The 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs began after the end of the 1993–94 NHL season.
The sixteen teams that qualified, eight from each conference, played best-of-seven series for conference quarterfinals, semifinals and championships and then the conference champions played a best-of-seven series for the Stanley Cup.
The playoffs ended when the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the seventh game of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals.
This was the beginning of Canada's longest absence from the Stanley Cup Finals.
For the first time in history, all four former WHA teams (Edmonton, Hartford, Quebec and Winnipeg) failed to make the playoffs in the same year.
This would not happen again until 2007 a decade after the three latter teams relocated (it would also happen again in 2013).
The Los Angeles Kings and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim failed to make the playoffs.
Both Florida teams missed the playoffs. For the third time in history, every Original Six team made the playoffs in the same season.
This also happened in 1978 & 1987 and would happen again in 1996 & 2013.
Wayne Gretzky missed the playoffs for the first of four times in his career.
New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders
The New York Rangers won the series 4-0.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals
Washington won the series 4-2.
New Jersey Devils vs. Buffalo Sabres
New Jersey won the series 4-3.
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
Boston won the series 4-3 and Game 6 was the last playoff game held in the Montreal Forum.
Detroit Red Wings vs. San Jose Sharks
San Jose won the series 4-3.
Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver won the series 4-3.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Toronto won the series 4-2 and Game 6 was the last game ever held at Chicago Stadium.
Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues
Dallas won the series 4-0 and Game 4 was the last game ever held at St. Louis Arena.
New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
New York won the series 4-1.
New Jersey Devils vs. Boston Bruins
New Jersey won the series 4-2.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. San Jose Sharks
Toronto won the series 4-3.
Dallas Stars vs. Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver won the series 4-1.
Eastern Conference FinalEdit
New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils
This was the first Conference Final since 1985 not to feature either the Boston Bruins or the Montreal Canadiens.
New York was trying to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1979 while the Devils were trying to advance to their first-ever Cup Finals.
The Rangers and Devils finished 1–2 respectively in the NHL during the regular season.
Despite the two teams strong regular season records, the Rangers entered the series heavily favored as they had swept the regular season six game series with the Devils.
This series was the second time that the Rangers and Devils had met in the post-season.
With a minute remaining in game one at Madison Square Garden, New York was leading 3–2, however, Devils forward Claude Lemieux tied the game on a scramble in front of New York goaltender Mike Richter.
The Devils went on to win the game on Stephane Richer's breakaway goal at 15:23 of the second overtime.
The Rangers evened the series, winning game two in a 4–0 shutout.
The series then turned to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey for games three and four.
Like game one, game three went into double overtime but this time it was New York who won, 3–2 on Stephane Matteau's goal at 6:13 of the second overtime period.
The Devils (winning by a final score of 3–1 in game four) evened the series at 2-2.
The Devils took the series lead with a 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden in game five.
Despite the fact that his team trailed in the series 3–2, Rangers captain Mark Messier made a highly publicized guarantee that New York would win game six.
After trailing New Jersey by a score of 2–1 after two periods, Messier himself scored a third-period hat trick to rally the Rangers to a 4–2 victory.
Rangers Coach Mike Keenan said of the guarantee:
"Mark was sending a message to his teammates that he believed together we could win. He put on an amazing performance to make sure it happened."
Brian Leetch gave the Rangers a 1–0 lead in the second period.
Richter (who had shut out the Devils for over 59 minutes) conceded Devils forward Valeri Zelepukin the game-tying goal with just 7.7 seconds remaining in regulation.
The two teams played into double overtime for the third time in the series, and for the second time in the series, it was Stephane Matteau who scored the game winner.
With his a wrap-around goal coming at 4:24 of the second overtime period, the Rangers won the game 2–1 and the series 4–3.
New York won the series 4-3.
Western Conference FinalEdit
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Vancouver Canucks
The Maple Leafs were hoping to make it to Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since winning the championship in 1967 while the Canucks had not made it to the Cup Finals since their Cinderella run in 1982.
Toronto won game one at Maple Leaf Gardens on Peter Zezel's goal at 16:55 of the first overtime period.
After that, however, the Maple Leafs could not seem to slow down the bigger, more-powerful Canucks.
Vancouver edged Toronto 4–3 in game two, and won shutouts at the Pacific Coliseum in games three and four, by scores of 2–0 and 4–0 respectively.
Down three games to one and facing elimination, the Maple Leafs played much better in game five on Tuesday, May 24, 1994 in Vancouver.
They pushed Vancouver to double overtime but it was Vancouver forward Greg Adams who beat Leafs goaltender [Felix Potvin]] just 14 seconds into the second overtime period to give the Canucks a 4–3 win and a 4–1 series win.
Vancouver won the series 4-1.