Fans - be sure to tune-in tonight (8:00 PM ET) as MSG Network continues its look back at the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup run as the Blueshirts battle the New Jersey Devils in Game Seven of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.
May 27, 1994
New Jersey at Rangers / Madison Square Garden
This memorable series could not end with any more drama than that offed by Game Seven. With Jeff Beukeboom
and Brian Noonan
returning to the lineup, the Rangers dominated the early going, but Martin Brodeur kept the game scoreless. In the second period, it was Mike Richter’s
turn to shine, making a skate save on Bobby Holik’s close-in shot and a glove save on John MacLeans’s wrister. Midway through the period, Mark Messier
won a faceoff, pulling the puck back to Adam Graves
who passed to Brian Leetch
along the left boards. Leetch moved to cut in behind the net but, with his path blocked by Bill Guerin, he pivoted away and spun in front of the goal. He then shoved a backhander through three players and between Brodeur’s skate and left goal post to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
The Devils quickly pressed to tie, but Richter stopped Claude Lemieux, Bernie Nicholls and Guerin before the period ended. Brodeur was equally sharp keeping the game close, stopping Sergei Nemchinov's
attempted redirection early in the third. Although their lead was slim, the Rangers seemed in command, even after icing the puck a few times in the last minute of regulation time with Brodeur out of the net for and extra attacker.
With less than 20 seconds remainin in regulation time, Richter attempted to move the puck after making a save, but referee Bill McCreary whistled the play dead, causing a faceoff to Richter’s right. With the Garden fans already in a joyous celebration, the Devils got the puck down low to Lemieux, who fed it across the crease to Valeri Zelepukin
who shot and then shoved the rebound under Richter’s outstretched pad to tie the game with 7.7 seconds on the clock.
The Garden crowd was dumbstruck. A sense of foreboding lasted through the intermission and resurfaced in the overtime whenever fortunes seemed to favor the Devils. Although it was the Rangers who dominated play, with Brodeur forced to make a total of 19 saves, the fans uttered a collective shriek at every Devils advance.
Richter made big stops on the Devils’ less frequent but no less dangerous rushes, including turning aside a bullet drive by Stephane Richer seconds before the game finally ended. The finale occurred early in the second overtime period when Stephane Matteau
beat Scott Niedermayer in a race for the puck along the boards, skated behind the net and attempted to wrap the puck around the right post. The puck hit Brodeur’s stick and slid over the line, ending the game at 24:24 of overtime and sending the fans into a frenzy. The chant “We want the Cup!” erupted throughout the Garden. The Rangers outshot the Devils 48-32 in the NHL playoff classic.
“We still have seven games or less to go in our season,” said Matteau, again the OT hero. “We won one trophy tonight, but I want to see the other one here.”
“That right there was the greatest hockey series I’ve ever played in my life,” said Esa Tikkanen
, who had played in a few as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. “It was amazing, it was incredible, it was awesome.”AUDIO:Listen to Matteau's game-winning OT goal! >>