The 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs for the National Hockey League began on April 7, 2004, following the 2003–04 regular season. The playoffs ended with the Tampa Bay Lightning securing the Stanley Cup with a seven-game series win over the Calgary Flames on June 7. It was Tampa Bay's first Stanley Cup victory. It was the Flames' third final appearance, as they came this far in 1986 and 1989, winning the latter. The sixteen qualified teams, eight from each conference, played best-of-seven games for conference quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The winner of each conference proceeded to the Stanley Cup Finals. The format was identical to the one introduced for the 1999 playoffs.
These playoffs marked the first time the Nashville Predators qualified, being in their seventh season in the NHL. The future champions from Tampa Bay saw playoff action for the third time, while the Colorado Avalanche made their ninth straight post-season appearance.
- 1 Playoff seeds
- 2 Playoff bracket
- 3 Statistical leaders
- 4 First Round
- 4.1 Eastern Conference First Round
- 4.2 Western Conference First Round
- 5 Conference semifinals
- 6 Conference finals
- 7 Stanley Cup finals
- 8 See also
- Tampa Bay Lightning - Southeast Division and Eastern Conference regular season champions, 106 points
- Boston Bruins - Northeast Division champions, 104 points
- Philadelphia Flyers - Atlantic Division champions, 101 points
- Toronto Maple Leafs - 103 points
- Ottawa Senators - 102 points
- New Jersey Devils - 100 points
- Montreal Canadiens - 93 points
- New York Islanders - 91 points
- Detroit Red Wings - Central Division and Western Conference regular season champions; Presidents' Trophy winners, 109 points
- San Jose Sharks - Pacific Division champions, 104 points
- Vancouver Canucks - Northwest Division champions, 101 points
- Colorado Avalanche - 100 points
- Dallas Stars - 97 points
- Calgary Flames - 94 points
- St. Louis Blues - 91 points (39 wins)
- Nashville Predators - 91 points (38 wins)
|Conference Quarterfinals||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|1||Tampa Bay Lightning||4|
|8||New York Islanders||1|
|1||Tampa Bay Lightning||4|
|1||Tampa Bay Lightning||4|
|6||New Jersey Devils||1|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||2|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|E1||Tampa Bay Lightning||4|
|1||Detroit Red Wings||4|
|1||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|2||San Jose Sharks||4|
|7||St. Louis Blues||1|
|2||San Jose Sharks||2|
|2||San Jose Sharks||4|
GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus/Minus; PIM = Penalty Minutes
|Brad Richards||Tampa Bay Lightning||23||12||14||26||+5||4|
|Martin St. Louis||Tampa Bay Lightning||23||9||15||24||+6||14|
|Jarome Iginla||Calgary Flames||26||13||9||22||+13||45|
|Fredrik Modin||Tampa Bay Lightning||23||8||11||19||+7||10|
|Craig Conroy||Calgary Flames||26||6||11||17||+12||12|
|Vincent Lecavalier||Tampa Bay Lightning||23||9||7||16||–2||25|
|Keith Primeau||Philadelphia Flyers||18||9||7||16||+11||22|
|Martin Gelinas||Calgary Flames||26||8||7||15||+10||35|
|Ruslan Fedotenko||Tampa Bay Lightning||22||12||2||14||0||14|
|Vincent Damphousse||San Jose Sharks||17||7||7||14||0||20|
|Alexei Zhamnov||Philadelphia Flyers||18||4||10||14||–1||8|
|David Andreychuk||Tampa Bay Lightning||23||1||13||14||–2||14|
GP = Games Played; W = Wins; L = Losses; SA = Shots Against; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes:seconds); Sv% = Save Percentage; SO = Shutouts
|Curtis Joseph||Detroit Red Wings||9||4||4||197||12||1.39||517:34||.939||1|
|Tomas Vokoun||Nashville Predators||6||2||4||197||12||2.02||355:44||.939||1|
|Evgeni Nabokov||San Jose Sharks||17||10||7||461||30||1.71||1052:15||.935||3|
|Nikolai Khabibulin||Tampa Bay Lightning||23||16||7||598||40||1.71||1400:30||.933||5|
|Ed Belfour||Toronto Maple Leafs||13||6||7||379||27||2.09||773:47||.929||3|
|Miikka Kiprusoff||Calgary Flames||26||15||11||710||51||1.85||1655:00||.928||5|
|Patrick Lalime||Ottawa Senators||7||3||4||139||13||1.96||398:22||.906||0|
Eastern Conference First Round
(1) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (8) New York Islanders
In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning had won the Southeast Division. They entered these playoffs with high hopes that they could win their first ever Stanley Cup. For the Isles, it was a struggle just to make the post season.
The highly favoured Lightning met up with the Islanders who, under rookie head coach Steve Stirling, had a respectable 91 points. Good enough for eighth spot in the conference. The Lightning led the Southeast Division for the whole year, finishing with their highest point total ever. Martin St. Louis finished with his best season. He led the league in scoring with 94 points. The Islanders won the season series 3–1, and it was thought that this might be a tough task for the Lightning.
