Older than the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the Commissioner’s Trophy, the Stanley Cup is the oldest top prize in professional sports in North America. This trophy is awarded to the best ice hockey team in the NHL. The champions of the Eastern and Western Conferences of the NHL vie for this coveted prize and after a best-of-seven series, the trophy is awarded to the winner. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the reigning NHL Champions. This is their fifth title however it’s the Montreal Canadiens who’ve won the most Stanley Cup titles.
If you want to see the champions of the Eastern and Western Conferences compete in a best-of-seven series then get your Stanley Cup Finals tickets here.
A Brief History –
Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, a Governor General of Canada. In 1892, he awarded this trophy as a Challenge Trophy to Canada’s best amateur ice hockey club. Professional ice hockey teams were invited to compete for the Cup for the first time in 1906. In 1926, Stanley Cup became the Championship Trophy for the NHL.
Top-5 Stanley Cup Finals of All Time –
While the Cup brings out the best in each team, it also keeps the rivalry going between the US and Canada, which has produced some of the best moments in Stanley Cup’s history.
Toronto Vs. Detroit – One of the greatest final games in NHL history was played on April 14, 1942. The venue was the Maple Leaf Gardens, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs who were competing against the Detroit-Red-Wings-tickets>Detroit Red Wings for the coveted prize. It was Game 5 and Toronto was behind 3-1. Game 5 was a must-win for Toronto to stay alive in the Stanley Cup contest. This contest would go down in NHL history as the game of Don Metz’s career. Metz would score three goals and two assists as Toronto enjoyed a 9-3 rout, closing Detroit's edge to three games to two.Toronto would go on win the Stanley Cup, the only team in league’s history to win the Cup after losing the first three games of the series.
New York Vs. Montreal – It was April 7, 1928, and Game two of the Stanley Cup was being played at the Montreal Forum. Hall of Famer Lester Patrick had retired as a player and had become New York’s coach. He faced a dilemma in Game two. His No.1 goalie, Lorne Chabot was injured and out of action. In those days, teams did not carry backup goalies. Patrick requested Montreal to let him suit up a goalie that had been sitting in the stands, however Montreal would not let him have his wish. Left with no other choice, the 44-year-old donned the pads himself. He saved all but one of the 19 shots he faced and inspired his side to a 2-1 overtime win.
Montreal Vs. Chicago – On May 18, 1971, Game 7 (last game of the series) belonged to the Blackhawks, or so it seemed. Chicago was leading 2-0 at home, the Chicago Stadium, late in the second period. Along came Montreal’s Jacques LeMaire who scored from center ice, putting the puck past shocked Blackhawks goalie Tony Esposito. Henri Richard followed up with a game-tying goal. He then scored the game-winning and series-winning goal as the Canadiens won their third Stanley Cup in four years.
Vancouver Vs. New York – Game one of the 1994 Stanley Cup series at the Madison Square Garden on May 31 has gone down in NHL history as one of the most memorable performances by a goalie. Kirk McLean, the then Vancouver goalie faced 54 shots, out of which he saved all except two, helping his team win 3-2 in overtime.
New York Vs. Vancouver – Game 1 of the 1982 Stanley Cup series belonged to Mike Bossy. At Madison Square Garden on May 8, Vancouver was leading 5-4 late in the game, when the Boss took charge. He not only scored the tying goal, he also tallied the game-winner near the end of the first overtime, capping off a hat trick for the night as the Islanders won 6-5. Bossy’s performance got the ball rolling for New York. New York would not only go on to win the series 4-3, but Bossy would also be named playoff MVP.
A Few Interesting Team Statistics –
The Montreal Canadiens have made the most appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals. Out of their 34 appearances, they have won the Stanley Cup a record 24 times, the highest for any team in the NHL. The Canadiens also hold the record for most consecutive wins – they won 5 Cups from 1956 to 1960. The Canadiens also hold another record – most appearances without a loss. From 1968 to 1986, they won 9 Stanley Cups.
The Detroit Red Wings come second with most Stanley Cup appearances. Out of their 24 appearances, they have won 11 Stanley Cups and lost 13, which makes them the team with the most Stanley Cup series losses.
A Few Interesting Individual Statistics –
Henri Richard and Red Kelly have played the most games (65) in Stanley Cup Finals. Bernie Geoffrion has played most consecutive games (53) in Stanley Cup Finals. Jean Beliveau holds the record for most career points (62) in the Finals, while Maurice Richard holds the record for most career goals (34). Wayne Gretzky holds the record for scoring most points (13) in a single series.
Stanley Cup Finals Live Games –
If you want to see the best teams of the Eastern and Western Conferences faceoff for the biggest prize in the league, then get your Stanley Cup Finals tickets here.
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