The 1999 Stanley Cup Final NHL championship series was contested by the Eastern Conference champion Buffalo Sabres and the Western Conference champion Dallas Stars. It was the 106th year of the Stanley Cup. The Sabres were led by captain Michael Peca, coach Lindy Ruff and goalie Dominik Hasek. The Stars were led by captain Derian Hatcher, coach Ken Hitchcock and goalie Ed Belfour. It was the Sabres' second Stanley Cup Final appearance, the first being a loss to Philadelphia in 1975. It was the third appearance for the Stars' franchise, and their first since moving to Dallas from Minnesota in 1993. Minnesota (known at the time as the North Stars) lost in the Final to the NY Islanders in 1981 and to Pittsburgh in 1991. The Stars defeated the Sabres four games to two to win their first Stanley Cup, becoming the eighth post-1967 expansion team to earn a championship. This was the first time since 1994 that the Stanley Cup Finals did not end in a sweep. The entire series will also always be remembered because of the "No Goal" controversy, which continues today.
Buffalo defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-0, the Boston Bruins 4-2 and Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 to make it to the final.
Dallas defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-0, the St. Louis Blues 4-2 and the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 to advance to the final.
The opening game was in Dallas and it was the visiting Buffalo Sabres who struck first, winning 3–2 in overtime. Dallas led 1-0 on a power play goal by Brett Hull, but Stu Barnes and Wayne Primeau scored 5:04 apart in the third to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. Jere Lehtinen tied the game in the final minute of the third period, but Jason Woolley scored at 15:30 of overtime to give the Sabres the series lead.
Dallas struck back in the second game, winning 4–2. Dallas attempted to rattle Buffalo goaltender Dominik Hasek in the first period, as Brian Skrudland was assessed a charging minor after running Hasek, who had gone into the corner to his right to play the puck, at 12:25 of the first period. With three seconds left in the period, Dallas center Mike Modano tripped Hasek away from the play in almost the same spot, and a number of scrums broke out as time expired. Dallas winger Joe Nieuwendyk—who had been "freight-trained" (in the words of Fox play-by-play man Mike Emrick) into the boards by Buffalo center Brian Holzinger with seven seconds left in one of a series of big hits—dropped the gloves and fought Holzinger in the circle to the right of Hasek. These were the first fighting majors in three years in the final round, and it was also Nieuwendyk's first fighting major in five years in either the playoffs or regular season. Nieuwendyk's decision to drop the gloves—so out-of-character for him—seemed to inspire the team and was one of the reasons he eventually won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1999.
After the scoreless opening period, the teams traded goals in the middle frame. Craig Ludwig's first goal in 102 playoff games gave Dallas its first lead of the game in the third period, but Alexei Zhitnik tied the game 71 seconds later. Brett Hull scored on a slap shot, a one-timer on a pass from Tony Hrkac, from the top of the circle to Hasek's left with 2:50 remaining in the game, but Buffalo had an excellent chance to tie the game with Derian Hatcher being assessed a high-sticking minor 19 seconds later. During the power play, Buffalo pulled Hasek for a 6-on-4 attacking advantage, but the Stars were able to kill the penalty, and Hatcher scored an empty-netter just three seconds after emerging from the penalty box. The empty net goal sealed the win for Dallas, and evened the series at one game apiece. Mike Modano left the game with approximately ten minutes to play after suffering a broken wrist.
The series shifted to Buffalo for games three and four. It was the visiting Dallas Stars turn to win one on the road, winning 2–1. With Modano hampered by his wrist injury, and Hull leaving the game with a groin injury, Joe Nieuwendyk's two goals, including his sixth game-winner of the playoffs, led Dallas to the win.
Facing a two games to one deficit in the series, the Sabres came through with a 2–1 victory.
With the series tied at two games apiece and returning to Dallas, Ed Belfour made 23 saves to shut out the Sabres, and move Dallas within one win of the Stanley Cup.
The series shifted back to Marine Midland Arena for the sixth game on June 19, 1999, where the Dallas Stars would seek their first Stanley Cup, while the Buffalo Sabres would fight for a win to extend the series to a seventh and final game.
Dallas, which allowed the first goal in the earlier two games played at Marine Midland Arena, took a 1-0 lead on one of its few scoring chances in the first period when Lehtinen scored his tenth goal of the playoffs at 8:09. The Sabres tied the game with their first goal since the third period of game four when Barnes' wrist shot eluded Belfour with 1:39 to play in the second period.
The game remained tied at one through the third period and the first two overtime periods, despite several chances by both teams to score. At 14:51 of the third overtime period, Brett Hull scored off of a rebound from inside the crease over a sprawling Dominik Hasek to end the series and award Dallas their first Stanley Cup.
It was the longest Cup-winning game in Finals history, and the second-longest Finals game overall, after game one of the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals, which ended at 15:13 of the third overtime.
The phrase "No Goal" is associated with the controversial goal scored by Brett Hull to clinch the series in triple overtime of game six, as his foot was in the crease but the puck was not. Subsequent to the series-ending goal, the NHL claimed to have sent out a memo clarifying the "skate in the crease" rule allowed goals in instances where the goalscorer maintained control (not possession) of the puck prior to entering the crease. On this play, Hull kicked the puck with his left skate (while still outside of the crease) into a shooting position. Others have pointed out that similar plays were called differently during the regular season. Many Buffalo fans felt that this call was incorrectly made and the term "No Goal!" became their rallying cry. Shortly after, the rule that led to this controversy was removed from the NHL rule book.
Hull's goal ended the series and the Stars were awarded the Stanley Cup. At the time, even Dallas Morning News hockey writer Keith Gave questioned the legality of the goal. NHL officials, however, maintained that Hull's two shots at the goal constituted a single possession of the puck since the puck deflected off Hasek, and their ruling stood, noting that they were going to change the rule the following year anyway. NHL Director of Officiating Bryan Lewis said there was no crease violation because "Hull had possession of the puck when his skate entered the crease." Ironically, Hasek and Hull would become teammates on the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup winning team in 2002.† Brent Severyn played only 30 games, missing 22 regular season games due to injuries, and was a healthy scratch for the playoffs. Dallas asked the NHL to include his name, because he spent the whole season with Dallas.
†† Derek Plante – played 17 for Chicago, and 16 for Dallas NHL total 33 games. He also played 6 playoff games. His name was included on the cup, because he spent the whole season in the NHL.
Mike Modano and Shawn Chambers were the only players on the roster remaining from 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars. Chambers left the Stars in summer of 1991. for Washington. He joined Tampa Bay in summer of 1992. Chambers won the Stanley Cup first year in New Jersey in 1995, before rejoining the Stars in summer of 1997. The North Stars in 1990-91 were coached by Bob Gainey (who would become general manager in 1992 and hold the position when the team relocated), where they lost in 6 games to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.
Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993 to become the Dallas Stars. Chambers was not with the North Stars/Stars for the whole period between 1991 and 1997, as he won the Stanley Cup in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils, before rejoining the Stars.
Included on the team picture, but left off the Stanley Cup.In February, Dallas added #6 Doug Lidster from the Canadian National Team, and #37 Brad Lukowich, from the minor league Kalamazoo Wings. Lidster played 17 regular season and 4 playoff games. Lukowich played 14 regular season and 8 playoff games (2 games in conference finals). They were left off the cup even though they played in the playoffs.
Leon Friedrich† (Video Coordinator), Craig Lowery† (Trainer Asst.), Doug Warner† (Equipment Asst.) – All 5 members were awarded Stanley Cup Rings