2003 Stanley Cup playoffs

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2003 Stanley Cup playoffs logo

The 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs, the National Hockey League (NHL) championship, began on April 9, 2003, following the 2002–03 regular season. The playoffs concluded on June 9, 2003, with the New Jersey Devils defeating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in seven games.

The sixteen qualifying teams played best-of-seven series in the conference quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. Each conference champion proceeded to the Stanley Cup Finals. These playoffs marked the first time the Minnesota Wild qualified, in only their third season in the NHL. The Minnesota Wild, a sixth-seed, made an unlikely advance to the Western Conference Finals as underdogs after being down three games to one in two consecutive rounds.

Despite losing to the Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals, Mighty Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player during the playoffs, marking only the fifth time that the trophy had ever been awarded to a player on the losing team.

The Stanley Cup, awarded to the champion of the NHL.

Playoff seeds[edit]

A total of 16 teams qualified for the playoffs. The Ottawa Senators were the Presidents' Trophy winners with 113 points.

Eastern Conference[edit]

  1. Ottawa Senators, Northeast Division champions, Eastern Conference regular season champions, Presidents' Trophy winners – 113 points
  2. New Jersey Devils, Atlantic Division champions – 108 points
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning, Southeast Division champions – 93 points
  4. Philadelphia Flyers – 107 points
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs – 98 points
  6. Washington Capitals – 92 points
  7. Boston Bruins – 87 points
  8. New York Islanders – 83 points

Western Conference[edit]

  1. Dallas Stars, Pacific Division champions, Western Conference regular season champions – 111 points
  2. Detroit Red Wings, Central Division champions – 110 points
  3. Colorado Avalanche, Northwest Division champions – 105 points
  4. Vancouver Canucks – 104 points
  5. St. Louis Blues – 99 points
  6. Minnesota Wild – 95 points (42 wins)
  7. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim – 95 points (40 wins)
  8. Edmonton Oilers – 92 points

Playoff bracket[edit]

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
1  Ottawa 4     1  Ottawa 4  
8  NY Islanders 1     4  Philadelphia 2  

2  New Jersey 4 Eastern Conference
7  Boston 1  
    1  Ottawa 3  
  2  New Jersey 4  
3  Tampa Bay 4  
6  Washington 2  
4  Philadelphia 4   2  New Jersey 4
5  Toronto 3     3  Tampa Bay 1  

  E2  New Jersey 4
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W7  Anaheim 3
1  Dallas 4     1  Dallas 2
8  Edmonton 2     7  Anaheim 4  
2  Detroit 0
7  Anaheim 4  
  7  Anaheim 4
  6  Minnesota 0  
3  Colorado 3  
6  Minnesota 4   Western Conference
4  Vancouver 4   4  Vancouver 3
5  St. Louis 3     6  Minnesota 4  
  • During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.

Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

(1) Ottawa Senators vs. (8) New York Islanders[edit]

The series opened at Corel Centre in Ottawa, where New York goaltender Garth Snow posted a 25-save shutout in a 3–0 victory. Hoping to avoid losing the first two games at home, the Senators returned the favor in game two, with goalie Patrick Lalime posting a 16-save shutout and the Ottawa attack chasing Snow from goal in favor of Rick DiPietro.

Tied, 1–1, the series shifted venue to New York's Nassau Coliseum. This game featured the first in which both teams scored in the same game, but Ottawa won the game 2:25 into double overtime, 3–2, on a Todd White goal, his second of the game. This loss hurt the Islanders' morale, and Ottawa took advantage with a 3–1 game four victory, scoring two first-period goals to take the Islanders out of it early. Ottawa closed out the series the next night back at home, winning the game and the series, 4–1.

Ottawa won series 4–1

(2) New Jersey Devils vs. (7) Boston Bruins[edit]

The series opened at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, and game one was a defensive battle in an ultimate 2–1 Devils victory behind two goals from Jamie Langenbrunner. New Jersey then took control of the series with a 4–2 victory in game two.

