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 6 on the list starting with Nick’s pick:
6) 2003 New Jersey Devils vs. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
About the series:
The 2003 Stanley Cup Final marked the third appearance in the Final for the New Jersey Devils in the past four years. For the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, it was their first trip after upsetting heavyweight and defending champion Detroit Red Wings as well as the Dallas Stars. Both teams featured a juggernaut goaltending matchup between Martin Brodeur and Jean-Sebastian Giguere. In the Western Conference Final, Giguere allowed only one goal the entire series against the Minnesota Wild. Both teams were loaded with Hockey Hall of Fame talent and for the Devils, the victory cemented their dynasty.
Why it is in my top 10:
The Spring of 2003 was all about J.S. Giguere and how he absolutely dominated the postseason. The Ducks were able to roll through the Red Wings in 4, Stars in 6, and dispatched the Wild in 4 easily in the Conference Final before setting up a classic Cup Final with the Devils. The Devils wound up winning their third, and to this date final Cup, in seven games however it was an extremely hard fought effort along the way. One of the most memorable moments for me this series was Paul Kariya’s goal with Gary Thorne’s iconic call of “off the floor, on the board” after Kariya was laid out by Scott Stevens. Even though I will never be one to say good things about the Devils or trap hockey, this was far and away one of the most entertaining and back and forth series that I’ve ever gotten to witness.
Now for Chris’ number 6:
2004 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Calgary Flames
About the series:
The 2004 Stanley Cup Final featured the Tampa Bay Lightning making their first appearance in franchise history. For the Calgary Flames it was their third appearance and first since 1989 when they won the Stanley Cup. The series featured a back and forth affair with both teams serving 4-1 losses to their opponents before both shutting out the opponent to send the series tied 2-2 into game 5. The following two games were overtime battles with game 6 becoming well known as a controversial moment in Stanley Cup history. Facing defeat in the Final, the Lightning would rally to tie the series at 3 games a piece before taking the Cup in game 7 on home ice. The Lightning would become the southernmost NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. This Stanley Cup was also the last before the 2004-05 lockout wiped out the entire season.
Why it is in my top 10:
This series featured the Calgary Flames who were starved for postseason success. Having not won a playoff series victory since 1989 when they last won the Stanley Cup the franchise had long endured playoff disappointments. Finishing 6th in the western conference, the Flames became the first team in NHL history to defeat the top 3 seeds in route to the Final. Jarome Iginla was finally able to display his domination in the postseason after only appearing once in his career to date. Iginla went on an absolute tear for the club posting 22 points over 26 games. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, this was their first trip to the Final and featured a star studded cast along with aging veteran and captain Dave Andreychuk. The biggest moment of this series, undoubtedly is the game 6 controversial no goal call against Martin Gelinas and the Flames. The call would result in the Lightning continuing to fight on to even the series which they eventually did in double overtime. The Lightning would go on to capture the cup on home ice in 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
7 – 2019 Blues vs. Bruins
6 – 2003 Devils vs. Mighty Ducks
10 – 2002 Red Wings vs. Hurricanes
9 – 2003 Mighty Ducks vs. Devils
8 – 2009 Penguins vs. Red Wings
7 – 2010 Blackhawks vs. Flyers
6 – 2004 Lightning vs. Flames
Next up we jump right back into it with number 5 on our lists!
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