New York Rangers Memories: Game 4, 1994 Stanley Cup finals

RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 9: Goaltender Mike Richter (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images/NHLI)
RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 9: Goaltender Mike Richter (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images/NHLI) /

On this throwback Thursday, we look back at 1994 and game four of the New York Rangers battle for the Stanley Cup. We remember “the save”.

24 years ago tonight, the New York Rangers were in the midst of the Stanley Cup finals. They finished up their memorable win over the New Jersey Devils and were looking to end the drought that began in 1940. The Rangers had one more team to beat, and as Howie Rose so famously called, it was “Mount Vancouver”.

However, it didn’t start out the way it was planned. The Rangers split the first two games at Madison Square Garden and won game three in Vancouver. Entering game four with a 2-1 series lead, there were some roadblocks to get past. The Canucks were looking to even the series before a pivotal game five in New York and were not about to go quietly into the night.

The first period was not the Rangers best. A power play goal by Trevor Linden at the 13:25 mark put the Canucks on the board. Cliff Ronning scored at the 16:25 mark to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead as the period came to an end. The Rangers were called for four penalties in the period, but held the Canucks to a mere eight shots. If you look at it one way, it was a moral victory for the Rangers to only be down nothing.

But, down they were. After a poor first period they were down 2-0 in the game and looking at the possibility of heading back to New York with the series tied at two.

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Early in the second, Brian Leetch put one behind Kirk McLean to close the gap to a single goal.

Approximately two minutes later came the moment that defined the game, and arguably defined the entire series. It was certainly the turning point of the game for the Rangers.

Pavel Bure took the puck for his team and was knifing his way into the Rangers zone. Brian Leetch gave chance but was unable to catch up and instead tripped Bure from behind. Was it a breakaway, and therefore a penalty shot, or a two-minute minor?

The referee stepped in and immediately signaled for a penalty shot. Stop and think about the situation for a moment. It was a 2-1 game in a 2-1 series. A Bure goal would make the score 3-1 and make life very tough for the Rangers for the rest of this night. A save would put the momentum squarely in the Rangers favor.

And then there was the shot. Here it is:

Ah, memories. What a save by the great Mike Richter. That save shifted the momentum of the game, propelling the Rangers to a win that night, sending them home with a 3-1 series lead.

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Granted, it did take the full seven games for the Rangers to bring home the Cup, but that doesn’t take away from this memory. It was the play that defined a series, and the save that put Mike Richter in Rangers’ fans hearts forever.