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2003 stanley cup

The 2003 Stanley Cup Finals was a best-of-seven playoff series that determined the champion of the 2002-03 NHL season.

As a culmination of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the second-seeded Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils defeated the seventh-seeded Western Conference champion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in seven games and were awarded the Stanley Cup.

It was New Jersey's first appearance since 2001 and third in four years.

It was Anaheim's first-ever appearance. The Devils defeated the Mighty Ducks in seven games to win their third Stanley Cup in less than a decade.

The Devils' win was the last in a series of wins they (along with the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings) established in the era from 1995 to 2003. The three teams won a combined eight of nine Stanley Cups during that time.

The Devils won in 1995, followed by the Avalanche in 1996, then the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

After the Dallas Stars won in 1999, the four-year cycle repeated again as the Devils started it again in 2000, followed by Colorado in 2001 and Detroit in 2002.

Road to the Stanley Cup FinalEdit

The New Jersey Devils were in the finals for their fourth time (third time in four years) after defeating the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning in five games, and beating the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games.

Strong goaltending from Martin Brodeur and strong defense from captain Scott Stevens & Scott Niedermayer led the way.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim entered their first Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history after upsetting two heavily favored teams: sweeping the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Detroit Red Wings, defeating the Dallas Stars in six games and sweeping the upstart Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Finals largely due to the stellar goaltending of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who only allowed one goal during the entire series.

Supporting Giguere were stand-out players Paul Kariya, Petr Sykora, Adam Oates and Rob Niedermayer (the brother of then-Devils star defenseman Scott Niedermayer).

This series was memorable for two brothers on different teams competing for the same prize.

SeriesEdit

Game 1Edit

New Jersey Devils: 3
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 0

Game 1 began on May 27, 2003 at the Continental Airlines Arena.

In game one, Martin Brodeur kept the Ducks off the scoreboard while the Devils players continually dominated the Ducks.

Sergei Brylin scored the winning goal in the second period and the Devils went on to shut out the Mighty Ducks 3–0.

Game 2Edit

New Jersey Devils: 3
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 0

Game 2 began on May 29, 2003 at the Continental Airlines Arena.

In a virtual repeat of game one, Patrik Elias scored the winning goal in the second period and the Devils shut out Anaheim 3–0 again.

Game 3Edit

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 3
New Jersey Devils: 2

Game 3 began on May 31, 2003 at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim arena.

Down 2–0 after two games, the series shifted to the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in Southern California.

Game three was remembered for the clumsy mistake from Martin Brodeur when he accidentally dropped his stick when the puck came to him; the puck deflected off his fallen stick and into the net to give the Ducks a lucky break and a 2–1 lead. The Devils would later tie the game, only to lose in overtime.

Over the mistake with his stick, Brodeur later claimed, "It was just one of those once in a lifetime things."

Game 4Edit

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 1
New Jersey Devils: 0

Game 4 began on June 2, 2003 at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim arena.

Game four had no scoring throughout regulation and was a battle between goaltenders Brodeur and Giguere, but Anaheim again came out on top in overtime, winning 1–0 and tying the series 2–2.

Game 5Edit

New Jersey Devils: 6
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 3

Game 5 began on June 5, 2003 at the Continental Airlines Arena.

Game five (returning to the Meadowlands) saw a continual battle for the first half of the game.

With the game tied 3–3 in the second period, the Devils took the lead with a deflection goal by Jay Pandolfo that was initially waved off by referees due to an apparent kicking motion with the skates.

However, video replays showed that there was no distinct kicking motion from the skates, and thus the referees' call was reversed, resulting in a goal.

This would prove to deflate the Ducks for the rest of the game, as Jamie Langenbrunner scored two more goals for the Devils to give New Jersey a 6–3 win and a three games to two series lead.

Game 6Edit

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 5
New Jersey Devils: 2

Game 6 began on June 7, 2003 at the Continental Airlines Arena.

With New Jersey looking to clinch the series, game six in Anaheim saw the Mighty Ducks return the favor of game five to the Devils with complete dominance throughout the game.

Quite possibly the most remembered moment of the entire series came when the Ducks were winning 3–1 in the second period.

Ducks captain Paul Kariya failed to see Devils captain Scott Stevens approaching after he passed the puck and he was subsequently checked by the defensemen in a hit similar to the check that knocked out Eric Lindros during the 2000 playoffs and caused Lindros to miss the next season.

Kariya was lying motionless for a few minutes where he was then escorted to the locker room, but he unexpectedly returned to the bench minutes later.

About 11 minutes after the hit, Kariya fired a slap shot that found the back of the net. This helped the Ducks win the game 5–2 and sent the series to a seventh and final game.

Game 7Edit

New Jersey Devils: 3
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 0

Game 7 began on June 9, 2003 at the Continental Airlines Arena.

Game seven in New Jersey saw the Devils once more completely dominate the Ducks. The game-winning goal was scored by Michael Rupp. Rupp became the first player in Stanley Cup history to have his first playoff goal be the Stanley Cup winner.

Additionally, Jeff Friesen dominated his former Mighty Duck teammates, scoring the game's final two goals to solidify the victory.

The 3–0 win gave the Devils their third Stanley Cup victory as Anaheim could not complete their Cinderella run.

However, the Mighty Ducks wouldn't leave empty-handed; for his stellar play throughout the playoffs and Finals, goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player (MVP) of the playoffs.

He became only the fifth player and fourth goaltender, in NHL history to have won the trophy as a member of the losing team, joining Detroit's Roger Crozier (1966), the St. Louis Blues' Glenn Hall (1968), and the Philadelphia Flyers' Reggie Leach (1976, a right winger) and Ron Hextall (1987). He is also the most recent such Smythe winner to date.

This was only the third time in NHL history (after 1955 and 1965) that the home team won every Finals game.

New Jersey Devils: 2003 Stanley Cup ChampionsEdit

RosterEdit

Centres

Wingers

Defencemen

Goaltenders

AftermathEdit

The Devils lost in the first round to the Philadelphia Flyers the following year after they won the Stanley Cup. The Ducks on the other hand, missed the playoffs the following year after they went to the Finals.

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