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On This Date in Sports May 15, 1990: The Hot Goalie

in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

 The Stanley Cup Finals between the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins begin with the longest game in the history of the final round. With Bill Ranford making a series stealing performance with 50 saves, the Oilers take the opener at Boston Garden 3-2 as Petr Kilma scores at 15:13 of triple overtime. Edmonton would go on to win the fifth Stanley Cup in seven years, beating the Bruins in five games.

After Wayne Gretzky was traded in 1988, it was assumed that the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty was over. They had won the Stanley Cup four times in five years, culminating with a near sweep of the Boston Bruins. The Oilers were beaten by the Gretzky led Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs in 1989. Coached by John Muckler, the Oilers had a strong season in 1990, finishing second in the Smythe Division with a record of 38-28-14. 

With Grant Fuhr struggling with injuries and substance abuse issues, the Oilers turned to Bill Ranford to play in goal. Ranford had been a career back up but hit the1990 postseason as the proverbial hot goalie as the Oilers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets in the first round. In the Smythe Division Finals, the Oilers would sweep away the Kings, as Mark Messier emerged out of “The Great One’s” shadow. Ranford continued his stellar play as the Oilers beat the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the Campbell Conference Finals. 

The 1989/90 season was supposed to be the year of the Boston Bruins. Coached by Mike Milbury, the Bruins were the best team in the regular season, winning the President’s Trophy with a record of 46-25-9. The Bruins were tested in the first round but beat the Hartford Whalers in seven games. In the Adams Division Finals, the Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens in five games, their historical nemesis. They appeared to be well on their way to a Stanley Cup after sweeping the Washington Capitals in the Wales Conference Finals. 

The Bruins were a heavy favorite as the Stanley Cup Finals began at Boston Garden. The Oilers got off to a fast start in Game 1, as Adam Graves and Glenn Anderson each scored a goal in the first period. The 2-0 lead would stand until the third period, when the Bruins tied the game with a pair of goals by Raymond Bourque, including one with 89 seconds left in regulation. The ice was tilted in the Bruins favor most of overtime, as Boston outshot Edmonton 52-31. However, the game remained tied into the third overtime as Bill Ranford kept the puck out of the net. Finally, at 15:13 of triple overtime, as Petr Kilma scored to give the Oilers a 3-2 win. At 75 minutes, it remains the record for the longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

Game 2 would be a disaster for the Bruins, as Andy Moog allowed three goals on four shots before being replaced by Rejean Lemelin. Jari Kurri led the Oilers’ onslaught as they won the game 7-2, stunning the Boston Garden into silence. As the series shifted to Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum, Moog rebounded as John Bryce gave the Bruins their first lead of the series with a goal ten seconds into the game. It is the quickest goal in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals. Greg Johnston later added a goal, as the Bruins won 2-1. Game 4 would be all Edmonton as Glenn Anderson and Craig Simpson each had a pair of goals in a 5-1 victory for the Oilers. 

Leading 3-1 in the series, the Oilers went into Boston Garden seeking the Stanley Cup in Game 5. Once again, the Oilers dominated as Bill Ranford secured the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP, as Edmonton won 4-1 to take home the Stanley Cup. Ranford had once been a member of the Bruins, but while seeking a proven goalie sent him to the Oilers for Andy Moog.