1995 Stanley Cup Finals
The 1995 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1994–95 season, and the culmination of the 1995 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested by the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils and the Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings. This was the first of nine consecutive finals with American-based franchises exclusively. New Jersey was making the franchise's first appearance in the Finals, while Detroit returned to the Finals for the first time since 1966 (and had not won since 1955; both of those appearances had been against the Montreal Canadiens). The Devils swept the series four games to none to win their first Stanley Cup, becoming the sixth team to earn a championship having joined the league in 1967 or later.
|1995 Stanley Cup Finals|
|Location(s)||East Rutherford: Brendan Byrne Arena (3, 4)|
Detroit: Joe Louis Arena (1, 2)
|Coaches||New Jersey: Jacques Lemaire|
Detroit: Scotty Bowman
|Captains||New Jersey: Scott Stevens|
Detroit: Steve Yzerman
|Referees||Bill McCreary (1, 4)|
Terry Gregson (2)
Kerry Fraser (3)
|Dates||June 17 – June 24|
|MVP||Claude Lemieux (Devils)|
|Series-winning goal||Neal Broten (7:56, second, G4)|
|Networks||CBC (Canada-English), Fox (United States-games 1, 4), ESPN (United States-games 2, 3)|
|Announcers||Bob Cole and Harry Neale (CBC), Mike Emrick and John Davidson (Fox), Gary Thorne and Bill Clement (ESPN)|
Despite the fact that the regular season was cut severely short by the owners' lockout, both the season and the finals were saved at the eleventh hour–this would be the latest in June that the Stanley Cup was awarded (matched in 2013). The Devils won their first Stanley Cup, after 21 seasons and two franchise relocations. It was also the first of three for the Devils in less than a decade. The win was made more impressive by the fact that the Devils won it holding the lowest seed ever to win the Stanley Cup with the fifth seed, which remained the record until 2012, another Final which not only involved the Devils, but also saw the Stanley Cup won by a team that did not have home ice advantage in any of the four rounds of the playoffs, as the Devils lost to the Los Angeles Kings. Their regular-season winning percentage was also the lowest since the 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs. They were the underdogs going in, winning their first two games on the road.
This series featured the two teams that would go to the finals at least four times since the NHL renamed the conferences before the 1993–94 season. Including 1995, the Devils would go to the Finals five times, while the Red Wings would appear in the Finals six times. It also marked the beginning of a series of wins the Devils, Red Wings, and Colorado Avalanche would establish in the era from 1995 to 2003. The three teams would win a combined eight of nine Stanley Cups during that time. The Devils won it here, followed by the Avalanche in 1996, then the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. After the Dallas Stars won in 1999, the four-year cycle repeated as the Devils started it again in 2000, followed by Colorado in 2001, Detroit in 2002, and the Devils themselves again in 2003.
This was the first Cup Final since 1980 to be played entirely within one time zone.
Paths to the Finals
|June 17||New Jersey Devils||2–1||Detroit Red Wings||Joe Louis Arena|
|Martin Brodeur 16 saves / 18 shots||Goalies||Mike Vernon 19 saves / 23 shots||Referee:|
The series opened on Saturday, June 17 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Few gave New Jersey much of a chance against the NHL's best team. Going into the game, Detroit was a perfect 8–0 at home in the playoffs, and had outscored their opponents 30–11 in their eight home games. In the first three rounds alone the Red Wings had scored 18 power-play goals. Detroit fans, first greeting their opponents with a chorus of boos, then chanted after every Devils name was read during introductions, "Who cares?"
After a scoreless first period, the underdog Devils got on the board first, when Stephane Richer blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle that just squeezed through Detroit goaltender Mike Vernon. The power-play goal came at 9:41 of the second period and gave New Jersey a 1–0 lead. The Red Wings responded less than four minutes later and tied the game on a power-play goal by Dino Ciccarelli at 13:08. The Devils would regain the lead on a goal by Claude Lemieux, a slapper from the slot at 3:17 of the third period. New Jersey would go on to win the game 2–1 and take a one-game-to-none series lead. They played a solid defensive game, frustrating the Red Wings and holding them to just 17 shots. The win was their ninth road win of the playoffs.
|June 20||New Jersey Devils||4–2||Detroit Red Wings||Joe Louis Arena|
|Martin Brodeur 16 saves / 18 shots||Goalies||Mike Vernon 19 saves / 23 shots||Referee:|
In game two, Detroit played with a sense of urgency. Vyacheslav Kozlov scored on the power play at 7:17 of the second period to make the score 1–0 in favor of the Red Wings. Devils forward John MacLean would tie the game at 1–1 less than two and a half minutes later with a goal at 9:40. Then, on a Detroit breakaway, New Jersey defenceman and captain Scott Stevens laid a thundering body check on Kozlov as he made a move to the inside past the New Jersey blue line. Although the Red Wings regained the lead on Sergei Fedorov's goal at 1:36 of the third period, the Stevens hit seemed to inspire the Devils. With the midway point of the third period approaching, New Jersey defenceman Scott Niedermayer picked up the puck in his own zone and skated up the ice. Once over the Detroit blue line, he got a step on Detroit defenceman Paul Coffey and fired a shot towards the Detroit net. Although the puck missed the net, it bounced off the end boards and came right back to Niedermayer, who shot it past Mike Vernon to tie the game at 2–2. The game remained tied until late in the third period. Devils defenceman Shawn Chambers fired a shot from the point and the rebound came right to Jim Dowd who backhanded the puck into the net to give the Devils a 3–2 lead. Stéphane Richer would add an empty-net goal as New Jersey won, 4–2.
