1997 Stanley Cup Finals

The 1997 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1996–97 season, and the culmination of the 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested by the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit was in the Final for the second time in three years (the other coming in 1995, when they lost to the New Jersey Devils) while the Flyers were making their first appearance since losing in 1987 to the Edmonton Oilers. Detroit won the series in four games to win the Stanley Cup for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 1955; Philadelphia had not won since 1975. Detroit was the last team to win the Cup without having home ice advantage in the Finals and with fewer than 100 points earned during the regular season until 2009.

1997 Stanley Cup Finals
1234 Total
Detroit Red Wings 4462 4
Philadelphia Flyers 2211 0
Location(s)Detroit: Joe Louis Arena (3, 4)
Philadelphia: CoreStates Center (1, 2)
CoachesDetroit: Scotty Bowman
Philadelphia: Terry Murray
CaptainsDetroit: Steve Yzerman
Philadelphia: Eric Lindros
RefereesBill McCreary (1, 4)
Terry Gregson (2)
Kerry Fraser (3)
DatesMay 31 – June 7
MVPMike Vernon (Red Wings)
Series-winning goalDarren McCarty (13:02, second, G4)
NetworksCBC (Canada-English), SRC (Canada-French), Fox (United States, game one), ESPN (United States, games 2–4), Televisa (Mexico)
AnnouncersBob Cole and Harry Neale (CBC), Mike Emrick and John Davidson (Fox), Gary Thorne and Bill Clement (ESPN)

Paths to the Finals

The Flyers arrived into the Final having beaten their perennial rivals, the New York Rangers, in a memorable five-game Eastern Conference Final series. Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretzky each recorded a hat trick in the set, but the size, strength and discipline of Philadelphia trumped the veteran savvy of the Blueshirts. Philadelphia rose to the top on the back of a 17-game unbeaten streak in December and January, and despite losing the Atlantic Division title to New Jersey, had had a relatively easy time with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres in the first two rounds.

Detroit was the dark horse in the Western Conference, the third seed behind the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche. The Red Wings made their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in three years by besting the Avalanche in an often brutal six-game Western Conference final. Even though Detroit won only 38 games, they would get star Brendan Shanahan and the departure of several players whom head coach Scotty Bowman blamed for their loss to Colorado a year prior. Previously, the Wings dispatched a fractured St. Louis Blues team and a surprising rival Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to reach the conference finals for the third straight season.

This is the first time that these two teams met in the postseason.

Game summaries

Game one

Game one in Philadelphia took place exactly ten years to the day after the Flyers' emotional seventh-game loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the 1987 Finals. Detroit never trailed in the game: they led 2–1 after the first period, 3–2 after the second, and Steve Yzerman scored the fourth goal 56 seconds into the third period.[1] Sergei Fedorov scored the winner and was named the game's first star.

Game two

Brendan Shanahan scored an unassisted goal 1:37 into the game and Steve Yzerman scored a power-play goal at 9:22 of the first period to give the Red Wings a 2–0 lead before Rod Brind'Amour scored a pair of power-play goals late in the first period to tie the score. In the second, Kirk Maltby scored the game-winning goal at 2:36 and Shanahan scored his second goal of the game at 9:56 of the third and the Red Wings won a second consecutive 4–2 victory and a 2–0 series lead heading back to Joe Louis Arena.[1]

Game three

John LeClair scored at 7:03 of the first period to give the Flyers their first lead of the series. Two minutes later, Yzerman scored on the power-play to tie the score. Fedorov scored two minutes later to put Detroit ahead for good in the game. Martin Lapointe scored later in the first to give the Wings a 3–1 advantage. The Wings tacked on two more in the second and added one in the third for a decisive 6–1 win and a three-games-to-none series advantage.[1] For his four-point night, Fedorov was named the game's first star.

In his post-game comments, Flyers head coach Terry Murray was quoted as saying the team was "basically in a choking situation," which many observers interpreted as Murray having called out his own players as chokers. The manner in which they played compounded by the insurmountable series deficit along with the Wings' seeming dominance in stretches of the first two games as well as most of game three lent credence to the claim.

