With the Los Angeles Kings winning the 2013-14 Stanley Cup championship in five games over the New York Rangers, there now hasn't been a four game sweep in the Stanley Cup finals since the 1997-98 NHL season. That National Hockey League season marked the last of four consecutive sweeps to decide the Stanley Cup champion. This four year span happens to be the only time in NHL history when there has been four consecutive years with sweeps. In fact, the only time there has been three consecutive years with sweeps in the finals came with the 1967 expansion when the St. Louis Blues were at the losing end of sweeps between 1967-68 and 1969-70.
New Jersey Devils 1994-95
The New Jersey Devils starting things off in 1994-95 by taking down the Detroit Red Wings in four games to capture the Stanley Cup. New Jersey lost just four games in the first three rounds of the playoffs and finished off the post-season with a 16-4 record. In the finals, the Devils outscored the Red Wings 16-7. This was the first championship in New Jersey Devils history. The franchise that began as the Kansas City Scouts back in 1974-75 has since won the Cup on two more occasions.
The 1995 final was a faceoff between teacher and student. Jacques Lemaire was head coach of the Devils while Scotty Bowman was behind the bench of the Red Wings. Lemaire played a key part on the ice for the Scotty Bowman coached Montreal Canadiens in the 1970’s. The Conn Smythe Trophy was won by Claude Lemieux of the Devils with the team led defensively by Scott Stevens and rock-solid goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Colorado Avalanche 1995-96
The Quebec Nordiques built a roster with championship potential. However, it wasn’t until the franchise moved to Denver before they could reap their rewards. The Colorado Avalanche met up with the Florida Panthers in the 1995-96 finals. The Avalanche held the trap-playing Panthers to just four goals in the over the series while scoring 15 of their own. Game two of the series was an 8-1 blowout. However, Florida put up a fight, losing 1-0 in triple overtime in game four.
Claude Lemieux won his second consecutive Stanley Cup after moving over to the Avalanche from New Jersey. Joe Sakic of Colorado won the Conn Smythe with Patrick Roy and Adam Foote also playing starring roles in the victory. The Avalanche lost a total of six games in the 1995-96 post season.
Detroit Red Wings 1996-97
Detroit was back in the finals for 1996-97 after a year away, this time on the winning end of the sweep. The Philadelphia Flyers were Detroit’s opponent in the final and outscored them 16-6 over the four games. The Red Wings lost just four games during the entire 1996-97post-season.
The series put two great captains head to head with Steve Yzerman of the Red Wings and Eric Lindros of the Flyers facing off. Mike Vernon, goaltender for Detroit, won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Hockey Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan and Nicklas Lidstrom also led the way for the Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings 1997-98
The Red Wings were back for more in 1997-98. This time, their victim was the Washington Capitals. As of the end of the 2013-14 season, this is the only time the Capitals have reached the Stanley Cup finals since joining the National Hockey League in 1974-75, along with the Kansas City Scouts.
Detroit outscored Washington 13-7 in a defensive struggle. Detroit’s record throughout the playoffs was 16-6 with mostly the same cast as the year before. Steve Yzerman was the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy.