1994 Stanley Cup Finals

The 1994 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1993–94 season, and the culmination of the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested between the Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers and Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks. 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 seven to claim the long-awaited Stanley Cup. It was the fourth championship in franchise history. The CBC broadcast of the deciding game seven attracted an average Canadian audience of 4.957 million viewers, making it the most watched CBC Sports program in history to that time.[1] This was the last Stanley Cup Finals with games played in Canada until 2004.

1994 Stanley Cup Finals
1234567 Total
New York Rangers 2*354313 4
Vancouver Canucks 3*112642 3
* game decided in overtime
Location(s)New York City: Madison Square Garden (1, 2, 5, 7)
Vancouver: Pacific Coliseum (3, 4, 6)
CoachesNew York: Mike Keenan
Vancouver: Pat Quinn
CaptainsNew York: Mark Messier
Vancouver: Trevor Linden
National anthemsNew York: John Amirante
Vancouver: Richard Loney (3)
John Reynolds (4, 6)
RefereesTerry Gregson (1, 4, 7)
Bill McCreary (2, 6)
Andy Van Hellemond (3, 5)
DatesMay 31 – June 14
MVPBrian Leetch (Rangers)
Series-winning goalMark Messier (13:29, second, G7)
NetworksCBC (Canada-English), SRC (Canada-French), ESPN (United States), MSG Network (New York City market) (1,2,3,6,7), MSG II (New York City market) (4,5)
Announcers(CBC) Bob Cole, Harry Neale, Dick Irvin, Jr.
(ESPN) Gary Thorne, Bill Clement
(MSG Network) Sam Rosen, John Davidson

Paths to the Finals

The Canucks entered the playoffs seeded seventh in the Western Conference, and overcame a three-games-to-one 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.[2][3] They then upset the fourth-seeded Dallas Stars and the third-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs in five games each to capture the Western Conference title.[4][5]

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,[6] before falling behind three games to two in the Eastern Conference Final against their Hudson River rivals, New Jersey Devils.[6] They then won game six by a 4–2 score after team captain Mark Messier publicly guaranteed a victory and then scored a third-period hat trick.[7] 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.[6][8] It was Matteau's second double overtime goal of the series.[9]

Game summaries

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.[10]

It was the second straight Finals that featured a former Edmonton Oilers captain trying to become the first person to win 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.[11] Here, it was Mark Messier of the Rangers, who captained the Oilers to the last of their five, in 1990.[12][13]

The Rangers players had a decided edge in Finals experience, with seven players from the 1990 Oilers,[14] 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' five. In addition, three of the Rangers (Messier, Anderson and Lowe) were each making their seventh appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals (each having made their first six 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).[10][15]

Game one

The Rangers scored early and led 2–1 late in the third period before Martin Gélinas tied the game with 1:00 to play in regulation time.[16] It was the third time in eight games that the Rangers had surrendered a last-minute tying goal.[16] 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.[6]

Game two

The Rangers evened the series with a 3–1 victory before the series shifted west.[17]

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. Alexei Kovalev scored a breakaway shorthanded goal, which was featured 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 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.[14] 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

For the second time since 1971 and the tenth 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.[18] 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 seven games of the series).[19]

The game at Madison Square Garden was an "electric affair"[14] 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.[14] In the final 37 seconds, there were three face-offs in the New York end.

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 excitedly 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 as of 2017, the only) player to captain two different teams to the Stanley Cup. For scoring the winning goal, Messier earned the tongue-in-cheek nickname of "Mr. June".[20]

Scoring summary
Period Team Goal Assist(s) Time Score
1st NYR Brian Leetch (11) Sergei Zubov (13) and Mark Messier (18) 11:02 1–0 NYR
NYR Adam Graves (10) – pp Alexei Kovalev (12) and Sergei Zubov (14) 14:45 2–0 NYR
2nd VAN Trevor Linden (11) – sh Brian Glynn (3) and Pavel Bure (15) 5:21 2–1 NYR
NYR Mark Messier (12) – pp Adam Graves (7) and Brian Noonan (7) 13:29 3–1 NYR
3rd VAN Trevor Linden (12) – pp Geoff Courtnall (10) and Cliff Ronning (10) 4:50 3–2 NYR
Penalty summary
Period Team Player Penalty Time PIM
1st VAN Jyrki Lumme Cross-checking 14:03 2:00
VAN Bret Hedican Roughing 18:50 2:00
NYR Esa Tikkanen Roughing 18:50 2:00
2nd VAN Jeff Brown Interference 4:38 2:00
VAN Dave Babych Tripping 12:46 2:00
NYR Mark Messier Hooking 16:39 2:00
3rd NYR Esa Tikkanen Hooking 4:16 2:00
NYR Craig MacTavish Roughing 10:55 2:00
VAN Trevor Linden Roughing 10:55 2:00
Shots by period
Team 1 2 3 T
New York1214935


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 Rangers games. This was the last Cup Finals in which the regional rights holders of the participating U.S. teams produced local telecasts of their respective games. Under the American TV contracts that would take effect beginning next season, there would be exclusive national coverage of the Cup Finals, split between the Fox Broadcasting Company and ESPN.