Down 2–0 in the series but heading home to FleetCenter, Boston shook things up, replacing Steve Shields, who allowed six goals in the first two games, in favor of Jeff Hackett. The shakeup did not do much, as the Devils shut out in the Bruins in game three, 3–0, with goalie Martin Brodeur stopping all 29 shots he faced. Not wanting to end their season with a winless postseason and a loss in front of their fans, Boston came out firing in game four, winning the game, 5–1, and knocking out Brodeur after the fifth goal in favor of Corey Schwab, who went 6-for-6 in net.

Unfortunately for the Bruins and their fans, they had only "stayed their execution" until game five in New Jersey, where Brodeur bounced back from his horrid game four with a 28-save shutout in a 3–0 win as Langenbrunner added two more goals.

New Jersey won series 4–1

(3) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (6) Washington Capitals[edit]

The series opened at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, and the Lightning offense ran into a brick wall in net, as Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig stopped all 28 shots he faced in a 3–0 victory. Game two saw Tampa take 43 shots on net, a sign that Washington's defense softened, but Washington shelled Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin in a 6–3 victory, including two goals apiece from Peter Bondra and Jaromir Jagr. Tampa Bay was in trouble: they had to win four out of the next five games, with three at Washington's MCI Center.

Washington returned home to a raucous home crowd, buoyed by their success in Florida. The Lightning eked out a must-win in game three, a 4–3 victory when Vincent Lecavalier scored the game-winner 2:29 into overtime. In game four, Tampa Bay stole the momentum headed back home in a 3–1 victory. The Capitals now saw themselves in trouble: they had no momentum, and two of the next three games were in Florida. Tampa posted a 2–1 victory in Game 5 to push the Capitals to the brink. Game six in Washington went to overtime as the Capitals tried to hang on to force a game seven, and neither team gave an inch as the game went to triple-overtime. Finally, Martin St. Louis ended the game and the series. Tampa Bay goalie Khabibulin faced a whopping 61 shots in goal during game six. The Capitals would miss the playoffs every year until 2008.

Tampa Bay won series 4–2

(4) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (5) Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

The series opened at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, and the goals were plentiful in a 5–3 Toronto victory. Toronto took advantage of their few opportunities: Philadelphia goalie Roman Cechmanek only faced 14 shots but allowed four goals (the fifth goal was an empty-netter), including a hat trick by Alexander Mogilny. The Flyers bounced back nicely with a 4–1 game two victory to tie the series, 1–1.

The series shifted venue to Air Canada Centre in Toronto for game three, where the Maple Leafs won in double-overtime, 4–3, on a goal by Tomas Kaberle, his second of the game. Game four went even longer, but Philadelphia won the game, 3–2, 13:54 into triple overtime on a goal by Mark Recchi, his second of the game. The series returned to Philadelphia for game five, which was a 4–1 Flyers win.

With Toronto facing elimination but playing a home game for game six, Toronto pulled out a 2–1, double-overtime victory on a goal by Travis Green to force a game seven in Philadelphia. The Flyers then barraged Toronto goalie Ed Belfour, who allowed six goals in a 6–1 Philadelphia win that sent them to the Conference Semifinals.

Philadelphia won series 4–3

Western Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

(1) Dallas Stars vs. (8) Edmonton Oilers[edit]

Shawn Horcoff's goal at 7:10 of the second period held up as Edmonton won game one, 2–1. Game two, a 6–1 Dallas victory was highlighted by two goals from Scott Young. In game three the Oilers used three third-period goals to win the game, 3–2. Dallas evened the series with a game four victory, winning the game 3–1. Mike Modano scored three points in a 5–2 victory for Dallas in game five. Dallas eliminated Edmonton in game six with a 3–2 victory.

