Detroit Red Wings
June 9, 1998
| Detroit (Joe Louis Arena) (1,2)
Washington (MCI Center) (3,4)|
Detroit: Scotty Bowman
Washington: Ron Wilson
Detroit: Steve Yzerman
Washington: Dale Hunter
Bill McCreary (1,4)
Don Koharski (2)
Terry Gregson (3)
1997 Stanley Cup Finals, 2002 Stanley Cup Finals, 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, 1995 Stanley Cup Finals, 2000 Stanley Cup Finals
The 1998 Stanley Cup Finals NHL championship series was contested by the Western Conference champion and defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals. It was the 105th year of the Stanley Cup being contested. It was the Capitals' first appearance in a Stanley Cup Final since the franchise's inception in 1974. The Red Wings won the series for the second year in a row, four games to none. It was the Wings' ninth Stanley Cup, and as of 2016, this is the last season in which a defending Stanley Cup champion has successfully defended and retained the Stanley Cup and is also the most recent time when a Finals concluded with a sweep. This was also the last time until 2002 that a Stanley Cup Finals ended after an NBA Finals in the same season had concluded. Detroit coach Scotty Bowman won his eighth Stanley Cup in that capacity (having previously done so with the Montreal Canadiens in 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979, the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992, and the Wings the previous year), tying him with former Canadiens coach Toe Blake for the record of most Cups won by a coach (which he would break when he helped the Red Wings win the 2002 Cup).
Just six days after sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1997 Finals, Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov and masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov sustained serious brain injuries when the limousine in which they were riding crashed. Viacheslav Fetisov was also in the limousine but was not seriously injured. The Red Wings subsequently dedicated their 1997–98 season to the two injured members and wore a patch on their jerseys bearing the players' initials. When the Red Wings were presented with the Stanley Cup, they wheeled Konstantinov onto the ice and placed the Cup in his lap. They also took him for a victory lap around the rink.
Detroit advanced to the Finals by defeating the Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, and Dallas Stars in six games each.
Washington defeated the Boston Bruins 4–2, the Ottawa Senators 4–1, and the Buffalo Sabres 4–2.
In this series, Capitals head coach Ron Wilson became the first person to head coach in both an Olympics and a Stanley Cup Final in the same year, having coached team USA at the Nagano Olympics. Peter Laviolette would join him in this feat in 2006 while with the Carolina Hurricanes during their championship season, having coached the American ice hockey team during the Torino Olympics.
At home, Detroit took an early lead in the first period and scored two goals within two minutes and 14 seconds of each other. The Red Wings were able to hold off a Washington assault and take the first game of the series with a score of 2–1.
It looked as if the Capitals would to tie the series with a 4–2 lead in the third period, but after a Detroit goal to make it 4–3, Capitals forward Esa Tikkanen had a shot midway through the third period that would have likely put Detroit away before the venue changed back to Washington's MCI Center, and also would have changed the entire dynamic of the series, but he missed the open net shot. Detroit then rallied late in the third period to tie the game and send it into overtime. Kris Draper scored with four minutes left in the first overtime to give the Red Wings a 5–4 victory and a 2–0 lead in the series.
Detroit scored in the first 35 seconds to take an early lead which held up until the third period. The Capitals tied the game midway through the third period, but Sergei Fedorov scored to give the Wings a three games to none lead in the series.
In game four, Detroit was dominant throughout to win the game by a score of 4–1 and sweep the series.Konstantinov's career ended in a car accident. The Red Wings still recognized him as part of the team and got permission from the league to have his name engraved.
Wally Crossman was the oldest person engraved on the Stanley Cup at age 87.
Detroit wanted to include a record 55 names on the Stanley Cup in 1997–98. Following that request, the NHL decided to limit the number of names to 52 to make sure all names fit on the Cup. Players who play in Stanley Cup Finals, or play at least 41 regular season games for the winning team, must be included on the Cup each year. Other players who do not officially qualify may also be included if requested by the team. There are no rules for which non-players must be included on the Stanley Cup, only a limit on total number of names going on the cup. No player who officially qualifies may be left off to include more non-players.
Included on the team picture, but left off the Stanley Cup#34 Norm Maracle† (G – 4 games played), #21 Darryl Laplante† (D – played 2 games) did not qualify to win the Stanley Cup. Both players spent majority of the season of in the minors. Maracle played 66 games in goal for Adirondack while Darryl Laplante played 77 on defence.
Art Mnatsusakanov†, Johnny Remejes†, Mike Vella† (Dressing Room Asst.) – all 5 members were awarded Stanley Cup Rings
1998 Stanley Cup Finals Wikipedia