev R 1993–94 Template:Country data USSR Moscow, USSR first
Forwards
# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
9 Adam GravesA LW L 1991–92 Canada Toronto, Ontario second (1990)
10 Esa Tikkanen RW L 1993–94 Template:Country data FIN Helsinki, Finland fifth (1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
11 Mark MessierC C L 1991–92 Canada Edmonton, Alberta seventh (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
12 Ed Olczyk C L 1992–93 United States Palos Heights, Illinois first (did not play)
13 Sergei Nemchinov C L 1990 Template:Country data USSR Moscow, USSR first
14 Craig MacTavish C L 1993–94 Canada London, Ontario fourth (1987, 1988, 1990)
15 Mike Hudson C L 1993–94 Canada Guelph, Ontario first
16 Brian Noonan RW R 1993–94 United States Boston, Massachusetts second (1992)
17 Greg Gilbert LW L 1993–94 Canada Mississauga, Ontario fourth (1982, 1983, 1992)
18 Mike Hartman LW L 1992–93 United States Detroit, Michigan first (did not play)
19 Nick Kypreos LW L 1993–94 Canada Toronto, Ontario first
26 Joe Kocur RW L 1990–91 Canada Kelvington, Saskatchewan first
27 Alexei Kovalev RW L 1991 Template:Country data USSR Tolyatti, USSR first
28 Steve LarmerA RW L 1993–94 Canada Peterborough, Ontario second (1992)
32 Stephane Matteau LW L 1993–94 Canada Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec second (1992)
36 Glenn Anderson RW/LW L 1993–94 Canada Vancouver, British Columbia seventh (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)

Vancouver CanucksEdit

Goaltenders
# Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
1 Kirk McLean L 1987–88 Canada Willowdale, Ontario first
30 Mike Fountain L 1992 Canada North York, Ontario first (did not play)
35 Kay Whitmore L 1992–93 Canada Sudbury, Ontario first (did not play)
Defencemen
# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
3 Bret Hedican L 1993–94 United States St. Paul, Minnesota first
4 Gerald Diduck L 1990–91 Canada Edmonton, Alberta first
5 Dana MurzynA L 1990–91 Canada Calgary, Alberta second (1989, did not play)
6 Adrien Plavsic L 1989–90 Canada Montreal, Quebec first (did not play)
21 Jyrki Lumme L 1989–90 Template:Country data FIN Tampere, Finland first
22 Jeff Brown R 1993–94 Canada Ottawa, Ontario first
24 Jiri Slegr L 1990 Czech Republic Jihlava, Czechoslovakia first (did not play)
28 Brian Glynn R 1993–94 Template:Country data GER Iserlohn, West Germany first
44 Dave Babych L 1991–92 Canada Edmonton, Alberta first
Forwards
# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
7 Cliff Ronning C L 1990–91 Canada Burnaby, British Columbia first
8 Greg Adams LW L 1987–88 Canada Nelson, British Columbia first
10 Pavel Bure RW L 1989 Template:Country data USSR Moscow, USSR first
14 Geoff Courtnall LW L 1990–91 Canada Victoria, British Columbia second (1988)
15 John McIntyre C L 1993–94 Canada London, Ontario first
16 Trevor LindenC C R 1988 Canada Medicine Hat, Alberta first
17 Jimmy Carson C R 1993–94 United States Southfield, Michigan second (did not play)
18 Shawn Antoski LW L 1990 Canada Brantford, Ontario first
19 Tim Hunter RW R 1992–93 Canada Calgary, Alberta third (1986, 1989)
20 Jose Charbonneau RW R 1993–94 Canada Ferme-Neuve, Quebec first (did not play)
23 Martin Gelinas RW R 1993–94 Canada Shawinigan, Quebec second (1990)
25 Nathan LaFayette RW R 1993–94 Canada New Westminster, British Columbia first
27 Sergio MomessoA LW L 1990–91 Canada Montreal, Quebec first
29 Gino Odjick LW L 1990 Canada Maniwaki, Quebec first (did not play)
32 Murray Craven C L 1992–93 Canada Medicine Hat, Alberta third (1985, 1987)
33 Michael Peca C R 1992 Canada Toronto, Ontario first (did not play)

Stanley Cup EngravingEdit

Roster

Centres

  • 11 Mark Messier (Captain)
  • 13 Sergei Nemchinov
  • 14 Craig MacTavish
  • 15 Mike Hudson
  • 27 Alexei Kovalev
  • 12 Ed Olczyk (also played wing)

Wingers

  • 9 Adam Graves (A)
  • 10 Esa Tikkanen
  • 16 Brian Noonan
  • 17 Greg Gilbert
  • 18 Mike HartmanA
  • 19 Nick Kypreos
  • 26 Joey Kocur
  • 28 Steve Larmer (A)
  • 32 Stephane Matteau
  • 36 Glenn Anderson

Defencemen

  • 2 Brian Leetch (A)
  • 4 Kevin Lowe (A)
  • 6 Doug Lidster
  • 21 Sergei Zubov
  • 23 Jeff Beukeboom
  • 24 Jay Wells
  • 25 Alexander Karpovtsev

Goaltenders

  • 35 Mike Richter
  • 30 Glenn Healy

Coaching and administrative staff

  • Neil Smith (President/General Manager/Governor).
  • Robert Gutkowski (Alt. Governor)
  • Stanley Jaffe (Alt. Governor)
  • Kenneth Munoz (Alt. Governor)
  • Larry Pleau (Asst. General Manager)
  • Mike Keenan (Head Coach)
  • Colin Campbell (Associate Coach)
  • Dick Todd (Asst. Coach)
  • Matthew Loughran (Manager of Team Operations)
  • Barry Watkins (Director of Communications)
  • Christer Rockstrom (Scout), Tony Feltrin (Scout), Martin Madden (Scout), Herb Hammond (Scout) & Darwin Bennett (Scout)
  • Dave Smith (Medical trainer)
  • Joe Murphy (Equipment trainer)
  • Mike Folga (Equipment manager)
  • Bruce Lifrieri (Massage therapist)

Stanley Cup EngravingEdit

When the New York Rangers submitted the list of names for engraving, Ed Olczyk and Mike Hartman were included, although they fell short of the official requirements of 41 regular season games, or participation in the Final. When the Stanley Cup was engraved, Olczyk and Hartman's names were omitted. (Olczyk had played 37 regular-season games and one game in the Eastern Conference Final while Hartman had played 35 regular-season games and none in the playoffs.) Both players had spent the entire season with New York and missed extensive time due to injury. At the Rangers' protest, the NHL added Olczyk & Hartman to the Cup. The NHL no longer adds missing names after the Cup has been engraved, though since 1994 it allows teams to petition for the inclusion of players who do not officially qualify.

7 players who won the cup in 1994 were also with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 when they won their fifth Cup: Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson, Jeff Beukeboom, Adam Graves, Craig MacTavish and Esa Tikkanen.An eighth player, Greg Gilbert also won the Stanley Cup with the New York Islanders in 1982 and 1983.

Alexander Karpovtsev, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov and Sergei Zubov became the first four Russian-trained players to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.