Saturday, June 18, 2011

1996 Stanley Cup Finals

June of 1996 saw the first Stanley Cup in the "Modern Era" of the Finals (since 1927 when the NHL gained full control over the Cup) in which 2 franchises were in their first Stanley Cup finals appearance.
The Colorado Avalanche faced off against the Florida Panthers in a 4 games finals that saw the Avalanche sweep but game 4 quickly became a classic as it went 3 overtime periods before being decided.

The Avalanche were in their first season in Colorado after moving from Quebec the previous off season, while the  Florida Panthers in their 3rd season had knocked the heavy favorite Mario Lemieux led Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Panthers had beaten the #1 seeded Philadelphia Flyers in the conference semi finals.
Colorado beat the regular season champion Detroit Red Wings in the wicked and rough Western Conference finals to make their first Stanley Cup finals appearance.

The first 2 games of the Finals weren't even close as Colorado took both games at home by 3-1 and 8-1 scores.  Patrick Roy early making a case for the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP.  He was challenging teammate and team captain Joe Sakic.
Sakic would win the MVP award with 18 goals, 16 assist and 34 points.

Defenseman Uwe Krupp would become a hero for the Avalanche fans as he scored the Cup winning goal.

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