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NHL Centennial

Lanny McDonald relished closing NHL career with Stanley Cup

Helped Flames defeat Canadiens at Forum to win championship on May 25, 1989

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

TORONTO -- Lanny McDonald did not have to think for long when asked about his favorite playoff memory. He responded immediately with May 25, 1989, the date of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens.

McDonald scored the Flames' second goal, his only goal of the 1989 playoffs, in a 4-2 win against the Canadiens that clinched their Stanley Cup championship. It was the only time McDonald won the Cup and the first time that an opponent had won the deciding game of the Final against the Canadiens at the Forum.

Video: 1989 Cup Final, Gm6: McDonald leads Flames to Cup win

"You always dream of playing in a game that makes a difference and playing in the Stanley Cup Final, especially in Montreal," McDonald said. "To be able to score a goal in your final game, in Montreal, where no team had ever won the Cup before [by defeating the Canadiens] and to be a large part of that and then to celebrate on Forum ice, was special."

McDonald said he still remembers the warm ovation the Flames received from the crowd at the Forum despite the Canadiens' loss.


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"I have to give the fans kudos," he said. "The Montreal fans stayed and celebrated with us because they had never seen any other team win the Cup on Forum ice. I'm sure to them it was so foreign that it was kind of maybe fun. It was fun for us."

The victory in Game 6 capped a memorable final NHL season for the 35-year-old forward. He had reached 1,000 NHL points on March 7 and scored his 500th goal March 21. He couldn't think of a better way to retire than to walk away after winning the Stanley Cup.

"I always thought when Jean Beliveau retired, he could have played another three or four or five years," McDonald said. "For him to walk away when they won the Cup [in 1971] and walk away with pride, I thought, 'Boy if that could ever happen for me,'" McDonald said. "In 1986 when we lost to Montreal [in the Final], we thought, 'OK we're going right back next year,' and it took us three more years to get back. To be able to finally win and win on Forum ice, I thought, 'Yup, I'm out of here, thank you very much.'"

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