The dog days of summer are upon us. In light of enjoying the final run of the season and the generally quiet front in the hockey world, we decided to take a look back at the Stanley Cup Finals since early 2000’s. What we have come up with is our lists of the top 10 Stanley Cup Finals over the past 20 years. While the list was hard to whittle down and eliminate so many other championships, the Two 4 Roughing podcast team managed to compile their lists.
At the bottom of the article you can find the lists to date. For today we are looking at number 8 on the list starting with Nick’s pick:
8) 2014 Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers
About the series: The 2014 Stanley Cup Final was the second appearance in three seasons for the Los Angeles Kings. Formerly besting the New Jersey Devils in 6 games, the Kings were looking for their second Stanley Cup in franchise history. The New York Rangers appearance in the Final was their first since winning the Stanley Cup in 1994 over the Vancouver Canucks. For the Kings, this was their third appearance in franchise history and had quickly become a perennial contender after not making the postseason for six straight seasons. On the Rangers side, fresh off the firing of head coach John Tortorella, Alain Vigneault took the reigns of the club after departing from Vancouver. The Kings would go on to defeat the Rangers in 5 games with 3 of the games taking overtime, including two multi-overtime games.
Why it is in my top 10: Even though my favorite team came out on the short end of the stick in this series, this series was highly fun to watch. Between the tremendous goaltending on both sides of the ice between Lundqvist and Quick, this series was dripping in drama from game one. Darryl Sutter completely outcoached Alain Vigneault, much like he did when LA made their improbable run in 2012, the Rangers turtled late and the game was won by Justin Williams in OT. Even with this series only being five games it was highly competitive with three of the five heading into extra time and two of those games going to double OT. While it still haunts me that this was Henrik Lundqvist’s best chance at winning a Stanley Cup, the better team undoubtedly won the series but it is one of the best Cup Finals to have witnessed in the last 20 years.
Now for Chris’ number 8:
2009 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings
About the series: The 2009 Stanley Cup Final was a rematch of the previous season which saw the Detroit Red Wings best the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to capture their 11th Stanley Cup. The Penguins during the regular season fired head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Dan Bylsma. The team rallied off a record of 18-3-4 to close out the season and added key players in Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin at the deadline. On the Penguins road to their third Stanley Cup, they knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers in 6 games, Washington Capitals in 7, and a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Why it is in my top 10: Typically speaking, I am not a huge fan of back to back Stanley Cup’s featuring the same teams battling it out. I get a sense of a season that was wasted when the results end up being the same matchup for the final. With that said, one can’t gloss over the star studded cast that this Stanley Cup Final presented including the pieces that were added as mentioned above. For Detroit, it was their final stand as a dynasty and perennial contender that stretched back into the mid 90’s which in itself is a tremendous accomplishment. For the Penguins, they finally put together the right combination of veteran leadership with young superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury to put together their first of what would become 3 Stanley Cups. The classic moment of the series that reigns supreme will forever be Fleury’s diving last second save across the crease to stop Nicklas Lidstrom in the final seconds of game 7.
What would you say is your 8th best Stanley Cup since 2001? Feel free to leave a comment below. Do you agree or disagree with our rankings so far:
10 – 2009 Penguins vs. Red Wings
9 – 2006 Hurricanes vs. Oilers
8 – 2014 Kings vs. Rangers
10 – 2002 Red Wings vs. Hurricanes
9 – 2003 Ducks vs. Devils
8 – 2009 Penguins vs. Red Wings
Next up we jump right back into it with number 7 on our lists!Embed from Getty Images
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