Bobby Orr’s Stanley Cup clinching goal against the St. Louis Blues in 1970 was immortalized in one of the greatest hockey photos ever. (Canadian Press)
10 who came up big when the games mattered most
Last Updated Wed., Mar. 28 2008
1. In a career filled with historic performances, Wayne Gretzky's 1985 run stands as his greatest playoff accomplishment. The "Great One" racked up 17 goals and 30 assists for a record 47 points. Gretzky led an Edmonton offence that totalled 44 goals in just six games during the Campbell Conference final against Chicago.
Mario Lemieux’s performance in the in the 1991 playoffs left legendary HNIC commentator Dick Irvin in awe. (Canadian Press)
2. Mario Lemieux's breathtaking play in 1991 was remarkable considering he missed 54 games of the regular season due to a debilitating back injury. In what legendary broadcaster Dick Irvin called the best individual playoff performance he's ever seen, Lemieux led Pittsburgh to its first-ever Stanley Cup championship with 16 goals, 28 assists and countless mesmerizing highlights. His 44 points still ranks second behind only Wayne Gretzky.
3. Terry Sawchuk shut out Toronto and Montreal four times as the Detroit Red Wings captured the 1952 Stanley Cup title. Sawchuk allowed only five goals and finished with an amazing .977 save percentage to stage one of the most brilliant efforts in NHL history.
4. While his Stanley Cup victories in 1986 and 2001 may have produced better statistics, Patrick Roy's finest moment took place during the Montreal Canadiens' championship of 1993. Playing behind a team many expected to be bounced from the first round against the Quebec Nordiques, Roy's stellar goaltending led to an unprecedented 10 consecutive overtime wins.
5. The Montreal Canadiens' Maurice "The Rocket" Richard was renowned as the greatest goal scorer of his era and he certainly proved it during the 1951 playoffs. Despite Montreal’s loss to Toronto in the Stanley Cup final, Richard scored nine goals and three overtime winners against the Detroit Red Wings and the Leafs.
6. Bobby Orr redefined his position by becoming the first defenceman to lead the NHL in scoring during the 1969-70 season. Orr continued his dominant play in the playoffs as he scored nine goals, including one in overtime that won the Stanley Cup against St. Louis and is immortalized in a famous photograph.
7. Ken Dryden's astonishing play in 1971 wasn't reflected in his 12-8 record or 3.00 goals-against average. The rookie goaltender played only six regular-season games yet still led a less-talented Montreal Canadiens team to a Stanley Cup championship, beating the more heralded Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks along the way.
8. Bernie Parent was the key component of the Philadelphia Flyers' two Stanley Cup teams in the mid 70s. During the 1975 title run, Parent had four shutouts in 15 games while posting an impressive 1.89 goals-against average.
Mark Messier may have been the man in New York, but the Rangers 1994 championship probably wouldn't have happened without the stellar play of Brian Leetch. (Canadian Press)
9. Jean-Sebastien Giguere was a first-round disappointment with no playoff experience heading into the 2003 post-season. However, Giguere's stunning play led the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to within one game of the Stanley Cup against the New Jersey Devils. Giguere posted five shutouts and a 1.62 goals-against average in a goaltending display rarely equalled.
10. Many credit Mark Messier for leading the N.Y. Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, but it was defenceman Brian Leetch who walked away with the 1994 Conn Smythe Trophy. Leetch led all scorers with 11 goals and 23 assists, including a superb Game 4 showing in the final against Vancouver where he scored four points.
2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Stanley Cup final
DET vs PIT