Games 1 and 2, at St. Pete Times Forum in St. Petersburg, saw goalies Nikolai Khabibulin of the Lightning and Rick DiPietro of the Islanders trade 3–0 shutouts, with Tampa Bay winning Game 1 and New York winning Game 2.
The series turned to Nassau Coliseum in New York for Games 3 and 4, and Khabibulin all but put up a wall in front of the net: the Lightning won both games 3–0, Khabibulin's GAA for the series was a tidy 0.75 through the first four games, and Khabibulin stopped all 61 shots he saw in New York. Back in Florida for Game 5, Khabibulin allowed his first goals in three games, but Martin St. Louis scored the game-winner four minutes into overtime. For the Islanders, this was the second straight season they had lost in the first round after splitting the first two games on the road.
|Game-by-game||Score||TB goals||NYI goals|
|1||April 8||at Lightning 3, Islanders 0||Modin 2, Roy||none (Khabibulin shutout)|
|2||April 10||Islanders 3, at Lightning 0||none (DiPietro shutout)||Blake 2, Niinimaa|
|3||April 12||Lightning 3, at Islanders 0||St. Louis 2, Richards||none (Khabibulin shutout)|
|4||April 14||Lightning 3, at Islanders 0||Fedotenko, Modin, St. Louis||none (Khabibulin shutout)|
|5||April 16||4:07, OT||at Lightning 3, Islanders 2||Fedotenko, St. Louis, Taylor||Kvasha, Parrish|
|Lightning win series 4–1|
(2) Boston Bruins vs. (7) Montreal Canadiens
In 2002, the top seeded Bruins were upset by the lower seeded Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. It was a humiliating defeat. This series featured the same result, as the Bruins were once again upset by the lower seeded Canadiens.
The Bruins recent history was marked by playoff collapses. They beat the Hurricanes in 1999, but since then had not won a playoff series. To change their luck, Mike Sullivan was hired to be the coach, and he led his team to a division title. They had relied on the stellar play of goaltender Andrew Raycroft all season. For the Canadiens, the playoffs were long overdue. They had only made the playoffs 3 times in last 7 seasons. The two teams had the same amount of wins (41) during the season, and Habs coach Claude Julien told his team to remember that his team was not very different from the Bruins.
Games 1 and 2 at FleetCenter in Boston saw the Bruins win two low-scoring games, winning Game 1, 3–0, behind a 31-save shutout from goalie Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft was almost as good in Game 2, allowing one goal, but Boston won the game anyway, 2–1.
Down 2–0 in the series, but home at the Bell Centre, Montreal won Game 3, 3–2. But, the Canadiens were pushed to the brink with a painful double-overtime 4–3 loss in Game 4. Montreal was in trouble. If they were to advance, they had to win the next three games before losing one, and two of the three games were in Boston.
The Canadiens bounced back from the double-overtime loss with a 5–1 Game 5 victory, scoring three third-period goals to break open a close game. Energized by home-ice advantage and their temporary staving off of elimination, Montreal forced a Game 7 with a 5–2 Game 6 victory. Montreal completed the stunning comeback with a 2–0 victory in Game 7 in Boston, as goalie Jose Theodore went a perfect 32-for-32 in save attempts.
"We had a lead in this series and left it to chance in Game Seven, and that's what happened," rookie goaltender Andrew Raycroft said. "We had just has much a chance as they did. It's just disappointing."
"I thought we played extremely hard tonight and played a great hockey game," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan added. "We certainly had our chances to score goals and I thought we deserved a better fate, but that's the nature of sports."
For the Bruins, it meant another playoff disappointment. They would miss the playoffs in 2006. As for the Canadiens, they would move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, where they were swept in 4 games.
|Game-by-game||Score||BOS goals||MTL goals|
|1||April 7||at Bruins 3, Canadiens 0||Gonchar, Knuble, Nylander||none (Raycroft shutout)|
|2||April 9||at Bruins 2, Canadiens 1||Bergeron, Nylander||Brisebois|
|3||April 11||at Canadiens 3, Bruins 2||Hilbert, Rolston||Kovalev 2, Markov|
|4||April 13||9:27, 2OT||Bruins 4, at Canadiens 3||Knuble, Murray, Nylander, Slegr||Ribeiro 2, Kovalev|
|5||April 15||Canadiens 5, at Bruins 1||Murray||Koivu, Kovalev, Perreault, |
|6||April 17||at Canadiens 5, Bruins 2||Samsonov 2||Bulis, Koivu, Kovalev, |
|7||April 19||Canadiens 2, at Bruins 0||none (Theodore shutout)||Zednik 2|
|Canadiens win series 4–3|
(3) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (6) New Jersey Devils
Game 1 of the series at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia saw the Flyers win, 3–2. Game 2 saw another well-played, close game, with Philadelphia again winning, 3–2. Game 3 at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey saw the first game of the series not decided by one goal, a 4–2 Devils victory. With a chance to tie the series heading back to Philadelphia, the New Jersey attack was completely stonewalled by Flyers goalie Robert Esche in a 3–0 shutout victory for the Flyers. Esche had 35 saves. Back in Philadelphia for Game 5, the Flyers finished off the Devils with a 3–1 victory.