|June 22||Detroit Red Wings||2–5||New Jersey Devils||Brendan Byrne Arena|
Chris Osgood 26 saves / 31 shots
|Goalies||Martin Brodeur 22 saves / 24 shots||Referee:|
Game three, the very first NHL game ever played after the official summer solstice, shifted the series back to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. During game one, the Detroit crowd taunted the Devils by collectively jeering "Who cares?" after each player was introduced. The Devils fans countered by raining boos down on the visiting Red Wings and delivering chants of "Red Wings suck." The Devils did their talking on the ice, dominating the Red Wings, scoring five consecutive goals. Bruce Driver, Claude Lemieux, Neal Broten, Randy McKay and Bobby Holik all scored to give the Devils a 5–0 lead with 11:46 remaining in the game. Detroit scored twice on power-play goals by Sergei Fedorov and Steve Yzerman at 16:57 and 18:27 of the third period, but it was insufficient to keep New Jersey from winning a 5–2 game. They now had a commanding three-games-to-none lead in the series.
|June 24||Detroit Red Wings||2–5||New Jersey Devils||Brendan Byrne Arena|
|Mike Vernon 21 saves / 26 shots||Goalies||Martin Brodeur 14 saves / 16 shots||Referee:|
The Devils jumped out to a 1–0 lead on Neal Broten's goal just 68 seconds into the game. However, the Red Wings were fighting to stay alive and tied the game on Sergei Fedorov's goal just 55 seconds later. Coffey scored a shorthanded goal at 13:01 to give Detroit a 2–1 lead. New Jersey responded less than five minutes later, at 17:45 on a slap-shot goal by Shawn Chambers that beat Mike Vernon glove-side. Then, in the second period, Scott Niedermayer passed to Broten, who chipped the puck over Vernon's glove from just in front of the net. The goal, Broten's second of the game, gave the Devils a 3–2 lead. New Jersey would increase its lead with goals by Sergei Brylin and Chambers (his second of the game) at 7:46 and 12:32 of the third period. The Devils won the game 5–2 and the series four games to none. It was New Jersey's first Stanley Cup Championship in team history. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur allowed just seven goals against the Red Wings in the series and Devils forward Claude Lemieux was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, having led all skaters in playoff goals with 13. He would win the Stanley Cup again the very next season with the Colorado Avalanche.
This was the first year that coverage of the Cup Finals in the United States was split between Fox and ESPN. Fox broadcast games 1 and 4 with Mike Emrick and John Davidson, while ESPN broadcast games 2 and 3 with Gary Thorne and Bill Clement. This was also the first Cup Finals in which the U.S. national networks had exclusive rights, and no longer could any of the regional rights holders of the participating U.S. teams produce local telecasts of their respective games. However, because the Devils swept the Red Wings and game 4 of the series was on Fox, their television play-by-play announcer, Emrick, called the win, as he also was part of Fox's lead broadcast team. That game, the first Stanley Cup-clinching game to air on network television in the United States since game 6 in 1980, drew a 4.7 rating and a 10 share. In the New York City area, the game drew a 10.6 rating and 21 share and in Detroit, 14.1 and 26.
On the radio side, the series was broadcast continentally on NHL Radio with Kenny Albert and Gary Green announcing. Devils team broadcasters Mike Miller and Sherry Ross called the series on local radio on WABC–AM 770 in New York City and Red Wings team broadcasters Bruce Martyn and Paul Woods called the series on local radio on WJR–AM 760 in Detroit, Michigan.
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils – 1995 Stanley Cup champions
Coaching and administrative staff
- John J. McMullen (Owner/Chairman/Governor), Peter McMullen (Vice President)
- Lou Lamoriello (President/General Manager), Jacques Lemaire (Head Coach), Jacques Caron (Goaltender Coach)
- Dennis Gendron (Asst. Coach), Larry Robinson (Asst. Coach), Robbie Ftorek (AHL Coach)
- Alex Abasto (Asst. Equipment Manager), Bob Huddleston (Massage Therapist), Dave Nichols (Equipment Manager)
- Ted Schuch (Medical Trainer), Mike Vasalani (Strength-Conditioning Coach), David Conte (Director of Scouting), Milt Fisher (Scout)
- Claude Carrie (Scout), Dan Labraaten (Scout), Marcel Pronovost (Scout)
- 8 members were engraved with an install and two full names. Stephane Richer was engraved as Stephane J. J. Richer, because there was another Stephane J. G. Richer, who was playing in the NHL. Stephane J. G. Richer played 27 NHL games over four years from 1992–93 to 1994–95.
The championship to New Jersey! The Devils win the Stanley Cup!— Mike "Doc" Emrick calling the final seconds of game four
- "FOX'S RATING IN FINALE SOARS". The Buffalo News. June 26, 1995. p. D3.
- Diamond, Dan (2000). Total Stanley Cup. NHL.
- Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-55168-261-7.
New York Rangers
| New Jersey Devils
Stanley Cup Champions