This win by the Devils marked their first Stanley Cup title, after 21 seasons and two franchise relocations.
The series opened on Saturday, June 17th at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Few gave New Jersey much of a chance against the NHL’s best team. After a scoreless first period, the underdog Devils got on the board first, when Stephane Richer blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle that just squeezed through Detroit goaltender Mike Vernon. The power-play goal came at 9:41 of the second period and gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead. The Red Wings responded less than four minutes later and tied the game on a power-play goal by Dino Ciccarelli at 13:08. The Devils would regain the lead on a goal by Claude Lemieux who stuffed a rebound past Vernon at 3:17 of the third period. New Jersey would go on to win the game 2-1 and take a one-game-to-none series lead. They played a solid defensive game, frustrating the Red Wings and holding them to just 17 shots. The win was their record-setting ninth road win of the playoffs.
In game two, Detroit played with a sense of urgency. Vyacheslav Kozlov scored on the power play at 7:17 of the second period to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Red Wings. Devils forward John MacLean would tie the game at 1-1 less than two and a half minutes later with a goal at 9:40. Then, on a Detroit breakaway, New Jersey defenseman and captain Scott Stevens laid a thundering body check on Kozlov as he made a move to the inside past the New Jersey blue line. Although the Red Wings regained the lead on Sergei Fedorov's goal at 1:36 of the third period, the Stevens hit seemed to inspire the Devils. With the midway point of the third period approaching, New Jersey defenseman Scott Niedermayer picked up the puck in his own zone and skated up the ice. Once over the Detroit blue line, he got a step on defenseman Paul Coffey and fired a shot towards the Detroit net. Although the puck missed the net, it bounced off the end boards and came right back to Niedermayer who shot it past Mike Vernon to tie the game at 2-2. The game remained tied until late in the third period. Devils defenseman Shawn Chambers fired a shot from the point and the rebound came right to Jim Dowd who backhanded the puck into the net to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. Stephane Richer would add an empty-net goal as New Jersey won, 4-2.
New Jersey had shocked everyone in the hockey world by winning the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit. In game three at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ, the Devils dominated the Red Wings, scoring five consecutive goals. Bruce Driver, Claude Lemieux, Neal Broten, Randy McKay and Bobby Holik all scored to give the Devils a 5-0 lead with 11:46 remaining in the game. Detroit scored twice on power-play goals by Sergei Fedorov and Steve Yzerman at 16:57 and 18:27 of the third period, as New Jersey won 5-2. They now had a commanding three-games-to-none lead in the series.
In game four on Saturday, June 24th, the Devils jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Neal Broten’s goal just 68 seconds into the game. However, the Red Wings were fighting to stay alive and tied the game on Sergei Fedorov's goal just 55 seconds later. Coffey scored a shorthanded goal at 13:01 to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. New Jersey responded less than five minutes later, at 17:45 on a slap-shot goal by Shawn Chambers that beat Mike Vernon glove side. Then in the second period, Scott Niedermayer fed Broten in front of the net who chipped the puck over Vernon’s glove. The goal was Broten’s second of the game and it gave the Devils a 3-2 lead. New Jersey would its lead increase with goals by Sergei Brylin and Chambers (his second of the game) at 7:46 and 12:32 of the third period. The Devils won the game 5-2 and the series four games to none. It was New Jersey's first Stanley Cup Championship in team history. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur allowed just seven goals against the Red Wings in the series and Devils forward Claude Lemieux was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP, having led all skaters in playoff goals with 13.
|Detroit vs. New Jersey|
|June 17||New Jersey||2||Detroit||1|
|June 20||New Jersey||4||Detroit||2|
|June 22||Detroit||2||New Jersey||5|
|June 24||Detroit||2||New Jersey||5|
|New Jersey wins series 4–0|
and Stanley Cup
|Claude Lemieux (New Jersey)|
wins Conn Smythe Trophy
"The championship to New Jersey! The Devils win the Stanley Cup!" - Mike "Doc" Emrick calling the final seconds of Game 4
"Less than a minute to go! 50 seconds remaining! Along the boards it goes to center! Chambers, two goals on the night, dumps it into the Detroit zone with 40 seconds to go! On the right side, Darren McCarty, along the boards! Stevens has got it! Played it to Brodeur who banged it to center! Now turning is Rouse! Gave it to Ramsey! He'll dump it back to the line! Picked off by Chorske! Here's Chorske over the line with 20 seconds to go! Yzerman's got it! He's spun around by Chambers! Cleared by Richer! 13 seconds to go! Bouncing puck at the Detroit line! Ramsey will circle it in his own end! 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, AND 1! AND THE OLDEST TROPHY IN NORTH AMERICA, LORD'S STANLEY'S CUP, HAS MADE ITS WAY TO THE LINCOLN TUNNEL, TO THE MEADOWLANDS, TO THE GARDEN STATE!!! THE NEW JERSEY DEVILS ARE THE 1995 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!" - Mike Miller, the Devils radio announcer, calling the final seconds of Game 4
New Jersey Devils 1995 Stanley Cup Champions
Scott Stevens(captain), Martin Brodeur, Tommy Albelin, Neal Broten, Sergei Brylin, Bob Carpenter, Shawn Chambers, Tom Chorske, Danton Cole, Ken Daneyko, Kevin Dean, Jim Dowd, Bruce Driver, Bill Guerin, Bobby Holik, Claude Lemieux, John MacLean, Chris McAlpine, Randy McKay, Scott Niedermayer, Mike David Peluso, Stephane Richer, Brian Rolston, Chris Terreri, Valeri Zelepukin, Lou Lamoriello(president/general manager), Jacques Lemaire(head coach)
The Devils missed the playoffs the following year, becoming the first defending Stanley Cup champions to not qualify for the playoffs since the 1969–70 Montreal Canadiens. The Red Wings, on the other hand, lost in the Conference Finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion, Colorado Avalanche. The Wings would not return to the Stanley Cup Finals until 1997 where they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to earn their first Stanley Cup in nearly 40 years. As for the Devils, they would not return to the Finals until five years later, where they would defeat the Dallas Stars in six games to earn their second Stanley Cup.