|Game-by-game||Score||PHI goals||NJD goals|
|1||April 8||at Flyers 3, Devils 2||Gagne, Primeau, Roenick||Elias, Hrdina|
|2||April 10||at Flyers 3, Devils 2||Recchi, Timander, Zhamnov||Gionta, Hrdina|
|3||April 12||at Devils 4, Flyers 2||Amonte, Roenick||Elias 2, Gionta, Martin|
|4||April 14||Flyers 3, at Devils 0||Johnsson, Primeau, Zhamnov||none (Esche shutout)|
|5||April 17||at Flyers 3, Devils 1||Kapanen, Markov, Zhamnov||Niedermayer|
|Flyers win series 4–1|
(4) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (5) Ottawa Senators
The 4–5 matchup in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals was billed as the Battle of Ontario. The Senators would have had home ice advantage, however on the final day of the regular season, the Maple Leafs routed Ottawa 6–0. Therefore giving the Leafs the higher seeding. Game 1, at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, saw Ottawa pull out a 4–2 victory. Needing a victory to avoid going down two games to Ottawa, the Maple Leafs came through with 2–0 win on the strength of a 31-save shutout by Ed Belfour.
Game 3 of the series shifted venue to Ottawa's Corel Centre, but the teams shouldn't have bothered playing the game if they wanted a different result: Toronto again won, 2–0, behind another Belfour shutout, and this time Belfour stopped 37 shots. Ottawa finally broke through the wall Belfour had put up in net, winning Game 4, 4–1.
With the series back in Toronto for a crucial Game 5, Belfour posted his third shutout of the series in yet another 2–0 Toronto victory. A clear indication of the strength of the Toronto defense, and the Senators bleak offense. With a chance to knock out the Senators on the road in Game 6, Ottawa won, 2–1, double-overtime victory. The series went back to Toronto for the third time, this time for a Game 7. Toronto relied on what brought them the first three victories of the series: goalie Belfour, who all but denied Ottawa's offense in a 4–1, series-clinching win. Lalime gave up 2 questionable goals by Joe Nieuwendyk before being pulled after the first period and replaced by backup Martin Prusek by head coach Jacques Martin.
|Game-by-game||Score||TOR goals||OTT goals|
|1||April 8||Senators 4, at Maple Leafs 2||McCabe, Nieuwendyk||Hossa 2, Redden, Smolinski|
|2||April 10||at Maple Leafs 2, Senators 0||Roberts 2||none (Belfour shutout)|
|3||April 12||Maple Leafs 2, at Senators 0||Nieuwendyk, Sundin||none (Belfour shutout)|
|4||April 14||at Senators 4, Maple Leafs 1||Roberts||Alfredsson, Hossa, |
|5||April 16||at Maple Leafs 2, Senators 0||Domi, Nieuwendyk||none (Belfour shutout)|
|6||April 18||1:47, 2OT||at Senators 2, Maple Leafs 1||McCabe||Chara, Fisher|
|7||April 20||at Maple Leafs 4, Senators 1||Nieuwendyk 2, Kilger, McCabe||Varada|
|Maple Leafs win series 4–3|
Western Conference First Round
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Nashville Predators
At Detroit's Joe Louis Arena for Game 1, the Red Wings shook off a slow start and got goals from Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom and Robert Lang and posted a 3–1 victory. Game 2 saw a closer game, but Detroit still won the game, 2–1 on Mathieu Schneider's game winning goal.
However, at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center for Games 3 and 4, Nashville made it a series by taking both games, tying the series 2–2 headed back to Detroit. After a 3–1 Game 3 victory, Nashville one-upped themselves with a 3–0 Game 4 victory as goalie Tomas Vokoun posted a 37-save shutout. Game 4 also saw Detroit goalie Manny Legace being yanked in favor of Curtis Joseph.
Back in Detroit for Game 5, Joseph got the start in goal for the Red Wings, and the decision paid off: the Red Wings dominated the Predators, winning 4–1. When the series returned to Nashville for Game 6, Joseph shut out the Predators to end their season in a 2–0 victory. It was a relatively easy victory for Joseph, as the Red Wings defense allowed only 15 Predator shots on goal.
|Game-by-game||Score||DET goals||NSH goals|
|1||April 7||at Red Wings 3, Predators 1||Draper, Holmstrom, Lang||Hall|
|2||April 10||at Red Wings 2, Predators 1||Lang, Schneider||Orszagh|
|3||April 11||at Predators 3, Red Wings 1||Hull||Hall, Hartnell, Legwand|
|4||April 13||at Predators 3, Red Wings 0||none (Vokoun shutout)||Johnson, Orszagh, Sullivan|
|5||April 15||at Red Wings 4, Predators 1||Hull, Lidstrom,
|6||April 17||Red Wings 2, at Predators 0||Whitney, Yzerman||none (Joseph shutout)|
|Red Wings win series 4–2|
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) St. Louis Blues
The Sharks had made the playoffs for the first time since missing them the previous season. For the Blues, it was a struggle just to make the post season. They fired coach Joel Quenneville at the risk of missing the playoffs for the first time in half a century. Assistant coach Mike Kitchen was promoted to interim coach, and under him the Blues posted a 10–7–4 record, good enough for a playoff berth.