Game four

The Red Wings controlled the game from the get-go, forging ahead 1–0 after one period and employing the left-wing lock to keep the Flyers' mix of big and speedy forwards at bay. Darren McCarty's second-period tally effectively sealed the deal. The burly checker faked out Flyers rookie defenceman Janne Niinimaa inside the blue line, swooped around him, then did a quick cutback in front of Hextall in his crease to slip the puck into the net. Eric Lindros would score his lone goal of the series with 15 seconds to play. The 2–1 win brought Detroit its eighth Stanley Cup, and its first in 42 seasons.

Sergei Fedorov led the Wings in playoff scoring with 20 points. Detroit goaltender Mike Vernon, who had been in net for the whole of the Wings' failed 1995 playoff run, and relegated to the bench the year before, earned vindication and his first Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP by holding Philadelphia to six goals in four games.

Team rosters

Bolded years under Final appearance indicates year won Stanley Cup.

Detroit Red Wings

Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
30 Chris Osgood L 1991 Peace River, Alberta second (1995) (did not play)
29 Mike Vernon L 1994–95 Calgary, Alberta fourth (1986, 1989, 1995)
# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
2 Viacheslav Fetisov L 1994–95 Moscow, Soviet Union second (1995)
3 Bob Rouse R 1994–95 Surrey, British Columbia second (1995)
4 Jamie Pushor R 1991 Lethbridge, Alberta first (did not play)
5 Nicklas Lidstrom L 1989 Krylbo, Sweden second (1995)
11 Mathieu Dandenault R 1994 Sherbrooke, Quebec first (did not play)
16 Vladimir Konstantinov R 1989 Murmansk, Soviet Union second (1995)
27 Aaron Ward R 1993–94 Windsor, Ontario first
55 Larry Murphy R 1996–97 Scarborough, Ontario third (1991, 1992)
# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
8 Igor Larionov C L 1995–96 Voskresensk, Soviet Union first
13 Vyacheslav Kozlov LW L 1990 Voskresensk, Soviet Union second (1995)
14 Brendan ShanahanA LW R 1996–97 Etobicoke, Ontario first
15 Tomas Holmstrom LW L 1994 Piteå, Sweden first (did not play)
17 Doug Brown RW R 1994–95 Southborough, Massachusetts second (1995)
18 Kirk Maltby RW R 1995–96 Guelph, Ontario first
19 Steve YzermanC C R 1983 Burnaby, British Columbia second (1995)
20 Martin Lapointe RW R 1991 Ville St. Pierre, Quebec second (1995)
25 Darren McCarty RW R 1992 Burnaby, British Columbia second (1995)
26 Joe Kocur RW R 1996–97 Kelvington, Saskatchewan second (1994)
28 Tomas Sandstrom LW L 1996–97 Jakobstad, Finland second (1993)
33 Kris Draper C L 1993–94 Toronto, Ontario second (1995)
37 Tim Taylor C L 1993–94 Stratford, Ontario second (1995) (did not play)
91 Sergei FedorovA C L 1989 Pskov, Soviet Union second (1995)

Philadelphia Flyers

# Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
27 Ron Hextall L 1994–95 Brandon, Manitoba second (1987)
30 Garth Snow L 1995–96 Wrentham, Massachusetts first (did not play)
# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
6 Chris Therien L 1990 Ottawa, Ontario first
23 Petr Svoboda L 1995–96 Most, Czechoslovakia third (1986, 1989)
24 Karl Dykhuis L 1994–95 Sept-Îles, Quebec first
28 Kjell Samuelsson R 1995–96 Tingsryd, Sweden third (1987, 1992) (did not play)
37 Eric DesjardinsA R 1994–95 Rouyn, Quebec third (1989, 1993)
44 Janne Niinimaa L 1993 Raahe, Finland first
77 Paul Coffey L 1996–97 Weston, Ontario eighth (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1995)
# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
9 Dainius Zubrus LW L 1996 Elektrėnai, Soviet Union first
10 John LeClair LW L 1994–95 St. Albans, Vermont second (1993)
15 Pat Falloon RW R 1995–96 Foxwarren, Manitoba first
17 Rod Brind'AmourA C L 1991–92 Ottawa, Ontario first
18 Dale Hawerchuk C L 1995–96 Toronto, Ontario first
19 Mikael Renberg RW L 1990 Piteå, Sweden first
20 Trent Klatt RW R 1995–96 Robbinsdale, Minnesota first
25 Shjon Podein LW L 1994–95 Rochester, Minnesota first
26 John Druce RW R 1995–96 Peterborough, Ontario first
29 Joel Otto C R 1995–96 Elk River, Minnesota third (1986, 1989)
32 Daniel Lacroix LW L 1996–97 Montreal, Quebec first (did not play)
45 Vaclav Prospal C L 1993 České Budějovice, Czechoslovakia first (did not play)
88 Eric LindrosC C R 1992–93 Toronto, Ontario first