Dallas won series 4–2

(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (7) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim[edit]

In game one of the series Luc Robitaille's shot in the first overtime almost ended the contest, as several of the Detroit players had even left the ice to head to the locker room believing that they had won the game. However, after video review it was concluded that Robitaille's shot had ricocheted off the crossbar and the post and the players were subsequently brought back to resume the game. At 3:18 of the third overtime period Paul Kariya scored to clinch a 2–1 win for Anaheim. In game two Anaheim came back from a one goal deficit by scoring twice in the third period to earn a 3–2 victory and a 2–0 series lead. Anaheim pushed the Red Wings to the brink of elimination with a one goal victory in game three. In game four, the Mighty Ducks completed their sweep of the Red Wings. The Mighty Ducks prevailed in the fourth consecutive one goal game of the series by virtue of a 3–2 victory when Steve Rucchin scored at 6:53 of the first overtime period. The Red Wings became only the second defending Stanley Cup champions to be swept the following year in a four-game first round series, the other being the 1952 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Anaheim won series 4–0

(3) Colorado Avalanche vs. (6) Minnesota Wild[edit]

Minnesota scored three times in 4:20 in the second period and won game one, 4–2. Milan Hejduk recored a goal and an assist in game two as the Avalanche tied the series at one, with a 3–2 victory. In game three Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy posted an 18-save shutout in a 3–0 victory. Joe Sakic scored twice and added an assist in game four as Colorado won the game by a score of 3–1. During game four, Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire inserted Manny Fernandez into goal after starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson allowed two goals in the first eight minutes of the game.

Minnesota jumped out to a 3–0 lead after two periods of play in game five and managed to hang on to the victory despite a comeback attempt by the Avalanche in the third period, winning the game 3–2. After a scoreless first 40 minutes in game six, each team scored twice in the third period, and the game went to overtime tied at two. Minnesota ended the game when Richard Park scored his second goal of the game at 4:22 of the first overtime to force a seventh game in Denver. In game seven, the teams again played to a 2–2 tie after 60 minutes, but Andrew Brunette ended the game and the series 3:25 into overtime to give the Wild a stunning series comeback victory. This was also the last game of Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy's career, as he would announce his retirement during the following off-season.

Minnesota won series 4–3

(4) Vancouver Canucks vs. (5) St. Louis Blues[edit]

The series opened at GM Place in Vancouver, where St. Louis scored two goals in each period, rolling to a 6–0 game one victory that saw Blues goalie Chris Osgood post a 20-save shutout. Game two was a different story, however: Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier recovered from a horrid game one to only allow one goal in a 2–1 Vancouver win that tied the series, 1–1. Also notable from this game was the loss of Blues captain Al MacInnis to a separated shoulder following a check to the glass behind the Blues net.

Game three was held at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, and Osgood turned in another stellar performance, allowing only one goal in a 3–1 Blues victory. The Blues cranked out more offensive firepower in a 4–1 game four victory that pushed Vancouver to the brink. Vancouver had their work cut out for them: they had to win the next three games, but two of them were at home if the series went that far.

Vancouver, held to just four goals in series up to that point, finally opened up in game five, a 5–3 Canucks victory. This game was notable as a number of St. Louis' players became ill with influenza prior to the game and played in a weakened state. Game six saw the Canucks race out to a 4–1 lead and then hang on for 4–3 victory that forced a decisive game seven back in Vancouver. With all of their momentum lost, St. Louis allowed four unanswered goals in game seven as Vancouver easily won the game, 4–1, and the series, 4–3. Al MacInnis returned from the shoulder injury suffered in game two of this series to try to inspire his team to victory, but he clearly was not at full strength and was a non-factor in the game.

Vancouver won series 4–3

Conference Semifinals[edit]

Eastern Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Ottawa Senators vs. (4) Philadelphia Flyers[edit]

The series opened at Corel Centre in Ottawa, where the Senators used three second-period goals to win game one, 4–2. Game 2 saw Flyers goalie Roman Cechmanek post his first shutout of the postseason (33 saves) in a 2–0 Philadelphia victory that tied the series, 1–1.

Game three was at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, and Ottawa took the series lead with a 3–2 overtime victory, with Wade Redden scoring his first goal of the postseason 6:43 in. Cechmanek again came through in game four, posting his second shutout of the series as the Flyers won the game, 1–0, on a goal by Michal Handzus.

The series returned to Ottawa for game five, where the Senators shelled Cechmanek in a 5–2 victory. Game five also saw Robert Esche appear in goal for the Flyers, and he went 13-for-14 after Ottawa's fourth goal. The Senators finished off the job in game six with a 5–1 victory in Philadelphia, with four of the Ottawa scorers in game five turning in a repeat performance.