ESPN also sent its broadcasts to a record 120 countries, for a potential audience of 285 million.[21] 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, and 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.[22][23]


In the United States, game seven was the highest-rated hockey game on cable. ESPN's broadcast drew a 5.2 rating.[24] However, in New York, the ESPN blackout meant MSG Network's broadcast drew 16.2 rating, a record for the network.[22][24] The two networks combined yielded a 6.9 rating.[24]

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.[25] Bob Cole, who called both games,[26] said that game seven was one of his most memorable TV games.[26][27]

Team rosters

Bolded years under Finals appearance indicates a year the player won the Stanley Cup.

New York Rangers

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

Vancouver Canucks

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

New York Rangers: 1994 Stanley Cup champions



A – Did not play in Final.

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 engraving

  • When the New York Rangers submitted the list of names for engraving, Eddie 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. 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 and 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.
  • Seven 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.[23]

See also


Inline citations
  1. Canadian Press (June 15, 2011). "Babych haunted by Canucks' Game 7 loss in 1994". CBCSports.ca. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved May 19, 2012. The broadcast of Game 7 attracted an average audience of (4.957) million viewers to CBC. At the time, it was the most-watched CBC sports program in history.
  2. Canadian Press (May 1, 1994). "Canucks conquer Falmes in OT". Toronto Star. p. B5.
  3. Jamieson, Jim (May 1, 1994). "YEEEE-HAH!: Pavel buries Flames in double overtime". Vancouver Province. p. A72.
  4. Strachan, Alex (May 25, 1994). "Final-ly: Canucks make Stanley Cup after thriller". Vancouver Sun. p. A1.
  5. MacIntyre, Ian (May 25, 1994). "Canucks advance to Cup final: Adams scores winner in double overtime to sink Maple Leafs". Vancouver Sun. p. D1.
  6. Morrison 2008, p. 106
  7. Morrison 2008, pp. 106, 137
  8. "Howie Rose". MSG.com. Madison Square Garden, LP. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  9. LaPointe, Joe (May 28, 1994). "2 Overtimes Later, It's a Final and It's the Rangers". New York Times. p. 27. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  10. Olson, Arv (June 1, 1994). "1982 Canucks were unlikeliest of heroes". The Vancouver Sun. p. E3.
  11. Morrison 2008, pp. 131, 145
  12. Cole 2004, p. 120
  13. Morrison 2008, pp. 134137
  14. Cole 2004, p. 128
  15. Jamieson, Jim (May 31, 1994). "Paper rout for Rangers". Vancouver Province. p. A54. The 27-point differential is the greatest, ironically, between Stanley Cup finalists since the last time the Canucks made the trip to this mega-city 12 springs ago.
  16. Sell, Dave (June 1, 1994). "Canucks Take Stanley Cup Opener in OT". The Washington Post. p. F01. The Rangers lost the first game of their Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey in much the same fashion. In both cases, they controlled play, took leads, then lost leads…Martin Gelinas scored for a 2–2 tie with 60 seconds left in regulation.
  17. Fisher, Red (June 3, 1994). "Cup final tied heading to Vancouver". The Montreal Gazette. p. D1.
  18. Morrison 2008, p. 109
  19. Podell, Ira (June 13, 2009). "Penguin power: Pittsburgh motors away from Detroit with the silver Cup". Salt Lake Deseret News. Associated Press. p. D1. The Penguins…beat the defending champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1…in Game 7 and win the Stanley Cup for the third time…In 2003…the last series in which the home team won all seven games…the Mighty Ducks team that lost then was coached by current Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock.
  20. Barron, James (June 18, 1994). "New Yorkers Bury the Rangers' Curse in a Sea of Confetti". The New York Times. p. 28.
  21. Christie, James (June 15, 1994). "Rangers Bask on Highest Plateau". The Globe and Mail. p. C8.
  22. Kalinsky, George (2004). Garden of Dreams. New York: Stewart, Tabori, & Chang. p. 171. ISBN 1-58479-343-0.
  23. First Russians win Cup - Because It's The Cup on YouTube
  24. "Game 7 a Cable-Ratings High". New York Times. June 16, 1994. p. B12.
  25. Ohler, Shawn (February 26, 2002). "Lucky Loonie Stunt Pays Off". The Calgary Herald. p. A1. A record-busting average of 8.7 million Canadians watched on television as the men's hockey team snatched gold from the United States in Salt Lake City…The audience actually peaked at 10.6 million, the CBC said Monday…CBC says that prior to Sunday, its highest-rated sports show was Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup between the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks, which attracted an average of 4.97 million viewers.
  26. Morrison, Scott (2010). Hockey Night in Canada: Best of the Best. Toronto: Key Porter Books. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-55470-316-6.
  27. Houston, William (November 6, 1997). "Cole's Close Call". The Globe and Mail. p. S4. Cole's three most memorable TV games: 1. Game 7 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals (Edmonton 3, Philadelphia 1). The Oilers at their peak. 2. Game 3 of 1996 World Cup of Hockey Final (United States 5, Canada 2). 'I was devastated.' 3. Game 7, 1994 Stanley Cup Finals (New York Rangers 3, Vancouver 2). 'A great series.'
Preceded by
Montreal Canadiens
New York Rangers
Stanley Cup Champions

Succeeded by
New Jersey Devils
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