In Canada, the series was televised on CBC. In the United States, Fox broadcast game one while ESPN televised games two through four. Had the series extended, games five and seven would have been broadcast on Fox, and ESPN would have aired game six.[2]

Detroit Red Wings – 1997 Stanley Cup Champions


Coaching and administrative staff

  • Mike Ilitch Sr. (Owner/President/Governor), Marian Ilitch (Owner/Secretary-Treasurer), Atanas Ilitch (Vice President/Minority Owner)
  • Christopher Ilitch (Vice President/Minority Owner), Denise Ilitch Lites, Ronald Ilitch (Minority Owners)
  • Michael Ititch Jr., Lisa Ilitch Murray, Carole Ilitch Trepeck (Minority Owners)
  • Jim Devellano (Sr. Vice President-of Hockey Operations), William Scotty Bowman (Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel), Ken Holland (Asst. General Manager/Goaltending Coach), Barry Smith (Associate Coach)
  • Dave Lewis (Associate Coach), Mike Krushelnyski (Asst. Coach), Jim Nill (Director of Player Development/Director of Scouting), Dan Belise (Scout), Bruce Haralson (Scout)
  • Mark Howe (Scout), Hakan Andersson (Scouts), John Wharton (Athletic Trainer), Wally Crossman (Dressing Room Asst.), Mark Leach (Scout)
  • Paul Boyer (Equipment Manager), Tim Abbott (Asst. Equipment Manager), Sergei Mnatsakanov (Massage Therapist), Joe McDonnell (Scout)
  • Hodson played only six games (dressed for 23 games), but name was included on the Stanley Cup, because he spent majority of the season with Detroit.

Included on the team picture, but left off the Stanley Cup

  • #22 Mike Knuble† – played nine regular season games, did not qualify to be engraved on the Stanley Cup. He was left off for playing 68 games in the minors for Adirondack.
  • Johnny Remejes† (Dressing Room Asst.), Mike Vella† (Dressing Room Asst). Each of the three members and many other members not listed were awarded Stanley Cup rings.


On June 13, 1997, just six days after the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, a limousine carrying Vladimir Konstantinov, team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov and Viacheslav Fetisov crashed into a tree after returning from a private party. Konstantinov spent several weeks in a coma and suffered from serious head injuries and paralysis. Fetisov, on the other hand, sustained minor injuries and Mnatsakanov suffered heavy head injuries and a coma. Fetisov continued to play, but Konstantinov did not, as the crash ended his career. The Red Wings successfully returned to the Finals. This time, the Red Wings played the Washington Capitals and swept them 4–0 to capture their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship. During the celebration ceremonies after winning the Stanley Cup, Konstantinov was wheeled around the ice with his teammates in his wheelchair with the Cup on his lap.

The Philadelphia Flyers lost in the first round to the Buffalo Sabres (4–1) the next season.

See also


  1. Diamond (2008, p. 149)
  2. "1997 Stanley Cup Finals schedule". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 1997-07-19. Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  • Diamond, Dan (2008). 2008 Playoff Media Guide/Total Stanley Cup. NHL.
  • Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-55168-261-7.
  • Sports Illustrated Article
Preceded by
Colorado Avalanche
Detroit Red Wings
Stanley Cup Champions

Succeeded by
Detroit Red Wings
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