in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
The New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup for the second time. This time they dethrone the Dallas Stars in six games, winning the finale in double overtime 2-1 on a goal by Jason Arnott. Scott Stevens wins the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP, as the leader of the Devils suffocating defense. The Devils make history in winning the Stanley Cup as Larry Robinson, who took over late in the season s the first interim coach to win the Stanley Cup.
It had been five years since the New Jersey Devils were saved by a run to the Stanley Cup. With rumors of a move to Nashville swirling, the Devils after a heartbreaking loss to the New York Rangers in 1994. The Devils stunned all the experts sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. The next four seasons saw nothing but frustration for the Devils who missed the playoffs in 1996. In the next three seasons, the Devils won the Atlantic Division but faltered in the playoffs.
In the 1999/00 season, the Devils looked to be on the way to another division championship but went into a second-half slump. This led GM Lou Lamoriello to decide to fire coach Robbie Ftorek with nine games remaining in the season. Larry Robinson took over as interim coach as New Jersey finished the season with a record of 45-24-8-5. In the playoffs the Devils would catch fire and turn the ice to steam, beating the Florida Panthers in four straight games. In the second round, they needed six games to burry the Toronto Maple Leafs. The series is best remembered for the Devils holding Toronto to six shots in Game 6. The Devils would become the first team to win a Conference Final after trailing 3-1 as they beat the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games. The series is best remembered for Scott Stevens hit on Eric Lindros.
Coached by Ken Hitchcock, the Dallas Stars were the reigning Stanley Cup Champions after beating the Buffalo Sabres on Brett Hull’s overtime goal in Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. The Stars posted a record of 43-23-10-6, winning the Pacific Division. On their way to second straight Western Conference Championship, the Stars beat the Edmonton Oilers in five games; they would also beat the San Jose Sharks in five games. In the Conference Finals, they would need seven games to beat the Colorado Avalanche.
The Stanley Cup Finals began at the Continental Airlines Arena in the New Jersey Meadowlands. The opener saw a stunning offensive outburst from the Devils as they won 7-3, with five different goal scorers, including a rare goal from Mr. Devil Ken Daneyko, while Jason Arnott and Petr Sykora each scored twice. The Stars would bounce back to win Game 2 by a score of 2-1 as Brett Hull scored twice, including the game-winner with 4:16 left in regulation.
As the series shifted to the Reunion Arena in Dallas, the Stars looked to take control, as Sylvain Cote gave them an early 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal. Late in the first period, the Devils tied the game on a goal by Jason Arnott. In the second period, the Devils took a 2-1 lead on a powerplay goal by Petr Sykora. It would be all the Devils needed as the neutral zone trap, and Martin Brodeur stoned Dallas the rest of the way to take a 2-1 series lead. Defense and goaltending were becoming the story to the series as Game 4 was scoreless late in the second period when Joe Nieuwendyk gave Dallas a 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal. In the third period, the Devils tied the game on a goal by Sergei Brylin. Two minutes later, John Madden stunned the Stars with a shorthanded goal that gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead. Brian Rafalski would add a goal, as the Devils won 3-1 to take a 3-1 series lead.
Back in New Jersey, the Devils needed one more win to capture the Stanley Cup. Game 5 would turn into a classic duel between Eddie Belfour and Martin Brodeur. Nearly two full games were played without a goal as the game was scoreless at the end of regulation and into a third overtime. Brodeur faced 40 shots, while Belfour faced 48 shots. The pressure was on Dallas as a Devils goal went the series was over. The Stars would stay alive as Mike Modano scored at 6:21 of triple overtime.
With a new life, the Stars looked to extend the series further with Game 6 at Reunion Arena. The pressure was amped up as the Stars lost defenseman Darryl Sydor to a knee injury, while Petr Sykora suffered a concussion on a hit by Derian Hatcher. The game began to look like a carbon copy of Game 5 after a scoreless first period. Scott Niedermayer gave the Devils a brief 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal in the second period. The Stars got the equalizer 69 seconds late on a goal by Mike Keane. From there, it was defense and goaltending again as the score remained tied 1-1 into double overtime. At 8:20 of the second overtime, Jason Arnott, on a perfect one-timer pass from Patriik Eias, beat Eddie Belfour and scored the cup-winning goal. As the Devils celebrated, Larry Robinson wore the jersey of Petr Sykora was taken to the hospital after suffering a concussion.