Game 1 of the series at San Jose's HP Pavilion saw a defensive battle, with San Jose winning the game, 1–0, on the strength of a 26-save shutout from Evgeni Nabokov. Chris Osgood was equally strong in net for the Blues, but allowed a goal to Niko Dimitrakos in the first overtime. Nabokov gave up only one goal in Game 2, a 3–1 Sharks victory highlighted by Patrick Marleau's hat trick. "I don't think they really gave the players a chance to play in Game 2, and it kind of threw us off balance right from the start of the game," St. Louis coach Mike Kitchen said. "Some calls we deserved, and some calls weren't strong calls on the referees' part."
In St. Louis at the Savvis Center for Game 3, the Blues used home-ice advantage to post a 4–1 victory and half their series deficit, getting a hat trick from Mike Sillinger. The next night, in Game 4, saw a back-and-forth game that ultimately went to San Jose, 4–3. With a chance to knock out the Blues at home in Game 5, they did just that, winning the game 3–1.
On a more serious note, shortly after the series, St. Louis left wing Mike Danton, who scored one goal in the series, was arrested, charged, and convicted in a conspiracy to murder his agent, David Frost.
|Game-by-game||Score||SJ goals||STL goals|
|1||April 8||9:16, OT||at Sharks 1, Blues 0||Dimitrakos||none (Nabokov shutout)|
|2||April 10||at Sharks 3, Blues 1||Marleau 3||Weight|
|3||April 12||at Blues 4, Sharks 1||Cheechoo||Sillinger 3, Drake|
|4||April 13||Sharks 4, at Blues 3||Korolyuk 2, Thornton 2||Danton, Demitra, Weight|
|5||April 15||at Sharks 3, Blues 1||Ricci, Smith, Stuart||Savage|
|Sharks win series 4–1|
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Calgary Flames
The Canucks had won the division, and were riding a current 6 game winning streak. Dan Cloutier served as the starting goalie, and faired pretty well during the season. The Flames had used a run of 10–2–2 in the month of December, to make the playoffs for the first time since 1996.
The second all-Canada first round series (#4 Toronto defeated #5 Ottawa, 4–3 in the Eastern Conference) began at GM Place in Vancouver. The goals were easy to come by, but Vancouver scored more in a 5–3 Game 1 victory. Both defenses tightened considerably in Game 2, a 2–1 Calgary victory that tied the series headed to the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary.
Game 3 saw another 2–1 game, but this time Vancouver prevailed. However, during the game, Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier was injured making a save, and backup Johan Hedberg took over. Game 4 saw Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and the Flames defense pick a good time to play well, with Kiprusoff stopping all 20 shots he faced in a 4–0 victory that tied the series, 2–2. After Hedberg's subpar performance in Game 4, he was replaced in the net by Alexander Auld, the third goalie in as many games for the Canucks.
Game 5, back in Vancouver, saw Calgary push the Canucks to the brink with a 2–1 victory. With elimination staring Vancouver in the face, the Canucks and Flames engaged in an all-out battle in Game 6 that saw Vancouver storm out to a 4–0 lead only to see the Flames come back to tie it. The game didn't end until triple-overtime, when Brendan Morrison scored 2:28 into the period in a 5–4 Vancouver victory. That set up a thrilling Game 7 in Vancouver with the winner getting bragging rights for western Canada. Matt Cooke scored twice for the Canucks, including a game tying goal off a desperation rush with five seconds left in regulation. Calgary won the game in overtime, 3–2, with Martin Gelinas scoring the game-winner 85 seconds into overtime.
In a bizarre fact, the last three times these teams have met in the playoffs, the series was a first round match-up, went the maximum seven games with Game 7 being decided in overtime each time, and the winning team would eventually go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
|Game-by-game||Score||VAN goals||CGY goals|
|1||April 7||at Canucks 5, Flames 3||Morrison, Ohlund, Rucinsky,
Salo, H. Sedin
|Oliwa, Saprykin, Simon|
|2||April 9||Flames 2, at Canucks 1||Naslund||Iginla, Lombardi|
|3||April 11||Canucks 2, at Flames 1||Cooke, Naslund||Simon|
|4||April 13||at Flames 4, Canucks 0||none (Kiprusoff shutout)||Clark, Donovan, Iginla, Yelle|
|5||April 15||Flames 2, at Canucks 1||H. Sedin||Conroy, Iginla|
|6||April 17||2:28, 3OT||Canucks 5, at Flames 4||May, Morrison, Ruutu,
Sanderson, D. Sedin
|Clark, Gelinas, |
|7||April 19||1:25, OT||Flames 3, at Canucks 2||Cooke 2||Iginla 2, Gelinas|
|Flames win series 4–3|
(4) Colorado Avalanche vs. (5) Dallas Stars
At home at the American Airlines Center and in danger of falling behind 3–0 in the series, Dallas bounced back with a crucial victory in overtime, 4–3, to climb back into the series. After the first 80 minutes of Game 4 failed to produce a winner, Dallas stood a chance at winning the game, tying the series, and guaranteeing at least one more game at home. But Marek Svatos won the game for the Avalanche 5:18 into the second overtime to break Dallas' back.
