1997 Stanley Cup Finals: Wikis


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1997 Stanley Cup Final
Teams 1 2 3 4 Games
Detroit Red Wings  4 4 6 2 4
Philadelphia Flyers  2 2 1 1 0
Location: Philadelphia (CoreStates Center) (1,2)
Detroit (Joe Louis Arena) (3,4)
Format: Best-of-seven
Coaches: Detroit: Scotty Bowman
Philadelphia: Terry Murray
Captains: Detroit: Steve Yzerman
Philadelphia: Eric Lindros
Dates: May 31–June 7
MVP: Mike Vernon
Darren McCarty (13:02, second, G4)
Networks: CBC (Canada-English), SRC (Canada-French), Fox (United States, Game 1), ESPN (United States, Games 2–4)
 < 1996 Stanley Cup Finals 1998 > 

The 1997 Stanley Cup Final NHL championship series was contested by the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit was in the Final for the second time in three years (the other coming in 1995, when they lost to the New Jersey Devils) while the Flyers were making their first appearance since the 1987 Final. Detroit won the series in four games to win the Stanley Cup for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 1955. Before 2009, Detroit was the last team to win the Cup without having home ice advantage in the Finals. Detroit is also the most recent team to win the Cup with fewer than 100 points earned during the regular season.


Paths to the Final

The Flyers arrived into the Final having beaten their perennial rivals, the New York Rangers in a memorable five-game Eastern Conference Final series. Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretzky each recorded a hat trick in the set, but the size, strength and discipline of Philadelphia trumped the veteran savvy of the Blueshirts. Philadelphia rose to the top on the back of a 17-game unbeaten streak in December and January, and despite losing the Atlantic Division title to New Jersey, had an easy time with Pittsburgh and Buffalo in the first two rounds.

Detroit was the dark-horse in the Western Conference, the third-seed behind Dallas and Colorado. The Red Wings made their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in three years by besting the Avalanche in an often brutal six-game Western Conference final. Despite winning 62 games the year before, Detroit won only 38 in 1996–97 but got tougher with the addition of Brendan Shanahan and the departure of several players whom head coach Scotty Bowman blamed for their loss to Colorado a year prior. The Wings dispatched a fractured St. Louis Blues team and a surprising Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to reach the conference finals for the third straight season.

The teams had never faced each other in the playoffs prior to the season; even in the early days of expansion beyond the Original Six, the clubs never made the postseason when the NHL employed its cross-over format between East and West divisions. Nor had they met in the two year experiment to rank NHL playoff teams 1 through 16 in 1980 and 1981.

Detroit was looking for its first Cup win since 1955, and to avenge the shocking four-game sweep to New Jersey in 1995. Philadelphia was trying to win its first Cup since 1975 in its first Finals appearance in 10 years.

The series


Game one

Game one in Philadelphia took place exactly 10 years after the Flyers' emotional seventh-game loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the 1987 Final. Detroit never trailed in the game. Detroit led 2–1 after the first period, 3–2 after the second, and Steve Yzerman scored the fourth goal at 0:56 of the third period.[1] Sergei Fedorov scored the winner and was named the game's first star.

Game two

Brendan Shanahan scored an unassisted goal at 1:37 of the first period and Steve Yzerman scored a power-play goal at 9:22 of the first period to give the Red Wings a 2–0 lead before Rod Brind'Amour scored a pair of power-play goals late in the first period to tie the score. In the second, Kirk Maltby scored the game-winning goal at 2:36 and Shanahan scored his second goal of the game at 9:56 of the third and the Red Wings won a second consecutive 4–2 victory and a 2–0 series lead heading back to Joe Louis Arena.[1]

Game three

John LeClair scored at 7:03 of the first period to give the Flyers their first lead of the series. Two minutes later, Yzerman scored on the power-play to tie the score. Fedorov scored two minutes later to put Detroit ahead for good in the game. Martin Lapointe scored later in the first to give the Wings a 3–1 advantage. The Wings tacked on two more in the second and added one in the third for a decisive 6–1 win and a three games to none series advantage.[1] Fedorov posted a 4-point night and was named the game's first star.

In his post-game comments, Flyers head coach Terry Murray was quoted as saying the team was "basically in a choking situation," which many writers, broadcasters, fans as well as Flyers management took to mean Murray called out his own players as chokers. The manner in which they played compounded by the insurmountable series deficit along with the Wings' seeming dominance in stretches of the first two games as well as most of game three lent credence to the claim. However, with a decade in between, it is more likely Murray equated the 3–0 series hole as being stuck in a room without oxygen where it's hard to breathe, rather than an explicit implication of his players.

Game four

The Red Wings controlled the game from the get-go, forging ahead 1–0 after one period and employing the left-wing lock to keep the Flyers' mix of big and speedy forwards at bay. Darren McCarty's second-period tally effectively sealed the deal. The burly checker faked out Flyers rookie defenseman Janne Niinimaa inside the blue line, swooped around him, then did a quick cutback in front of Hextall in his crease to slip the puck into the net. Eric Lindros would score his lone goal of the series with 15 seconds to play. The 2–1 win brought Detroit its eighth Stanley Cup, and its first in 42 seasons.

Sergei Fedorov led the Wings in playoff scoring with 20 points. Detroit goaltender Mike Vernon, who had been in net for the whole of the Wings' aborted 1995 playoff run, and relegated to the bench the year before, earned vindication and his first Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP by holding Philadelphia to six goals in four games.

Detroit Red Wings 1997 Stanley Cup Champions



  • Mike Ilitch Sr. (Owner/President/Governor), Marian Ilitch (Owner/Secretary-Treasurer)
  • Atanas Ilitch, Christopher Ilitch (Vice president/Owners), Denis Ilitch Lites, Ronald Ilitch (Minority Owners)
  • Michael Ilitch Jr., Lisa Ilitch Murray, Carole Ilitch Trepeck (Minority Owners)
  • Jim Devellano (Sr. Vice President-of Hockey Operations), William Scotty Bowman (Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel),
  • Ken Holland (Ass’t General Manager/Goaltending Coach), Barry Smith (Asssociate Coach)
  • Dave Lewis (Associate Coach), Mike Krushelnyski (Ass’t Coach),
  • Jim Nill (Director of Player Development/Director of Scouting), Dan Belise, Bruce Haralson (Scouts)
  • Mark Howe, Hakan Andersson (Scouts),
  • John Wharton (Athletic Trainer), Wally Crossman (Dressing Room Assistant), Mark Leach (Scout)
  • Paul Boyer (Equipment Manager), Tim Abbott (Ass’t Equipment Manager),
  • Sergei Mnatsakanov (Massage Therapist), Joe McDonnell (Scout)
  • Johnny Remejes†, Mike Vella† (Dressing Room Assistants).

† Name not engraved on Stanley Cup, but included on Stanley Cup winning picture.

†† - Hodson only played 6 games, but name was included on the Stanley Cup, because he spent majority of the season with Detroit.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Diamond(2008), p. 149
  • Diamond,Dan, ed (2008). 2008 Playoff Media Guide/Total Stanley Cup. NHL.  
  • Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Triumph Books. ISBN 1–55168–261.  
Preceded by
Colorado Avalanche
Detroit Red Wings
Stanley Cup Champions

Succeeded by
Detroit Red Wings


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