The 1993 Stanley Cup Final series was contested by the Los Angeles Kings and the Montreal Canadiens to decide the NHL championship for the 1992–93 season. It was the first appearance in the Final for the Kings and the first appearance since the 1920 Final for a team based on the west coast of the United States. It was also the 34th and (as of 2016) most recent appearance for Montreal, their first since the 1989 Final. The Canadiens won the series four games to one to win the team's twenty-fourth Stanley Cup. The year 1993 was the 100th anniversary of the first awarding of the Stanley Cup in 1893, and the first Finals to start in the month of June. The Canadiens remain the last Canadian team to have won the Cup. The 1993 Canadiens are also the last Stanley Cup championship team to be composed solely of North American-born players.
Los Angeles had started well but then went through a terrible run of form from December to February, though they managed to rebound and clinch a playoff spot. Superstar Wayne Gretzky sat out from October to January due to injury. Los Angeles did not have home ice advantage for all four rounds of the playoffs, and was the only club to face Canadian teams in every round. To reach the final, Los Angeles defeated the Calgary Flames 4–2, the Vancouver Canucks, 4–2 and the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4–3.
Montreal defeated their in-province rivals, Quebec Nordiques, 4–2, the Buffalo Sabres 4–0, and the New York Islanders 4–1. The Canadiens initially lost the first two games in round one against the rival Nordiques, due in part to a couple of weak goals let in by star Montreal goaltender (and Quebec City native) Patrick Roy. Afterward, a newspaper in Roy's hometown district suggested that he be traded, while Nordiques goaltending coach Dan Bouchard also proclaimed that his team had solved Roy. The Canadiens then responded by winning the next four games to eliminate the Nordiques, then swept the Sabres, and took the first three games against the Islanders, tying a record of 11 consecutive playoff wins.
Both conferences saw numerous upsets, with the top two teams in each conference being eliminated before the conference finals. The Campbell Conference saw last year's Cup finalists, Chicago Blackhawks, get swept in the opening round by the St. Louis Blues. With their rivals the Boston Bruins being eliminated by the Sabres in the division semifinals, as well as the two-time defending Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins being eliminated by the Islanders in the division final, Montreal's path to their first final since 1989 became much easier. The Bruins had eliminated the Canadiens in the playoffs for three straight years, mainly due to Boston goaltender Andy Moog, who was often referred to as the "greatest Hab killer" the Bruins ever had.
This was the last Stanley Cup Final series played in the Montreal Forum, and the last time Wayne Gretzky competed in the Finals. The Kings were appearing in the Finals for the first time in their 26-year history. It was Montreal's most recent appearance in the Stanley Cup, and its victory is the most recent championship won by a Canadian team.
In game one at the Montreal Forum, the Kings jumped out to a 1–0 lead on Luc Robitaille's power-play goal at 3:03 of the first period. The Canadiens tied the game late in the first on Ed Ronan's goal at 18:09 (although it was merely a pass that Gretzky accidentally deflected into his own net). Robitaille would break the 1–1 deadlock with his second power-play goal of the game at 17:41 of the second period. Jari Kurri added an insurance marker off a Patrice Brisebois turnover at 1:51 of the third, and Gretzky sealed the 4–1 win for the Kings with an empty net goal at 18:02.
The turning point of the series for the Canadiens came late in the third period of game two. With the Kings leading by a score of 2–1, Canadiens coach Jacques Demers called for a measurement of the curve of Kings defenceman Marty McSorley's stick. The stick was deemed illegal and McSorley was given a two-minute minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. As it was late in the game and Montreal was facing the prospect of going to Los Angeles down two games to none, Demers pulled goalie Patrick Roy, producing a 6-on-4 advantage for the Canadiens. Montreal's Éric Desjardins scored from the point to tie the game at two and force overtime. Desjardins then scored his third goal of the game 51 seconds into overtime to give Montreal the win and the momentum heading toward games three and four at the Great Western Forum. Desjardins is the first and only defenceman to get a hat trick in the Cup Finals; before this game he had scored just two playoff goals.
Reports suggested Canadiens coach Jacques Demers knew which of the Kings' hockey sticks to challenge, thanks to a Montreal Forum employee assigned to the Kings' locker room who temporarily moved the Kings' portable stick rack to the Montreal's locker room. Demers has denied this and credited captain Guy Carbonneau with spotting McSorley's illegal stick.