Back in Colorado for Game 5, Dallas kept it close until the third period, when Colorado broke the game wide open with three goals to extend a 2–1 lead to 5–1 to clinch the series.
|Game-by-game||Score||COL goals||DAL goals|
|1||April 7||at Avalanche 3, Stars 1||Forsberg, Sakic, Tanguay||Kapanen|
|2||April 9||at Avalanche 5, Stars 2||Forsberg, Hinote, Konowalchuk,
|3||April 12||2:11, OT||at Stars 4, Avalanche 3||Hahl, Hejduk, Konowalchuk||Arnott, Boucher, Ott, Young|
|4||April 14||5:18, 2OT||Avalanche 3, at Stars 2||Hejduk, Sakic, Svatos||Turgeon, Zubov|
|5||April 17||at Avalanche 5, Stars 1||Forsberg, Hejduk, Hendrickson,
|Avalanche win series 4–1|
Eastern Conference semifinals
(1) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (7) Montreal Canadiens
This series pitted the top-seeded Lightning, who had hastily eliminated the Islanders in the first round, against the Canadiens, who were riding an emotional high after their thrilling comeback seven-game series victory against the Boston Bruins.
Game 1, at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum, saw a not-so-rare occurrence for the Lightning: a shutout by goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, his fourth of the postseason out of six games he played in. Khabibulin turned away all 21 shots he saw in the 4–0 victory, with the 21 shots being an indicator of the strong Lightning defense. Game 1 also saw Montreal goalie Jose Theodore, who had shut out Boston in Game 7 of the Quarterfinals, get pulled in favor of Mathieu Garon, who went 6-for-6 during his brief stint in goal. Game 2 saw Theodore return to goal for Montreal, but the Canadiens still lost the game by a score of 3–1.
Game 3 saw Khabibulin give up three goals for the first time in five games. In fact, in the five games since his last loss, he had allowed a combined total of three goals. But despite the letdown, Tampa found a way to win the game 65 seconds into overtime, 4–3. The demoralizing defeat stung Montreal, and they were swept without resisting in a 3–1 Game 4 loss.
|Game-by-game||Score||TB goals||MTL goals|
|1||April 23||at Lightning 4, Canadiens 0||Lecavalier 2, Afanasenkov,
|none (Khabibulin shutout)|
|2||April 25||at Lightning 3, Canadiens 1||Lecavalier 2, Modin||Koivu|
|3||April 27||1:05, OT||Lightning 4, at Canadiens 3||Richards 2, Lecavalier, Stillman||Brisebois, Kovalev, Ryder|
|4||April 29||Lightning 3, at Canadiens 1||Boyle, Modin, Richards||Sundstrom|
|Lightning win series 4–0|
(3) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (4) Toronto Maple Leafs
This series pitted two Eastern Conference rivals that were evenly matched; Toronto had 103 points and Philadelphia 101, but Philadelphia had knocked off their first-round opponent quicker than Toronto; Philadelphia knocked out New Jersey in five games while it took Toronto all seven games to eliminate Ottawa.
Game 1, at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, saw a closely-played game that ultimately went to the Flyers, 3–1. Game 2 was even closer, but Philadelphia's defense held firm in a 2–1 victory that put them up in the series, 2–0.
However, the shift in venue to Air Canada Centre certainly fired up the Maple Leafs, as they used three second-period goals to help out in a 4–1 Game 3 victory. Home-ice advantage continued to be a factor in Game 4, a 3–1 Toronto victory.
The series went back to Philadelphia for Game 5, and Philadelphia scored a postseason-high seven goals in a 7–2 victory, knocking out Toronto goalie Ed Belfour after the sixth goal in favor of Trevor Kidd in the process. Overlooked during the scoring barrage was a goalie to Philadelphia goalie Robert Esche, who was knocked out early and replaced by Sean Burke, who went 8-for-9 in goal; Toronto only took 11 shots during the whole game. Philadelphia's Keith Primeau logged a hat trick to add to the positive for the Flyers. Game 6, back in Toronto, saw Toronto rally from a 2–0 third-period deficit to force overtime, but Jeremy Roenick's second goal of the game ended the Maple Leafs' season.
