With Mike Keenan off to St. Louis to coach the Blues, the Rangers hired Colin Campbell to lead the Rangers. Members of the 1994 Stanley Cup championship team Doug Lidster and Esa Tikkanen would join Keenan in St. Louis, as Lidster and Tikkanen were traded for Petr Nedved on July 24, 1994. Another member of the championship team, Glenn Anderson would sign with St. Louis as a free agent on February 13, 1995. On March 23, the team acquired Pat Verbeek through a trade with the Hartford Whalers. Verbeek would prove to be a handy addition to the club, scoring 10 goals in 19 games. The defending Cup champions finished the season 8th place in the Eastern Conference with a mediocre record of 22-23-3 for 47 points - just one point ahead of the Florida Panthers.
The Rangers faced the first-place Quebec Nordiques in the first round of the playoffs. They narrowly lost game 1 by a score of 5-4, as the Nordiques were powered by Joe Sakic's hat trick. New York came back in game 2, winning 8-3. Sergei Nemchinov and Petr Nedved each scored twice. After edging the Nordiques 4-3 in game 3, the Rangers found themselves trailing 2-0 in game 4. They would tie it up on goals by Brian Leetch and Alexei Kovalev. Steve Larmer scored the winner at 8:09 of the first overtime period. Facing elimination, the Nordiques played a determined game 5 at home and won 4-2 to cut New York's lead in the series to 3-2. The Rangers, at home for game 6, built up a 4-0 lead and ended up winning 4-2, to eliminate the Nordiques 4 games to 2. The Nordiques moved to Colorado almost immediately, as the announcement came on May 25, 1995.
In the second round, the Rangers faced a determined Philadelphia Flyers team that was led by the "Legion of Doom" line. In game 1, the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period on power-play goals by Brian Leetch and Petr Nedved. With the help of John LeClair's hat trick, the Flyers took a 4-3 lead in the third period. With only 19 seconds remaining, Pat Verbeek tied the game a 4-4. However, it was the Flyers who would ultimately win the game, as Eric Desjardins scored at 7:03 of the first overtime period. Game 2 started nearly identically to game 1, as New York led 2-0 after the first period on power-play goals. Both were scored by Brian Leetch. Philadelphia re-gained control of the game as they had in game 1, leading 3-2 midway through the third period. With under 8 minutes to go, Leetch completed his hat trick to tie the score at 3-3. This game also went into overtime, and the Flyers needed only 25 seconds to win it, as defenseman Kevin Haller scored his 3rd of the playoffs to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead in the series. The Flyers went on to dominate games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York, winning 5-2 and 4-1 to complete the sweep.
Key: Win Loss
1995 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Conference Quarter-finals: vs. (1) Quebec Nordiques - New York Rangers win series 4-2
March 23, 1995 - Hartford obtained D Glen Featherstone, D Michael Stewart and a first-round pick in the 1995 Entry Draft (Jean Sebastien Giguere) and a fourth-round pick in the 1996 Entry Draft for RW Pat Verbeek.