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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.

Bill RanfordIn 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 Andy Moogin 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 yourself.

"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."

ICraig Simpsonn 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.

Bill RanfordMuckler 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 conditions.

"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."

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