|Game-by-game||Score||PHI goals||TOR goals|
|1||April 22||at Flyers 3, Maple Leafs 1||Amonte, Gagne, Ragnarsson||Mogilny|
|2||April 25||at Flyers 2, Maple Leafs 1||Brashear, Zhamnov||Domi|
|3||April 28||at Maple Leafs 4, Flyers 1||Amonte||Kilger, Mogilny, |
|4||April 30||at Maple Leafs 3, Flyers 1||Gagne||Sundin 2, Tucker|
|5||May 2||at Flyers 7, Maple Leafs 2||Primeau 3, Handzus 2,
|6||May 4||7:39, OT||Flyers 3, at Maple Leafs 2||Roenick 2, Somik||Pilar, Sundin|
|Flyers win series 4–2|
Western Conference semifinals
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Calgary Flames
This series pitted the top-seeded Red Wings, who were heavily favored, against the Flames, who had knocked out their intracountry rival, Vancouver, in an emotional seven-game series.
Game 1, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, saw the Flames stay with the Red Wings for every step of the way, and then in overtime, Marcus Nilson scored the game-winning goal 2:39 in. Stunned by the Game 1 loss, the Red Wings, hoping to avoid going down 2–0 in the series going to Calgary, bounced back with a 5–2 Game 2 victory.
At the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary for Game 3, Calgary used three second-period goals to register a 3–2 victory and take a 2–1 lead in the series. But Detroit again showed the ability to bounce back after a close loss, taking Game 4, 4–2.
The series shifted back to Detroit for Game 5, when Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff picked an opportune time to shut out an opponent: his 31-save shutout in a 1–0 victory pushed Detroit to the brink, with Game 6 in Calgary. Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph also played well, but the difference in the game was a goal by Craig Conroy. During the second period, a shot by Red Wings defensman Mathieu Schneider deflected off a stick and struck Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman in the left eye. Joe Louis Arena fell silent while Yzerman was attended to for several minutes and then helped off the ice, holding a towel to his face. Yzerman would not return to the series.
At the Saddledome for Game 6, Kiprusoff again refused to budge, allowing nothing in regulation, but so did Joseph. It was now sudden-death for Detroit, and with 47 seconds left in the first overtime, Martin Gelinas beat Joseph set up by assists from Conroy and Jarome Iginla, and Calgary won their second straight 1–0 game, and their second straight overtime victory to clinch a series. Kiprusoff's 38-save shutout in Game 6 meant that he had stopped the final 69 shots he saw in the series.
|Game-by-game||Score||DET goals||CGY goals|
|1||April 22||2:39, OT||Flames 2, at Red Wings 1||Lang||Nilson, Regehr|
|2||April 24||at Red Wings 5, Flames 2||Yzerman 2, Holmstrom,
|3||April 27||at Flames 3, Red Wings 2||Fischer, Lang||Donovan, Iginla, Yelle|
|4||April 29||Red Wings 4, at Flames 2||Dandenault, Devereaux,
|5||May 1||Flames 1, at Red Wings 0||none (Kiprusoff shutout)||Conroy|
|6||May 3||19:13, OT||at Flames 1, Red Wings 0||none (Kiprusoff shutout)||Gelinas|
|Flames win series 4–2|
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (4) Colorado Avalanche
This series pitted two opponents who defeated their first-round opponents, St. Louis and Dallas, respectively, in five games, with each team winning the first two, losing the third game, and then winning the next two.
Game 1 took place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The Sharks came flying out of the gate, scoring three first-period goals en route to a 5–2 victory highlighted by Patrick Marleau's hat trick, his second of the postseason. After giving up the fifth and final Sharks goal, Colorado goalie David Aebischer was pulled in favor of Tommy Salo, who went 7-for-7 in saves. Game 2 was more of the same: San Jose continued to shell Aebischer while goalie Evgeni Nabokov limited the Avalanche attack in a 4–1 victory.
The shift in venue to Colorado's Pepsi Center for Game 3, and San Jose's attack was limited to only one goal, scored by Vincent Damphousse, but Nabokov was brilliant between the pipes, stopping all 33 shots that he faced in the 1–0 victory to push Colorado to the brink. Down 3–0 in the series, Colorado extended their season for at least another game with a 1–0 overtime victory in Game 4 as Aebischer rebounded from his poor play in Games 1 and 2 with a 27-save shutout, and the game's lone goal was scored by Joe Sakic 5:15 into overtime.
When the series returned to San Jose for Game 5 and posted another overtime victory on another game-winning goal by Sakic, this time by a 2–1 count, people began to wonder: with Game 6 in Colorado, could Colorado rebound from a 3–0 hole to force a Game 7? Fortunately for Sharks fans, this did not happen, as San Jose won Game 6 in Colorado, 3–1, and eliminate the Avalanche. San Jose's strong second period, in which they scored three goals, was the difference.
|Game-by-game||Score||SJ goals||COL goals|
|1||April 22||at Sharks 5, Avalanche 2||Marleau 3, Damphousse, Hannan||Forsberg, Konowalchuk|
|2||April 24||at Sharks 4, Avalanche 1||Cheechoo, Damphousse,
|3||April 26||Sharks 1, at Avalanche 0||Damphousse||none (Nabokov shutout)|
|4||April 28||5:15, OT||at Avalanche 1, Sharks 0||none (Aebischer shutout)||Sakic|
|5||May 1||1:54, OT||Avalanche 2, at Sharks 1||Damphousse||Sakic 2|
|6||May 4||Sharks 3, at Avalanche 1||Cheechoo, Damphousse, Goc||Hejduk|
|Sharks win series 4–2|
Eastern Conference finals
(1) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (3) Philadelphia Flyers
The Eastern Conference Finals pitted the Lightning, 8–1 in the postseason up to that point, against the third-seeded Flyers, who had just defeated Toronto in a six-game series.
