Top 10 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Moments of All Time

NHL handicapper and expert Jason Yamaguchi takes a look at the top 10 Stanley Cup Finals moments of all time with the 2022 Finals just around the corner.
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Top 10 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Moments of All Time

With the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminating the New York Rangers, the field in the NHL playoffs is down to two. The Lightning will face the juggernaut Colorado Avalanche in the Finals, a matchup that could produce one of the most entertaining conclusions to an NHL season in recent memory. Before the series begins, let's revisit some of the best Stanley Cup Finals moments in NHL history.

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Top 10 Stanley Cup Finals Moments of All Time

10. 2000 - Jason Arnott scores Cup-winning goal in double overtime

In 2000, the New Jersey Devils were looking to win their second championship in six years. They had taken a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Dallas Stars, but failed to close the series out in Game 5, losing in triple overtime.

When the first overtime period of Game 6 rolled around, Jason Arnott was penalized for a crosscheck. Luckily for him, the Devils killed off the penalty. In double OT, Arnott slotted home a feed from Patrik Elias, defeating the defending-champion Stars for New Jersey's second Cup in franchise history.

9. 1994 - Rangers snap 54-year-long Cup drought

Following 54 years filled with heartbreaking playoff exits, the New York Rangers finally returned to the pinnacle of hockey. Captain Mark Messier led the way, with his "We'll Win Tonight" guarantee preceding a clutch hat trick to send the Conference Finals to a seventh game. Game 7 against the Devils went to double overtime; the hero was Stephane Matteau, who slipped a wraparound through Martin Brodeur's legs to send the Rangers to the Cup Finals.

The Canucks also took the Rangers to seven games, but New York was able to clinch the cup — in regulation — on home ice. As longtime Rangers broadcaster Sam Rosen put it: "The waiting is over — the New York Rangers are the Stanley Cup Champions! And this one will last a lifetime!"

8. 1980 - Bob Nystrom opens Islanders' dynasty with OT tally

After five straight seasons that ended in playoff failure, the Islanders won their first championship in 1980. Bob Nystrom ended Game 6 in favor of the Islanders, tipping a pass from John Tonelli into the net to win the Cup in overtime.

The Islanders went on to win the Stanley Cup in each of the next three seasons, establishing one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.

7. 2013 - Blackhawks score two in 17 seconds to win Cup

In the 2013 Cup Finals, the Blackhawks took a 3-2 series lead into Boston for Game 6. Trailing by a goal with under two minutes to go, the Blackhawks scored a pair of goals in a flash to take a 3-2 lead. Bryan Bickell tied it with 1:16 on the clock, and Dave Bolland gave Chicago the lead right as the clock ticked under a minute.

The Bruins failed to equalize, granting the Blackhawks their second championship in four years. They would go on to win a third in 2015, solidifying their status as the closest thing to a modern-day dynasty the NHL has seen.

6. 2018 - "The Great Eight" finally lifts Lord Stanley's Cup

After the first nine playoff appearances of Alexander Ovechkin's career ended in disappointment, he finally broke through. The Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in five games, winning their first Cup in franchise history.

When Ovechkin raised the Stanley Cup, all of those prior heartbreaks faded into obscurity. It was one of the most emotional and meaningful moments in NHL history, with the greatest pure goal-scorer of all time securing his ultimate conquest.

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5. 2010 - Patrick Kane ends Blackhawks' Cup drought with OT winner

After a 48-year championship drought, the 2010 Blackhawks returned to the top of the hockey world. They defeated the Flyers in six games, winning the Cup on the road.

In overtime of Game 6, Patrick Kane skated down the left-wing and snapped home a quick shot that rattled around the back of the net. Most, including the announcers, were unsure that the puck had crossed the line until well after the Blackhawks had begun celebrating. Still, the goal counted, and Chicago had their first Cup since 1962.

4. 1942 - Maple Leafs overcome 3-0 series deficit to win it all

The Toronto Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to overturn a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series, rattling off four straight wins against the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. The feat of coming back from a 3-0 deficit has only occurred three times since — NYI over PIT in 1975, PHI over BOS in 2010, and LA over SJ in 2014.

As the only 3-0 series comeback in Stanley Cup Final history, Toronto's victory in the 1942 Finals stands as arguably the most impressive comeback in league history.

3. 2014 - Alec Martinez grabs overtime Cup-clincher on home ice

In Game 5 of the Cup Finals, Alec Martinez put home a rebound in double overtime to defeat the Rangers. It clinched the Cup for LA on home ice, a fact that solidified the goal as one of the most electric in NHL history due to the crowd factor.

The goal capped off an incredible run by LA in which they won the first three rounds in seven games apiece, including a win over the defending-champion Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals. The series win handed the Kings their second championship in three years.

2. 1970 - Bobby Orr scores most iconic goal in NHL history

After winning the first three games of the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins entered overtime of Game 4 tied, 3-3, with the St. Louis Blues. Boston was looking to win their first Cup since 1941.

Less than a minute into overtime, Bobby Orr slipped a shot into the net while simultaneously being tripped up by a defender. For a moment, Orr flew above the Boston Garden ice with his arms outstretched, allowing arguably the most iconic snapshot in NHL history to be captured. The goal, of course, finished off the sweep for the Bruins.

1. 2001 - Joe Sakic hands Ray Bourque the Stanley Cup

Ray Bourque spent the first two decades of his career racking up accolades as a Bruin but failed to capture the Stanley Cup. Bourque was then traded to Colorado, but the Avalanche lost in the Western Conference Finals during his first year on the team. Heading into the 2000-01 season, Bourque knew that it would be his last year, and therefore his last shot at a Cup.

Colorado rolled through the regular season and the first three rounds of the 2001 playoffs. After falling behind three games to two against the Devils in the finals, the Avalanche found a way to win Game 6 in New Jersey. The victory set up a deciding Game 7 back in Colorado.

The Avs won Game 7, 3-1, giving the franchise their second-ever Cup. When captain Joe Sakic received the Stanley Cup, he opted to hand it to Bourque rather than taking his customary lap as captain. Bourque's cup-raise and ensuing victory lap, following the final game of his illustrious career, remain among the most iconic trophy-raising moments in all of sports history. He had long solidified his status as a Hall-of-Famer — indeed, as one of the greatest defensemen of all time — but he finally claimed the ultimate prize.

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Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.

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