Five Best Stanley Cup Final Games of the 21st Century


The Stanley Cup Finals have delivered some memorable games over the years. (Courtesy of Twitter)

In honor of Super Bowl week, and no hockey to write about considering the All-Star break, let’s do a little ranking. The five best Stanley Cup Final games of the 21st century was a more difficult project than I was anticipating, but I had a blast putting it together. 

I want to start with an honorable mention to the 2010 Olympic Gold Medal game. The game doesn’t qualify for this list, but without a doubt, is the greatest hockey game I have ever and most likely will ever watch. 

5. 2011 Game 2: Boston @ Vancouver

Vancouver scored 11 seconds into overtime to take a 2-0 lead in the eventual seven game series. The terribly unlikeable Canucks team looked unbeatable until they lost four of the final five games of their season to blow it to the Bruins. They won the game with 18 seconds to go in regulation, followed by a crazy overtime game, making it seem like Vancouver was the team of destiny. However, when push came to shove, Boston won Game 7 4-0 in a boring affair. This, however, was a fantastic game. 

4. 2004 Game 7: Calgary @ Tampa Bay

On the off chance anyone from the province of Alberta is reading this, they have now closed out the tab. Flames fans still think Marcus Nilson scored to tie this game in the final seconds, but it was waved off, allowing Tampa to win their first Stanley Cup. The next season was the lockout, so this John Tortorella-led squad was the defending champion for two consecutive years. This was Hall-of-Famer Jerome Iginla’s lone trip to the Cup Finals and his one true chance to lift the cup, which made this Flames team extremely likable. Although the Flames lost, it didn’t hurt Iginla’s legacy, as he was a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer this past fall.

3. 2009 Game 7: Pittsburgh @ Detroit

Detroit (in the Western Conference where they belong) had just won the Cup against Pittsburgh in ’08. Now, with one more chance with the aging core of Nicklas Lindström and Chris Chelios, they played against the young guns of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-André Fleury. The Pens were up 2-0 heading into the third period at Joe Louis Arena where the Wings pulled out the old trick where they dominate a period. They outshot Pittsburgh 8-1 in the final frame and got one through Fleury. That iconic final save from Fleury is the lasting image, but this was a heck of a series. Plus, there’s the two old, classic arenas in Joe Louis and Mellon that don’t exist any more to enjoy when re-watching this one.

2. 2010 Game 6: Chicago @ Philadelphia

Maybe the most memorable moment from any of these games is when no one had a clue that  the then-22-year-old Patrick Kane would score the biggest goal of his life. In Game six on the road, he clinched the first Stanley Cup in 49 years for the Blackhawks and started the greatest dynasty of the decade. This was a fantastic series with a star-studded Hawks team battling against a Chris Pronger-led underdog Flyers squad. There were a ton of back-and-forth, high-scoring games. This cannot be discussed without mentioning the Brad Aldrich allegations from earlier this season. It certainly does take a lot of shine off this great run from the Hawks, but in terms of on the ice play, it was a great series at the time. 

1. 2019 Game 7: St. Louis @ Boston: 

An unknown goalie behind an incredibly likable St. Louis team against another team from the championship machine known as Boston. It was Boston versus everyone for seven incredible games that culminated in an instant classic at TD Garden. Boston outshot St. Louis 33-20 in the 4-1 Blues win. There were 32 saves on the road to win the Stanley Cup. It was the stuff of legends from Jordan Binnington, who was buried on the depth chart at the Christmas Break, picked up a last place team and took them to glory.