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The 1996 Stanley Cup Final was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1995–96 season, and the culmination of the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested by the Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche and the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers, two teams in the Final for the first time. Colorado defeated Florida in a four-game sweep to win their first Stanley Cup becoming the seventh post-1967 expansion team and the second former WHA team (after the Edmonton Oilers) to win the Cup. Colorado's Joe Sakic earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 1996 Playoffs.

1996 Stanley Cup Finals
1996 NHL Season.jpg
1234 Total
Florida Panthers 1120*** 0
Colorado Avalanche 3831*** 4
* indicates overtime period
Location(s)Miami: Miami Arena (3, 4)
Denver: McNichols Sports Arena (1, 2)
CoachesFlorida: Doug MacLean
Colorado: Marc Crawford
CaptainsFlorida: Brian Skrudland
Colorado: Joe Sakic
RefereesBill McCreary (1, 4)
Don Koharski (2)
Andy Van Hellemond (3)
DatesJune 4 – June 11
MVPJoe Sakic (Avalanche)
Series-winning goalUwe Krupp (4:31, 3OT, G4)
NetworksCBC (Canada-English), Fox (United States-games 1, 3), ESPN (United States-games 2, 4)
AnnouncersBob Cole and Harry Neale (CBC), Mike Emrick and John Davidson (Fox), Gary Thorne and Bill Clement (ESPN)

It was Colorado's first appearance in the Final, in only their first season in Denver since moving from Quebec City (where they had formerly played as the Nordiques) in 1995. It was also Florida's first appearance in the Final, in only the franchise's third season since entering the NHL in 1993. Only four other teams have made their first Stanley Cup Final appearance faster: the Toronto Arenas winning the Stanley Cup in the NHL inaugural season in 1917–18, the St. Louis Blues in their debut season in 1967–68 (they lost the 1968 Final to the Montreal Canadiens), the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural year in 2017–18, and the 1928 Cup-winning New York Rangers (who were in their second season of play, having been formed for the 1926–27 season). This was also the first time since the formation of the NHL in 1917 that the two teams competing for the Cup were making their first Final appearance.

Paths to the FinalEdit

Colorado defeated the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in six games each to advance to the Final.

Florida defeated the Boston Bruins in five games, the Philadelphia Flyers in six and the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven.

Game summariesEdit

Game oneEdit

The series opened on June 4, at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. Patrick Roy was in goal for Colorado, and John Vanbiesbrouck was between the pipes for Florida (a rematch from the 1986 Wales Conference Finals when Roy was with the Montreal Canadiens and Vanbiesbrouck was with the New York Rangers). Although Colorado was the heavy favorite in the series, Florida got on the board first on Tom Fitzgerald's goal at 16:51 of the first period. That would be all the Panthers would get, however, as Colorado scored three times within five minutes in the second period. Scott Young scored at 10:32, Mike Ricci scored at 12:21, and Uwe Krupp scored at 14:21. The Avalanche went on to win the game 3–1, with Roy making 25 saves in the victory.

Game twoEdit

Peter Forsberg got the Avalanche on the board first in game two, scoring an unassisted goal at 4:11 of the first period. The Panthers tied the game on Stu Barnes' power-play goal at 7:52. Rene Corbet broke the 1–1 tie with a power-play goal at 10:43, and then Forsberg scored two power-play goals of his own at 13:46 and 15:05 to complete the hat trick. Colorado led 4–1 after just one period. The Avalanche would make it 5–1 with Corbet's second goal of the game at 4:37 of the second period. Valeri Kamensky followed with a goal just 31 seconds later, and Jon Klemm scored at 10:03 to give Colorado a dominating 7–1 lead after two periods. Klemm would add another goal at 17:28 of the third period. It was the Avalanche's fourth power-play goal of the game. Colorado won the game 8–1, with three players scoring at least twice.

