Boston Cup Party
1990 Stanley Cup Final, Game 5, May 24, 1990.
Edmonton 4, Boston 1
In each one of
Edmonton’s four previous Cup victories, the Oilers were
never in the position of being heavy underdogs.
In 1990, the Boston Bruins were
heavy favourites over the Oilers for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Due to an injury to Grant
Fuhr, the Oilers promoted back-up Bill Ranford to the role of
starting goalie. Prior to the final, the former Bruin had already made
headlines in the post-season. In the first round of the
Campbell Conference playoffs, the Oilers found
themselves down three games to one to the Winnipeg Jets.
However, Ranford’s stellar play allowed the Oilers to win
three in a row to take the series and move on.
In the finals, Ranford and the Oilers were up against a Bruins team
that had finished first overall in the NHL. The Bruins
had former Oilers’ goalie Andy Moog in net, 50-goal sniper Cam Neely—arguably the best power forward
in the game
at the time—and defencive-star Ray Bourque. The Bruins would have home-ice
advantage in their tiny, under-regulation-size rink at
the Boston Garden, and would force the Oilers to play
Boston’s preferred physical, forechecking style.
"I didn’t try and dwell on the
pressure too much," said Ranford. “Really, a goalie’s
only as good as the team in front of him. You might be
able to win one or two games a year, but that’s it. It’s
not like being a baseball pitcher where you do it all
"I really don’t think I had a lot to
prove to the Boston fans. I had a lot of great times in
Boston, but this [Cup final] was years later."
the first overtime period, the Oilers got a major break
when Bruins defenceman Glen Wesley
missed a wide open net. Soon after, Ranford and Moog
had make great save after great
save to continue the game. The match dragged on deep into a third overtime
period. Oilers’ coach John Muckler
tapped Czech forward
Petr Klima on the shoulder, warning him to get ready for
the game. The
Oilers used Klima sparingly, and he had not played in any of the overtime
periods. Muckler hoped Klima’s fresh legs could make a
difference in a game that had sapped the energy from
both the Bruins and Oilers.
Muckler was right. At 15:13 of the
third overtime, Klima slipped the puck through Moog’s
legs and into the Boston goal. The Bruins would never
recover, and the Oilers captured the Cup in five games,
celebrating the victory in the historic Garden. It would
be the only time in Oilers’ history that the team
celebrated a Cup win on the road. For his heroic play, Ranford was
awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable
player of the playoffs.
Oilers’ winger Craig Simpson
will never forget the celebrations in the old Boston
Garden visitors’ dressing room, famous for its cramped
"There was no room in that old
dressing room," recalled Simpson. "Everybody was just
crammed in there, but after the media left, about five
or six players stuck around, listened to music and we
just enjoyed what we had just accomplished. It was a
real mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration."