By Daniel Friedman
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The Rangers are in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994. Whether or not they win remains to be seen, but for now, the New York/New Jersey region has celebrated 11 hockey championships.
Where do those Cup-winning Rangers, Islanders and Devils teams rank when compared to each other? Read on and find out.
11. 1927-28 Rangers
The franchise won a Cup in its second year of existence, defeating the Montreal Maroons 3-2. Forty-four-year-old manager and coach Lester Patrick actually wound up playing in goal during Game 2, after Lorne Chabot vacated the net because of an eye injury.
10. 1939-40 Rangers
After blowing a 2-0 series lead, the Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games. They were led by offensive stars Bryan Hextall, Neil Colville and Phil Watson and received nothing short of spectacular goaltending from Dave Kerr. It was the last title for a very, very long time. And thus, the infamous “Nineteen-forty!” chant was born.
9. 1932-33 Rangers
Brothers Bill and Bun Cook were a dynamic duo. Along with star center Frank Boucher, the trio was one of the league’s best and helped the Rangers capture their second NHL championship.
8. 1994-95 Devils
The Devils won the Cup in a lockout-shortened season, but that shouldn’t take anything away from their accomplishment. The bottom line is, they were a damn good hockey team, led by a damn good goaltender, Martin Brodeur. Maybe you’ve heard of him.
7. 1999-00 Devils
Why were the Devils a damn good hockey team? Because they had three future Hall-of-Famers in Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens, rookie-of-the-year Scott Gomez and Patrik Elias, among others. This lineup was stacked.
Perennial underachievers at the time, the Islanders finally broke through and clinched their first of four straight Stanley Cups, on an overtime goal by Bob Nystrom. As it turns out, drafting Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Ken Morrow, Billy Smith (expansion draft) and Nystrom is a solid strategy.
5. 2002-03 Devils
This Devils team was stacked; Joe Nieuwendyk, Jamie Langenbrunner and Jeff Friesen were added to the existing core, while a budding Brian Gionta did admirably well in a supporting role.
Swept Gretzky and the Oilers in the Finals despite the fact that, for the first time in a while, they were the underdogs.
3. 1980-81 Islanders
Captured their second Cup in a row and in franchise history. Mike Bossy scored 50 goals in 50 games, a feat that had previously been done by just one player in league history — Maurice “Rocket” Richard.
2. 1993-94 Rangers
This team had everything; offense, defense, goaltending, leadership — you name it, they had it. They had an excellent season and topped it all off with a thrilling playoff run, giving NYC it’s first hockey championship in 54 years.
1. 1981-82 Islanders
Of the four dynastic years, this was the best one. The Isles dominated the regular season, then swept Vancouver in the Finals. If the Canucks were smart, they’d just avoid playing against New York teams.
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