Game 1, at St. Pete Times Forum, saw Philadelphia take only 20 shots on goal, a sign of the strong Tampa Bay defense. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, all but impenetrable in the first two rounds, stopped 19 of those 20 shots, the only miss being a Michal Handzus goal in a 3–1 Lightning win. However, Game 2 saw a stunning turn of events: Khabibulin was shelled in goal, only seeing 12 shots and getting yanked after giving up four goals in a 6–2 Flyers victory. Backup goalie John Grahame went 15-for-17 in relief of Khabibulin, and the series was tied, 1–1, going to Philadelphia.
Game 3 at the Wachovia Center saw Khabibulin return to his dominant form in net, which was bad news for the Flyers, as Khabibulin stopped 24 out of 25 shots, the only miss being a Keith Primeau goal in a 4–1 Lightning win. Game 4 saw the Flyers pull even with a critical 3–2 victory that tied the series headed back to Tampa Bay.
Back in Tampa Bay for a critical Game 5, the Lightning used home-ice advantage in a 4–2 victory, and they were now one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals. Brad Richards' two goals marked the first time all series a player had scored more than one goal in a game. Philadelphia's backs were against the wall in this critical Game 6, but they had home-ice advantage. Trailing 4-3 in the third period, Keith Primeau continued his impressive playoff performance by tying the game with under 2 minutes remaining, beating Khabibulin on a wraparound and sending the Wachovia Center into a frenzy. The Flyers won the game in overtime, 5–4, on a Simon Gagne goal 18:18 in, his second of the game and his first two goals of the series. The series was going back to Tampa Bay for a Game 7, and both defenses were strong, but Tampa Bay had a little bit more, winning the game, 2–1, and moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals.
|Game-by-game||Score||TB goals||PHI goals|
|1||May 8||at Lightning 3, Flyers 1||Andreychuk, Dingman, Richards||Handzus|
|2||May 10||Flyers 6, at Lightning 2||Fedotenko, St. Louis||Handzus, Kapanen, LeClair, |
Malakhov, Recchi, Timander
|3||May 13||Lightning 4, at Flyers 1||Fedotenko, Lecavalier,
|4||May 15||at Flyers 3, Lightning 2||Lecavalier, Modin||LeClair, Primeau, Recchi|
|5||May 18||at Lightning 4, Flyers 2||Richards 2, Fedotenko, Taylor||Greig, Handzus|
|6||May 20||18:18, OT||at Flyers 5, Lightning 4||Fedotenko 2, Lecavalier 2||Gagne 2, Primeau 2, Kapanen|
|7||May 22||at Lightning 2, Flyers 1||Fedotenko, Modin||Johnsson|
|Lightning win series 4–3|
Western Conference finals
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (6) Calgary Flames
The Western Conference Finals pitted the second-seeded Sharks against the sixth-seeded Flames, who had upset both Vancouver and Detroit en route to this series against San Jose.
Game 1, at San Jose's HP Pavilion, saw the Flames win the game 18:43 into overtime, 4–3, on a Steve Montador goal, his first of the postseason. In Game 2, Calgary came charging out of the gate, scoring two first-period goals and never looking back in a 4–1 victory. The Sharks were in trouble: they were down in the series, 2–0, headed to Calgary.
Game 3, at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, saw San Jose come through when they needed to: goalie Evgeni Nabokov posted a 34-save shutout and Alex Korolyuk scored two goals in a 3–0 Sharks win. Game 4 saw the unusual trend of the away team playing well in the series, as San Jose tied the series, 2–2, with a 4–2 victory. San Jose's attack came quick and hard with four second-period goals. After San Jose's fourth goal, Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled in favor of Roman Turek, who went 3-for-3 between the pipes.
