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The 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs, the championship of the National Hockey League (NHL), began in April, 1997, following the 1996–97 NHL season. The sixteen teams that qualified, eight from each conference, played best-of-seven series for conference quarter-finals, semi-finals and championships, and then the conference champions played a best-of-seven series for the Stanley Cup.

The Playoffs ended on June 7, with the Detroit Red Wings defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in a four game sweep to win their eighth Stanley Cup championship in their history, and their first in 42 years. Red Wings goaltender Mike Vernon was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff's Most Valuable Player.

The Stanley Cup, awarded to the champion of the NHL.

Playoff bracket[]

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Final
1  New Jersey 4  
8  Montreal 1  
  1  New Jersey 1  
  5  NY Rangers 4  
2  Buffalo 4
7  Ottawa 3  
  5  NY Rangers 1  
Eastern Conference
  3  Philadelphia 4  
3  Philadelphia 4  
6  Pittsburgh 1  
  2  Buffalo 1
  3  Philadelphia 4  
4  Florida 1
5  NY Rangers 4  
  E3  Philadelphia 0
  W3  Detroit 4
1  Colorado 4  
8  Chicago 2  
  1  Colorado 4
  7  Edmonton 1  
2  Dallas 3
7  Edmonton 4  
  1  Colorado 2
Western Conference
  3  Detroit 4  
1  Detroit 4  
6  St. Louis 2  
  3  Detroit 4
  4  Anaheim 0  
4  Anaheim 4
5  Phoenix 3  

First Round[]

Eastern Conference[]

Montreal vs. New Jersey
Date Away Home
April 17 Montreal 2 5 New Jersey
April 19 Montreal 1 4 New Jersey
April 22 New Jersey 6 4 Montreal
April 24 New Jersey 3 4 Montreal 3OT
April 26 Montreal 0 4 New Jersey
New Jersey wins series 4–1
Ottawa vs. Buffalo
Date Away Home
April 17 Ottawa 1 3 Buffalo
April 19 Ottawa 3 1 Buffalo
April 21 Buffalo 3 2 Ottawa
April 23 Buffalo 0 1 Ottawa OT
April 25 Ottawa 4 1 Buffalo
April 27 Buffalo 3 0 Ottawa
April 29 Ottawa 2 3 Buffalo OT
Buffalo wins series 4–3
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia
Date Away Home
April 17 Pittsburgh 1 5 Philadelphia
April 19 Pittsburgh 2 3 Philadelphia
April 21 Philadelphia 5 3 Pittsburgh
April 23 Philadelphia 1 4 Pittsburgh
April 26 Pittsburgh 3 6 Philadelphia
Philadelphia wins series 4–1
NY Rangers vs. Florida
Date Away Home
April 17 NY Rangers 0 3 Florida
April 20 NY Rangers 3 0 Florida
April 22 Florida 3 4 NY Rangers OT
April 23 Florida 2 3 NY Rangers
April 25 NY Rangers 3 2 Florida OT
NY Rangers win series 4–1

Western Conference[]

Chicago vs. Colorado
Date Away Home
April 16 Chicago 0 6 Colorado
April 18 Chicago 1 3 Colorado
April 20 Colorado 3 4 Chicago 2OT
April 22 Colorado 3 6 Chicago
April 24 Chicago 0 7 Colorado
April 26 Colorado 6 3 Chicago
Colorado wins series 4–2
Edmonton vs. Dallas
Date Away Home
April 16 Edmonton 3 5 Dallas
April 18 Edmonton 4 0 Dallas
April 20 Dallas 3 4 Edmonton OT
April 22 Dallas 4 3 Edmonton
April 25 Edmonton 1 0 Dallas 2OT
April 27 Dallas 3 2 Edmonton
April 29 Edmonton 4 3 Dallas OT
Edmonton wins series 4–3
St. Louis vs. Detroit
Date Away Home
April 16 St. Louis 2 0 Detroit
April 18 St. Louis 1 2 Detroit
April 20 Detroit 3 2 St. Louis
April 22 Detroit 0 4 St. Louis
April 25 St. Louis 2 5 Detroit
April 27 Detroit 3 1 St. Louis
Detroit wins series 4–2
Phoenix vs. Anaheim
Date Away Home
April 16 Phoenix 2 4 Anaheim
April 18 Phoenix 2 4 Anaheim
April 20 Anaheim 1 4 Phoenix
April 22 Anaheim 0 2 Phoenix
April 24 Phoenix 5 2 Anaheim
April 27 Anaheim 3 2 Phoenix OT
April 29 Phoenix 0 3 Anaheim
Anaheim wins series 4–3

Eastern Conference Final[]

The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers met in the 1997 Eastern Conference Final. Philadelphia was coming off a relatively easy five-game series win over the Buffalo Sabres. New York, on the other hand, had just pulled off a big upset, defeating the top team in the East, the New Jersey Devils in five games. The Flyers were looking to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in ten years, while the Rangers were looking to advance to the Cup Finals with help from new additions like Wayne Gretzky, Esa Tikkanen, Russ Courtnall, David Oliver and Mike Eastwood.