Game threeEdit

The Avalanche went to the Miami Arena in Florida with a 2–0 series lead. Claude Lemieux, back after his two-game suspension, scored the first goal of the game at 2:44 of the first period to give Colorado a 1–0 lead. Florida played determinedly, however, and tied the game on Ray Sheppard's power-play goal at 9:14. Rob Niedermayer scored at 11:19 to give the Panthers their second lead of the series. The score was 2–1 Florida after one period. At 1:38 of the second period, Colorado's Mike Keane scored a game-tying goal. Captain Joe Sakic scored the go-ahead goal just 82 seconds later, and Colorado went on to win 3–2 and take a commanding three-games-to-none lead in the series. Patrick Roy made 32 saves in the win.

Game fourEdit

With their backs to the wall, the Panthers played a defensive game. Florida goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck went save for save with Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy. The two teams played a marathon game that took until the third overtime period. Uwe Krupp's unassisted goal at 4:31 ended 44 minutes and 31 seconds of overtime and gave the Avalanche a 1–0 win and a four-games-to-none series win. Goaltender Patrick Roy stopped all 63 shots he faced. Colorado outscored Florida 15–4 in the series, and Patrick Roy stopped 147 of 151 shots, for a save percentage of .974. Joe Sakic was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, having led all skaters in goals with 18, and points with 34. For both Patrick Roy and Claude Lemieux, it was one of their three Stanley Cup wins in 11 years. Roy and Lemieux first won the Cup in 1986 with the Montreal Canadiens. Roy won a second Cup with Montreal in 1993. Lemieux won a second cup with New Jersey in 1995.

The Avalanche became the third team to win the cup after relocating: the 1989 Calgary Flames won the Cup after moving from Atlanta and the New Jersey Devils in 1995 won the Cup 13 years after they played their last game in the same city and same arena that the Avs played in as the Colorado Rockies.

Team rostersEdit

Bolded years under Final appearance indicates year won Stanley Cup.

Colorado AvalancheEdit

Goaltenders
Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
35 Stephane Fiset L 1988   Montreal, Quebec first (did not play)
33 Patrick Roy L 1995–96   Quebec City, Quebec fourth (1986, 1989, 1993)
Defensemen
# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
2 Sylvain LefebvreA L 1994–95   Richmond, Quebec first
4 Uwe Krupp R 1994–95   Cologne, West Germany first
5 Alexei Gusarov L 1988   Leningrad, Soviet Union first
6 Craig WolaninA L 1989–90   Grosse Pointe, Michigan first (did not play)
7 Curtis LeschyshynA L 1988   Thompson, Manitoba first
8 Sandis Ozolinsh L 1995–96   Riga, Soviet Union first
24 Jon Klemm R 1991–92   Cranbrook, British Columbia first
52 Adam Foote R 1988   Toronto, Ontario first
Forwards
# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
9 Mike RicciA C L 1991–92   Scarborough, Ontario first
10 Troy Murray C R 1995–96   Calgary, Alberta first (did not play)
12 Chris Simon LW L 1992–93   Wawa, Ontario first (did not play)
13 Valeri Kamensky LW R 1988   Voskresensk, Soviet Union first
14 Dave Hannan C/LW L 1995–96   Sudbury, Ontario second (1988)
16 Warren Rychel LW L 1995–96   Strathroy, Ontario second (1993)
18 Adam Deadmarsh RW R 1993   Trail, British Columbia first
19 Joe SakicC C L 1987   Burnaby, British Columbia first
20 Rene Corbet LW R 1991   Victoriaville, Quebec first
21 Peter Forsberg C L 1994–95   Örnsköldsvik, Sweden first
22 Claude Lemieux RW R 1995–96   Buckingham, Quebec fourth (1986, 1989, 1995)
25 Mike Keane RW R 1995–96   Winnipeg, Manitoba third (1989, 1993)
26 Stephane Yelle C L 1993–94   Ottawa, Ontario first
48 Scott Young RW R 1994–95   Clinton, Massachusetts second (1991)

