2000s: Top 10 NHL Games
Islanders 3, Devils 2 (SO)
On the final Saturday night of the season, in an emotional match between two heritage franchises, the Maple Leafs rallied to beat the Canadiens, ending Montreal's playoff hopes. To earn the last Eastern berth, all Toronto needed the following day was a New Jersey win over a team that was without injured goalie Rick DiPietro. But in the 17th game of his NHL career, third-stringer Wade Dubielewicz, a stumpy, balding Everyman, beat the Devils 3-2 in a shootout to give New York the eighth spot. Woe, Canada. (Top 10 games chosen by SI.com's NHL writers.)
Avalanche 3, Devils 1
The Avs became the first team since the 1971 Canadiens to come back from a 3-2 series deficit and win the Cup, allowing veteran defenseman Ray Bourque to finally lift the chalice after 22 seasons. Young winger Alex Tanguay, 21, scored the first two goals, captain Joe Sakic added a third and playoff MVP Patrick Roy coolly held off the desperate Devils as Colorado dethroned the defending champions.
Red Wings 3, Hurricanes 2 (3 OT)
With the series tied at a game apiece, the star-laden Red Wings had to rally from two deficits to force overtime against a determined underdog. In the first overtime, Detroit's Brendan Shanahan snapped his stick and missed an open net before Nicklas Lidstrom hit the post as Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe dueled with his counterpart, Dominik Hasek. Former Soviet great Igor Larionov, at 41 the NHL's oldest player, finally ended the third-longest game in Stanley Cup finals history with his second goal of the match, at 14:47 of the third extra session.
Lightning 2, Flyers 1
Clinging to a one-goal lead, Nikolai Khabibulin stopped the Flyers' Keith Primeau on a second-period breakaway and the Lightning hung on to win their first Game 7 and advance to their first Stanley Cup finals. Former Flyer Ruslan Fedotenko scored a deflected power-play goal at 16:46 of the first period and Frederik Modin netted the winner at 4:57 of the second.
Flames 3, Canucks 2 (OT)
After blowing a 4-0 lead, the Canucks got a goal from Brendan Morrison in triple OT of Game 6 and returned home for their decisive match. Down 2-1 in the final minute and on a power play with their goalie pulled, the Canucks took a cross-checking penalty and watched as Calgary's Jarome Iginla, who had scored twice, narrowly missed an empty net. Incredibly, Matt Cooke jammed home the tying goal off the rebound of a shot by Markus Naslund with only 5.7 seconds left. But the crowd went home unhappy when Calgary's Martin Gelinas scored 1:25 into OT.
Canucks 5, Stars 4 (4 OT)
Roberto Luongo's 72 saves fell one shy of Kelly Hrudey's playoff record as his Canucks blew a two-goal lead before prevailing in the sixth-longest playoff game in NHL history. After Dallas scored twice in the third period to force overtime, Luongo had to weather a 39-second 5-on-3 power play in the second OT and dodged defeat when the Stars' Stu Barnes hit the crossbar in the final minute. The game went on until Daniel Sedin set up identical twin brother Henrik in the slot for the winner 18:06 into the fourth extra frame.
Avalanche 1, Sharks 0
Patrick Roy was masterful in stopping 27 shots -- 16 of them in the third period -- while the Avs nursed Peter Forsberg's second-period goal, especially during San Jose's two-man advantage in the final 55 seconds. Roy outdueled the Sharks' Evgeni Nabokov, who was almost as spectacular, to extend his NHL career record to 22 playoff shutouts as Colorado completed its climb out of a 3-2 series hole.
Lightning 2, Flames 1
The Lightning held the Flames to a measly seven shots in the first two periods, but had to withstand a wild final stanza to make Ruslan Fedotenko's two goals stand up. Bolts goalie Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 16 shots in the third period, including a dazzler on Jordan Leopold with the net wide open. The Flames got a power-play tally from Craig Conroy midway through the third, but that was it. "We just tried to get through it, and we found a way," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "It's unbelievable. It's a great feeling."
Penguins 2, Red Wings 1
With Sidney Crosby on the bench for all but 32 seconds of the third period after being ridden into the boards by Detroit's Johan Franzen, the Penguins found a way to cap their comeback from series deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 against the defending Stanley Cup champs. Scrappy plugger Max Talbot joined the ranks of unexpected postseason heroes by scoring both Pittsburgh goals, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury secured the silverware with a clutch stop on Nicklas Lidstrom in the final seconds.
Flyers 2, Penguins 1 (5 OT)
This one took seven hours from the time the first puck dropped until Flyers forward Keith Primeau ended the titanic five-overtime match between intrastate rivals. With the players almost in a trance-like state from exhaustion, Primeau drove down the right wing, went backhand to forehand to beat a defender and fired a shot over the shoulder of goalie Ron Tugnutt to end the match after 92:01 of extra play -- more than an additional game and a half.