In game three in Los Angeles, the Canadiens jumped out to a 1–0 first period lead on a tip-in goal by Brian Bellows at 10:26, and Gilbert Dionne and Mathieu Schneider increased that lead to 3–0 at 2:41 and 3:02 of the second period. After a memorable check by long-time Kings defenceman Mark Hardy on Montreal's Mike Keane, the Kings fired back to tie the game in the second period on goals by Robitaille, Tony Granato, and Gretzky. With time running out in the third period, Montreal captain Guy Carbonneau appeared to cover the puck in the goal crease, which with such little time remaining (12 seconds) would have resulted in a penalty shot for Los Angeles. But the referee ruled that the puck had been shot by a Kings player into Carbonneau's equipment, and so the period remained scoreless. After the series, the referee admitted that he had made a mistake on the call. The game went into overtime and Montreal's John LeClair scored the winner just 34 seconds into the extra period, giving the Canadiens their ninth consecutive overtime playoff victory.
Game four was a carbon copy of the previous game. Montreal bolted out to an early 2–0 lead, but the Kings fought back in the second period with goals by Mike Donnelly at 6:33 and McSorley on a power play at 19:56. As was the case in game three, the third period in game four ended up scoreless. Once again, it was John LeClair who was the hero for Montreal as he netted the overtime winner 14:37 into the extra period, banking the puck off the leg of sliding Los Angeles defenceman Darryl Sydor. In doing so, he became the first player since Montreal legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard in 1951 to score playoff overtime goals in consecutive games, and giving Montreal an NHL-record ten consecutive overtime wins in the 1993 playoffs.
Leading the series three games to one, the Canadiens headed back home for game five. After Paul DiPietro gave Montreal a 1–0 lead with a goal at 15:10 of the first period, McSorley tied the game for the Kings at 2:40 of the second period. The Canadiens' response was swift as Kirk Muller scored just 71 seconds later, and then Stephane Lebeau scored a power-play goal at 11:31 to give the Canadiens a 3–1 lead after two periods. DiPietro scored again at 12:06 to give Montreal a 4–1 lead. That ended up being the final score, with Muller's goal turning out to be the game winner. Gretzky did not manage a shot on net during the entire game.
With the win, the Canadiens won the series four games to one and clinched their 24th Stanley Cup championship. Montreal goaltender Patrick Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time (he won it for the first time in 1986).Jesse Belanger played 19 regular season games and 9 playoff games, but did not play in the finals. His name was included on the cup even though he did not qualify.
#6 Oleg Petrov played 9 regular season games and 1 playoff game, but was left off the cup, and team picture. He spent the rest of the season in the minors.
Montreal did not include Aldo Giampaolo, Fred Steer, Bernard Brisset (Vice Presidents), and Claude Ruel (Director-Player Development) on the Stanley Cup, even though there is more than enough room. In 1986 Montreal included 3 of their 4 vice presidents, and Director-Player Development on the cup. All 7 members were awarded Stanley Cup Rings, along with all the scouts, and other non-playing members.
Included on the team picture, but left off Stanley Cup.Stephane T. Molson (Secretary - Molson Family Foundation)†, Eric H. Molson (Chairman of the Board, The Molson Company Limited)†. Names are not on the Stanley cup even though they qualified as owners of Montreal.
The 1993 Montreal Stanley Cup riot occurred in Montreal after the Montreal Canadiens won their 24th Stanley Cup. People poured into the streets of the city and some began to commit acts of vandalism and violence while the Canadiens were celebrating inside the Montreal Forum. In the epicentre of the riot on Saint Catherine Street, stores were looted and police cruisers were set ablaze. The riot caused $2.5 million in damage, $3.7 million in 2017 dollars.
At the high point of the riot 980 officers were dispatched and they made 115 arrests. The police reported 47 police cars damaged, 8 of those 47 cars were completely destroyed. Rioters were arrested after they broke windows, looted stores and set fires. Some of the rioters were suspected of planning to loot stores using the riot as a decoy. 168 were injured, including 49 police officers.
Due to the Kings being the Canadiens' opponents, most of the Los Angeles news media, including the Los Angeles Times and the Daily News, also covered the riot; Times staff writer Helene Elliott was pressed into service as a news reporter minutes after the riot began.
In Canada, the series was televised in English on the CBC and in French on SRC. In the United States, the series was broadcast on ESPN. However, ESPN was blacked out in the Los Angeles market because of Prime Ticket's local rights to the Kings games. ESPN also sent its broadcasts to a record 120 countries, for a potential audience of 285 million.