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The 1994 Stanley Cup Final was a best-of-seven playoff series contested between the Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers and Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League. The 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 Rangers ended their record 54-year championship drought with a victory in Game 7 to claim the long-awaited Stanley Cup. It was the fourth championship in franchise history, which was also the last great moment for the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 1980's.

Paths to the Final

The Canucks entered the playoffs seeded #7 in the Western Conference, and overcame a 3–1 deficit against the Calgary Flames, winning the final three games in overtime with Game 7 ending in double overtime as Pavel Bure scored the winning goal on a breakaway to upset the Flames. They then upset the Dallas Stars, seeded #4 and the Toronto Maple Leafs, seeded #3, in five games each to capture the Western Conference title.

The Rangers swept the New York Islanders and then beat the Washington Capitals in five games, before falling behind 3 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. They then won game six by a 4–2 score after Mark Messier publicly guaranteed a victory and then scored a third period hat trick. The Rangers then won game seven 2–1 on Stéphane Matteau's goal in double overtime, prompting the call of "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!" by Rangers radio announcer Howie Rose which became drilled into the memories of Ranger fans. It was Matteau's second double overtime goal of the series.

The series

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

Game one

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 two

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

Game three

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. Glenn Anderson scored on the ensuing power-play and the Rangers then cruised to a 5–1 victory.

Game four

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, and Leetch picked up a goal and three assists as the Rangers won 4–2 to take a commanding 3–1 series lead.

Game five

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. 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 six

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 seven

Entering the second Game 7 Stanley Cup Finals since 1971, Rangers Coach Mike Keenan became the first person to head coach Game 7's of the Stanley Cup Finals with two different teams, having been with 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.

The game at Madison Square Garden was an "electric affair" with the Rangers jumping to an early 2-0 lead. Canucks captain Trevor Linden, however, silenced the home crowd with a short-handed goal early in the second period. Mark Messier restored order with a third Ranger goal only to have Linden make it close again with a goal early in the third. Nathan LaFayette "fightened all Manhattan wobbling a loose puck" off the post behind Mike Richter with five minutes left, but the Rangers managed to hang on, 3-2, as the Garden erupted in tears and cheers, as Vancouver could not complete their Cinderella run. Brian Leetch became the first (and to this date, the only) American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Mark Messier provided two of the most memorable images of that Stanley Cup Finals that would become iconic images to the Rangers and their fans: first, jumping up and down like a little kid with overwhelming emotion as ticker tape fell, then, showing incredible emotion as he accepted the Stanley Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as he became the first (and to this date, the only) Stanley Cup captain on two different teams. This image was taken by George Kalinsky, photographer at Madison Square Garden.

Although Keenan avoided becoming the first coach in NHL history to lose a Game 7 Stanley Cup Finals with two different teams, this unfortunate fate would befall Babcock in 2009 when his Red Wings lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins.


Bold-face years under finals appearance indicates year won Stanley Cup.

New York Rangers

# Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
30 Glenn Healy L 1993 Pickering, Ontariomarker first (did not play)
35 Mike Richter L 1985 Abington, Pennsylvaniamarker first

# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
2 Brian Leetch - A L 1986 Corpus Christi, Texasmarker first
4 Kevin LoweA L 1992 Lachutemarker, Quebecmarker seventh (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
6 Doug Lidster R 1993 Kamloopsmarker, British Columbiamarker first
21 Sergei Zubov R 1990 Moscowmarker, Russiamarker first
23 Jeff Beukeboom R 1991 Ajax, Ontariomarker fourth (1987, 1988, 1990)
24 Jay Wells L 1992 Paris, Ontario first
25 Alexander Karpovtsev R 1994 Moscowmarker, Russiamarker first

# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
9 Adam GravesA LW L 1991 Torontomarker, Ontariomarker second (1990)
10 Esa Tikkanen RW L 1993 Helsinkimarker, Finlandmarker fifth (1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
11 Mark MessierC C L 1991 Edmontonmarker, Albertamarker seventh (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
12 Ed Olczyk C L 1992 Palos Heights, Illinoismarker first (did not play)
13 Sergei Nemchinov C L 1990 Moscowmarker, Russiamarker first
14 Craig MacTavish C L 1994 London, Ontariomarker fourth (1987, 1988, 1990)
15 Mike Hudson C L 1993 Guelphmarker, Ontariomarker first
16 Brian Noonan RW R 1994 Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker second (1992)
17 Greg Gilbert LW L 1994 Mississaugamarker, Ontariomarker fourth (1982, 1983, 1992)
18 Mike Hartman LW L 1993 Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker first (did not play)
19 Nick Kypreos LW L 1993 Torontomarker, Ontariomarker first
26 Joe Kocur RW L 1990 Kelvington, Saskatchewan first
27 Alexei Kovalev RW L 1991 Tolyattimarker, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic first
28 Steve Larmer - A RW L 1993 Peterborough, Ontariomarker second (1992)
32 Stéphane Matteau LW L 1994 Rouyn-Norandamarker, Quebecmarker second (1992)
36 Glenn Anderson RW/LW L 1994 Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker seventh (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)

Vancouver Canucks

# Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
1 Kirk McLean L 1987 Willowdalemarker, Ontariomarker first
30 Mike Fountain L 1992 North York, Ontariomarker first (did not play)
35 Kay Whitmore L 1992 Sudburymarker, Ontariomarker first (did not play)

# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
3 Bret Hedican L 1994 St. Paulmarker, Minnesotamarker first
4 Gerald Diduck L 1991 Edmontonmarker, Albertamarker first
5 Dana MurzynA L 1991 Calgarymarker, Albertamarker second (1989, did not play)
6 Adrien Plavsic L 1990 Montrealmarker, Quebecmarker first (did not play)
21 Jyrki Lumme L 1990 Tamperemarker, Finlandmarker first
22 Jeff Brown R 1994 Ottawamarker, Ontariomarker first
24 Jiri Slegr L 1990 Jihlavamarker, Czechoslovakiamarker first (did not play)
28 Brian Glynn R 1994 Iserlohnmarker, West Germanymarker first
44 Dave Babych L 1991 Edmontonmarker, Albertamarker first

# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
7 Cliff Ronning C L 1991 Burnabymarker, British Columbiamarker first
8 Greg Adams LW L 1987 Nelsonmarker, British Columbiamarker first
10 Pavel BureA RW L 1989 Moscowmarker, USSRmarker first
14 Geoff Courtnall LW L 1991 Victoriamarker, British Columbiamarker second (1988)
15 John McIntyre C L 1993 Londonmarker, Ontariomarker first
16 Trevor LindenC C R 1988 Medicine Hatmarker, Albertamarker first
17 Jimmy Carson C R 1993 Southfieldmarker, Michiganmarker first (did not play)
18 Shawn Antoski LW L 1990 Brantfordmarker, Ontariomarker first
19 Tim Hunter RW R 1993 Calgarymarker, Albertamarker third (1986,1989)
20 José Charbonneau RW R 1993 Ferme-Neuvemarker, Quebecmarker first (did not play)
23 Martin Gélinas RW R 1993 Shawiniganmarker, Quebecmarker second (1990)
25 Nathan LaFayette RW R 1994 New Westminstermarker, British Columbiamarker first
27 Sergio MomessoA LW L 1991 Montrealmarker, Quebecmarker first
29 Gino Odjick LW L 1990 Maniwakimarker, Quebecmarker first (did not play)
32 Murray Craven C L 1993 Medicine Hatmarker, Albertamarker third (1985, 1987)
33 Michael Peca C R 1992 Torontomarker, Ontariomarker first (did not play)

New York Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup champions

See also



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