Florida PanthersEdit

Goaltenders
# Player Catches Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
30 Mark Fitzpatrick L 1993–94   Toronto, Ontario first (did not play)
34 John Vanbiesbrouck L 1993–94   Detroit, Michigan first
Defensemen
# Player Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
2 Terry Carkner L 1995–96   Smiths Falls, Ontario second (1995)
3 Paul Laus R 1993–94   Beamsville, Ontario first
5 Gord MurphyA R 1993–94   North York, Ontario first
6 Jason Woolley L 1994–95   Toronto, Ontario first (did not play)
23 Rhett Warrener R 1994   Shaunavon, Saskatchewan first
24 Robert Svehla R 1993–94   Martin, Czechoslovakia first
55 Ed Jovanovski L 1994   Windsor, Ontario first
Forwards
# Player Position Shoots Acquired Place of birth Finals appearance
10 Dave Lowry LW L 1993–94   Sudbury, Ontario first
11 Bill Lindsay LW L 1993–94   Bigfork, Montana first
12 Jody Hull RW R 1993–94   Petrolia, Ontario first (did not play)
14 Stu Barnes C R 1993–94   Spruce Grove, Alberta first
18 Mike Hough LW L 1993–94   Montreal, Quebec first
19 Radek Dvorak RW R 1995   Tábor, Czechoslovakia first
20 Brian SkrudlandC C L 1993–94   Peace River, Alberta third (1986, 1989)
21 Tom Fitzgerald RW R 1993–94   Billerica, Massachusetts first
26 Ray Sheppard RW R 1995–96   Petawawa, Ontario second (1995)
27 Scott MellanbyA RW R 1993–94   Montreal, Quebec second (1987)
28 Martin Straka C L 1995–96   Plzeň, Czechoslovakia first
29 Johan Garpenlov LW L 1995–96   Stockholm, Sweden first
44 Rob Niedermayer C L 1993   Cassiar, British Columbia first

BroadcastingEdit

In Canada, the series was televised on CBC. In the United States, this was the second year that coverage was split between Fox and ESPN. Fox broadcast games 1 and 3 while ESPN televised games 2 and 4. The Stanley Cup-clinching game thus aired on cable. Had the series extended, Fox would have televised games 5 and 7, and ESPN would have aired game 6.

Colorado Avalanche – 1996 Stanley Cup ChampionsEdit

Players

Coaching and administrative staff

  • Charlie Lyons (Chairman/Chief Executive Officer/Owner/President/Governor), Pierre Lacroix (Vice President/General Manager), Marc Crawford (Head Coach)
  • Joel Quenneville (Asst. Coach), Jacques Cloutier (Goaltending Coach), Francois Giguere (Asst. General Manager)
  • Michel Goulet (Director of Player Personnel), Dave Draper (Chief Scout), Jean Martineau (Director of Public Relations)
  • Pat Karns (Athletic Trainer), Matthew Sokolowski (Asst. Trainer), Rob McLean (Equipment Manager)
  • Mike Kramer (Asst. Equipment Manager), Brock Gibbins (Asst. Equipment Manager), Skip Allen (Strength-Conditioning Coach)
  • Paul Fixter (Video Coordinator), Leo Vyssokov (Massage Therapist)

Note:

  • Sandis Ozolinsh was first Latvian born and trained player to win the Stanley Cup.
  • Uwe Krupp was first the German born and trained player to win the Stanley Cup.

Stanley Cup engravingsEdit

Adam Deadmarsh's name was misspelled ADAM DEADMARCH. This mistake was corrected by stamping an "S" over the "C" twice. Deadmarsh's name was the first player's name to be corrected on the Presentation Stanley Cup.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Diamond, Dan (2000). Total Stanley Cup. NHL.
  • Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-55168-261-7.
Preceded by
New Jersey Devils
1995
Colorado Avalanche
Stanley Cup Champions

1996
Succeeded by
Detroit Red Wings
1997