New York outshot Philadelphia in game one at the CoreStates Center, 25–21, but the Flyers ended up winning, 3–1. Wayne Gretzky had his second hat trick of the playoffs in Game 2, as the Rangers edged the Flyers 5–4. With the series tied at 1–1, the two teams moved to Madison Square Garden in New York for Games three and four. This time it was the Flyers' Eric Lindros who netted a hat trick, as Philadelphia won 6–3. In Game 4, Lindros broke a 2–2 tie with just seven seconds remaining in regulation. The Flyers won 3–2. They now took a commanding three-games-to-one series lead back home to the CoreStates Center for Game 5 on Sunday, May 25. The Rangers scored twice in 26 seconds in the first period to take a 2–1 lead, but the Flyers scored three unanswered goals and won the game 4–2, and the series four games to one. This game would be the last playoff game that Gretzky would ever play in his career.

NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia
Date Away Home
May 16 NY Rangers 1 3 Philadelphia
May 18 NY Rangers 5 4 Philadelphia
May 20 Philadelphia 6 3 NY Rangers
May 23 Philadelphia 3 2 NY Rangers
May 25 NY Rangers 2 4 Philadelphia
Philadelphia wins series 4–1
and Prince of Wales Trophy

Western Conference Final[]

The Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings met in the 1997 Western Conference Final, in a series rematch of the previous year. The defending Stanley-Cup champion Avalanche had just defeated the Edmonton Oilers in five games while the Red Wings were fresh off a four-game sweep of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Colorado was looking to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second consecutive year and Detroit was hoping to get back to the Finals for the second time in three years. The rivalry between the two teams was as heated as ever, with the events of the March 26th game still fresh in everyone's mind.

The Red Wings played a determined game one at McNichols Arena in Denver. Brendan Shanahan broke a 0–0 tie at 1:13 of the first period to give Detroit a 1–0 lead, but a goal by Joe Sakic just 27 seconds later, and one by Mike Ricci at 6:13 gave Colorado a 2–1 lead that they would not relinquish. Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy made 34 saves in the victory. In game two, Colorado led 2–0 but Detroit pulled to within one on a power-play goal by Igor Larionov at 16:51 of the second period. The Red Wings then went on to score three times in the third period to win 4–2 and tie the series at one game apiece. Patrick Roy made 36 saves in the loss. In game three at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, the Red Wings got two goals from Vyacheslav Kozlov and went on to win 2–1. Detroit won game four as well, 6–0, in an obvious statement to Colorado. Red Wings goaltender Mike Vernon made 19 saves in the shutout and Igor Larionov and Kirk Maltby both scored twice. Detroit now led the series three games to one. Embarrassed and frustrated after such a lopsided loss in game four, Colorado came right back in game five with a 6–0 win of their own. Patrick Roy stopped all 32 shots he faced. Claude Lemieux and Joe Sakic both scored two goals. The Avalanche now trailed in the series three games to two. In game six on Monday, May 26, the Red Wings looked to close out the series. Sergei Fedorov's goal at 6:11 of the third period gave Detroit a 2–0 lead. Scott Young pulled Colorado to within one, on a goal at 14:48, but the Avalanche could not score the equalizer, and Brendan Shanahan sealed the game for Detroit with an empty-net goal at 19:30. The Red Wings won 3–1 and took the series four games to two.

Detroit vs. Colorado
Date Away Home
May 15 Detroit 1 2 Colorado
May 17 Detroit 4 2 Colorado
May 19 Colorado 1 2 Detroit
May 22 Colorado 0 6 Detroit
May 24 Detroit 0 6 Colorado
May 26 Colorado 1 3 Detroit
Detroit wins series 4–2 and
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl

Stanley Cup Final[]

The Detroit Red Wings made their 20th appearance in a Final, first since 1995. The Philadelphia Flyers made their seventh appearance, first since 1987. The Red Wings, who had been swept in their previous appearance, this time swept the Flyers to win their eighth Cup title, and first since 1955.

Detroit vs. Philadelphia
Date Away Home
May 31 Detroit 4 2 Philadelphia
June 3 Detroit 4 2 Philadelphia
June 5 Philadelphia 1 6 Detroit
June 7 Philadelphia 1 2 Detroit
Detroit wins series 4–0
and Stanley Cup
Mike Vernon (Detroit)
wins Conn Smythe Trophy

Preceded by
1996 Stanley Cup playoffs
Stanley Cup Champions Succeeded by
1998 Stanley Cup playoffs

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