Arguably the two greatest dynasties in National Hockey League history will face off the in the 2nd Annual Ultimate NHL Final! The number of Hockey Hall of Famers combined between these teams is off the charts! There will certainly be no shortage of goals in this series with these two explosive offenses. Let’s take a look at how these two teams got here:
The top-seeded ’78-’79 Montreal Canadiens had high expectations after last year’s representative won the inaugural Ultimate NHL Final. This year, they had a First Round bye before they faced the 33rd-seeded ’06-’07 Nashville Predators in the Second Round. They swept their way into the Third Round where this time they swept the 16th-seeded ’02-’03 Dallas Stars, who had upset the reigning runners up in the previous round. In the Quarterfinal, they matched up against a bit of a surprise Quarterfinalist in the 25th-seeded ’83-’84 Washington Capitals. They took the first two games of that series easily before dropping Game 3. After a narrow win in Game 4, they advanced to the Semifinal with a 1-0 win in Game 5. They faced off against the Broad Street Bullies, the 12th-seeded ’74-’75 Philadelphia Flyers, in that Semifinal Round and, again, took the first two games easily. They lost Game 3 and needed an overtime winner in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead before they clinched a spot in the Final with a win in Game 5.
Meanwhile, the 6th-seeded ’84-’85 Edmonton Oilers were pushed to the brink of elimination early! They needed wins in Game 7’s in the Second and Third Rounds to advance to the Quarterfinal. After a bye in the First Round, they defeated the high-scoring 27th-seeded ’82-’83 Minnesota North Stars in seven games in the Second Round. Then, they lit up last year’s UNP Vezina Trophy winner, but needed seven games to defeat the 22nd-seeded ’10-’11 Vancouver Canucks. They faced even more adversity when they lost the first two games of their Quarterfinal matchup against the 3rd-seeded ’07-’08 Detroit Red Wings. However, they took the next four games to move on to the Semifinal where they would face the 15th-seeded ’00-’01 Colorado Avalanche, who upset a Semifinalist from the inaugural UNP last year in the Quarterfinal. After the two teams won the first two games on their home ice in the Semifinal, the Oilers took Game’s 5 and 6 to clinch a spot in the Ultimate NHL Final for the first time.
Now let’s take a look at the stat leaders for each team:
- Goals – Guy Lafleur (25)
- Assists – Guy Lafleur (27)
- Points – Guy Lafleur (52)
- +/- – Guy Lafleur (+29)
- Shots – Guy Lafleur (182)
- GWG – Guy Lafleur (6)
- PIM – Gilles Lupien (39)
- Star Points (3 points for being 1st star of a game, 2 points for being 2nd star of a game, 1 point for being 3rd star of a game) – Guy Lafleur (34)
- G – Ken Dryden – 16-2-0 2.00 GAA .930 SV% 1 SO
- Goals – Wayne Gretzky (35)
- Assists – Paul Coffey (52)
- Points – Paul Coffey/Wayne Gretzky (62)
- +/- – Wayne Gretzky (+26)
- Shots – Paul Coffey (164)
- GWG – Wayne Gretzky (4)
- PIM – Kevin McClelland (37)
- Star Points (3 points for being 1st star of a game, 2 points for being 2nd star of a game, 1 point for being 3rd star of a game) – Wayne Gretzky (30)
- G – Grant Fuhr – 16-6-2 3.54 GAA .904 SV% 1 SO
Game 1 takes place tomorrow night!