10. The Goal
The 1970 Cup Final was an uneventful series, as the favoured Boston Bruins breezed past the St. Louis Blues in the first three games before completing the sweep in a more competitive game four.
9. The Fog and the Bat Game
Not every hockey game is remembered for the hockey—game three of the 1975 Cup Final between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres is famous for the oddities that occurred during play.
Nature got its revenge minutes later as a heavy fog rolled over the ice, making it difficult for players to see what was going on, and obscuring the game from the fans completely. The match continued regardless, because who needs to see clearly when you’re only waving big sticks around and shooting hard rubber at each other, and the Sabres eventually won in overtime. But the Flyers would go on to take the series in six games, and the bat’s death is now seen as a curse that caused the Sabres’ defeat.
8. The Marathon Game
The 1990 Cup Final represented the end of a dynasty—the Edmonton Oilers had traded Wayne Gretzky, and this would prove to be their last shot at glory before the rest of the franchise’s stars drifted away.
7. Mario Lemieux’s Greatest Play
Bobby Orr’s goal is remembered for its aftermath, but Mario Lemieux’s is famous for its execution. It occurred in game two of the 1991 Cup Final; Lemieux’s Penguins were down a game to the Minnesota North Stars, and they needed a win to avoid going to Minnesota in a two game hole.
6. The Best Cup Final
Most famous moments in sports are just that: mere moments. A single goal, blunder or weird event can, as we’ve already seen, define entire championships. But every once and a while there are victories that can’t be summed up in just one play—the 1987 Cup Final didn’t have any truly iconic moments, but it’s still considered one of the best series in playoff history.
5. Ray Bourque’s Cup
In 2001 the Colorado Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils in seven games to win the Stanley Cup, but their championship will forever be associated with one man: Ray Bourque.
4. Brett Hull’s “Goal”
The 1999 Stanley Cup Final had a little bit of everything: an underdog going up against a heavy favourite, a dramatic, triple overtime finish, and one of the most controversial calls in hockey history.
3. Mark Messier’s Guaranteed Win
The playoffs put enough pressure on players as it is—the last thing any of them need is their captain placing their reputations on the line by promising the media a victory.
2. The Miraculous Comeback
We’re going way back into the history books for this one, but the Toronto Maple Leafs’ defeat of the Detroit Red Wings in 1942 for their fourth Stanley Cup victory is a landmark in the sport for two reasons. It was the first Final to go seven games, but more importantly it was the first time a team had come back from a three games to none deficit to win a series. It’s a remarkable feat that has only been accomplished twice since, and never again for a championship.
1. Two Dynasties Collide
As a series, the 1983 Cup Final was a rather dull affair—the New York Islanders swept the Edmonton Oilers in four lopsided games. A look at the bigger picture, however, shows that 1983 was a landmark year for the league.