The series went to San Jose for Game 5, and the road team continued to play well, with Kiprusoff bouncing back from his Game 4 shelling, getting help from his defense as well, as he stopped all 19 shots he faced in a 3–0 Flames win that pushed San Jose to the brink. The series returned to Calgary for Game 6, and for the first time all series, the home team won, a 3–1 Calgary victory that propelled the underdog Flames into the Stanley Cup Finals. This marked the first time since Vancouver lost in 1994 that a Canadian team reached the finals.
|Game-by-game||Score||SJ goals||CGY goals|
|1||May 9||18:43, OT||Flames 4, at Sharks 3||Harvey, Korolyuk, Ricci||Conroy 2, Montador, Oliwa|
|2||May 11||Flames 4, at Sharks 1||McCauley||Donovan, Iginla, |
|3||May 13||Sharks 3, at Flames 0||Korolyuk 2, Damphousse||none (Nabokov shutout)|
|4||May 16||Sharks 4, at Flames 2||Cheechoo, Damphousse,
|5||May 17||Flames 3, at Sharks 0||none (Kiprusoff shutout)||Conroy, Iginla, Nilson|
|6||May 19||at Flames 3, Sharks 1||McCauley||Gelinas, Iginla, Regehr|
|Flames win series 4–2|
Stanley Cup finals
(E1) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (W6) Calgary Flames
The 2004 Stanley Cup Finals pitted the team with the second-most points, the Tampa Bay Lightning, against a team that barely made the playoffs, three points from the bottom of the playoff qualifiers, the Calgary Flames.
Tampa Bay had cruised through the first two rounds against the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens before running into stiff competition from the Philadelphia Flyers, who they nevertheless defeated in seven games. Calgary had beaten the Western Conference's top three seeded teams, the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, and the San Jose Sharks, in that order.
Game 1, at St. Pete Times Forum, saw the Flames win the game, 4–1. Calgary only got 19 shots off against the Lightning defense, but more than one-fifth found the net. Martin Gelinas got Calgary on the board early, and they extended the lead to 3–0 in the second period on goals by Jarome Iginla, his 11th of the postseason, and Stephane Yelle. Chris Simon added the fourth and final Calgary goal after Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis scored the lone Lightning goal.
Game 2 saw the same final score, but this time, it was Tampa Bay winning a clutch game to tie the series, 1–1, headed to Calgary. Ruslan Fedotenko's 10th goal of the postseason got the Lightning on the board first, and Tampa Bay used three third-period goals, coming from Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, and St. Louis, respectively, to blast the game open. The lone Calgary goal was scored by Ville Nieminen.
The series shifted to the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, where Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary defense completely stonewalled the Tampa Bay attack, which only took 21 shots in a 3–0 Flames victory, and Calgary was halfway home. Simon scored the first Calgary goal in the second period, and Shean Donovan and Iginla added goals to ice the game.
With a chance to take a commanding 3–1 series lead, Calgary was shut out by Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who recorded his fifth shutout of the postseason, a 29-save shutout, in a 1–0 Tampa Bay victory, with the game's lone goal being scored by Richards three minutes into the game.
The series returned to Tampa Bay tied, 2–2, for a critical Game 5, and Calgary pulled off a 3–2 overtime victory to move within one win away from the Stanley Cup. After Gelinas and St. Louis traded goals in the first period, Iginla scored for Calgary late in the second period. However, Fredrik Modin tied the game for the Lightning 37 seconds into the third period. The 2–2 score held until after 14:40 had gone by in overtime, when Oleg Saprykin's first goal since the first round won the game for the Flames.
Back to Calgary for Game 6, each team scored two second-period goals, with Richards scoring two for the Lightning and Chris Clark and Marcus Nilson for the Flames, respectively. In the third period, there was a dispute over a Martin Gelinas shot that appeared to have gone in. A review from one unorthodox camera angle showed the puck would appear to have crossed the goal line before Khabibulin's pad dragged it out, though another camera did show the puck had been knocked several inches above the goal line in front of Khabibulin's pad. Although it never was reviewed, it was officially inconclusive. The game entered overtime with the Flames needing only a single goal to win the Stanley Cup. Thirty-three seconds into double overtime, St. Louis put in the game-winner for the Lightning to force a winner-take-all Game 7 in Tampa Bay.
In a tense Game 7, Fedotenko scored goals for Tampa Bay late in the first period and late in the second period for a 2–0 lead. After Conroy scored to narrow the deficit to 2–1, Calgary barraged Khabibulin after taking only seven shots in the first two periods. After the Conroy goal, Khabibulin stopped 16 Calgary shots. Tampa Bay won the game, 2–1, and the Stanley Cup.
|Game-by-game||Score||TB goals||CGY goals|
|1||May 25||Flames 4, at Lightning 1||St. Louis||Gelinas, Iginla, Simon, Yelle|
|2||May 27||at Lightning 4, Flames 1||Boyle, Fedotenko,
Richards, St. Louis
|3||May 29||at Flames 3, Lightning 0||none (Kiprusoff shutout)||Donovan, Iginla, Simon|
|4||May 31||Lightning 1, at Flames 0||Richards||none (Khabibulin shutout)|
|5||June 3||14:48, OT||Flames 3, at Lightning 2||Modin, St. Louis||Gelinas, Iginla, Saprykin|
|6||June 5||0:33, 2OT||Lightning 3, at Flames 2||Richards 2, St. Louis||Clark, Nilson|
|7||June 7||at Lightning 2, Flames 1||Fedotenko 2||Conroy|
|Lightning win series 4–3|
2003 Stanley Cup playoffs
|Stanley Cup Champions||Succeeded by|
2006 Stanley Cup playoffs
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