Ottawa won series 4–2

(2) New Jersey Devils vs. (3) Tampa Bay Lightning[edit]

The series opened at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, where the Devils scored three third-period goals to break a scoreless tie en route to a 3–0 game one victory with goalie Martin Brodeur posting a 15-save shutout in the process. Game two was a little tenser, with New Jersey rallying from a third-period deficit and winning the game 2:09 into overtime, 3–2, on a goal by Jamie Langenbrunner.

At home at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, the Lightning jumped out to a 3–0 first-period lead, then watched New Jersey tie the score before scoring in the third period on a goal by Dave Andreychuk to win the game, 4–3. The Devils responded by winning game four, 3–1, to push the Lightning to the brink. The Devils ended the series with a 2–1 triple-overtime victory in game five, with Grant Marshall scoring the game-winning goal 11:12 into the sixth period.

New Jersey won series 4–1

Western Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Dallas Stars vs. (7) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim[edit]

The series opened at American Airlines Center in Dallas, where the heavily favored Stars and underdog Ducks engaged in an epic battle that took over 140 minutes and four overtimes to decide before Anaheim's Petr Sykora scored the game-winner 47 seconds into the fifth overtime, winning the game for the Ducks, 4–3. Dallas goalie Marty Turco saw 54 shots while Anaheim's goalie, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, saw 63. It was the fourth longest playoff game in NHL history. Game two saw another game tied after 60 minutes, but this time, Anaheim needed only 1:44 to win the game in the first overtime, 3–2, on a goal by Mike Leclerc. Dallas, much like Detroit in its first-round series against the Ducks, faced a 2–0 deficit headed to Anaheim.

Game three at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim was a must-win for the Stars, and they came through, winning the game, 2–1, Which they handed the Mighty Ducks their first lost of the playoffs. But the Mighty Ducks won game four, 1–0, behind a 28-save shutout from Giguere. The Stars did not want to be eliminated in front of their home fans, a motivated Dallas team captured game five, 4–1. The Mighty Ducks eliminated Stars in game 6. Which the final score was 4-3.

Anaheim won series 4–2

(4) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Minnesota Wild[edit]

The series opened at GM Place in Vancouver, where the Canucks took game one in overtime, 4–3, on a game-winning power-play goal by Trent Klatt 3:42 in. They had forced overtime with Matt Cooke's tying goal with 2.3 seconds remaining in regulation time. The Wild rebounded in game two with a 3–2 victory that tied the series, 1–1. The series shifted venue to the Xcel Energy Center for game three, in which the Canucks won, 3–2. With a 3–2 overtime victory in Game 4, the fourth consecutive one-goal game of the series, Vancouver was poised to eliminate Minnesota, up in the series 3–1 with two of the next three games at home.

But this scenario was nothing new to the Wild; they had eliminated the third-seeded Avalanche in seven games in the first round after losing three of the first four. And, like the first round, they had to go on the road for games five and seven. In what appeared to be a case of Déjà vu, Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire changed goalies again, this time re-inserting Dwayne Roloson, who replaced an ineffective Manny Fernandez.

In game five, back in Vancouver, the Wild annihilated Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier, who went 15-for-21 in saves and was knocked out in favor of Alex Auld, who went 4-for-5. Minnesota's goal spurt came in the second period, when they scored five goals en route to a 7–2 victory. Spurred on by their thrashing of the Canucks in game five, the Wild came out at home in game six, scoring three third-period goals en route to a 5–1 victory that forced a game seven. After their blowout losses in games five and six, the Canucks returned home and built up a 2–0 second period lead before collapsing as the Wild won game seven, 4–2.

Minnesota won series 4–3

Conference Finals[edit]

Eastern Conference Final[edit]

(1) Ottawa Senators vs. (2) New Jersey Devils[edit]

The series opened at Corel Centre in Ottawa, where the Senators took game one in overtime, 3–2, when Shaun Van Allen tipped in a pass from Martin Havlát 3:08 into overtime. New Jersey tied the series, 1–1, with a crucial victory in game two, 4–1. It marked the first time Ottawa goalie Patrick Lalime allowed more than two goals in twelve postseason games.

Game three at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey saw an amazing defensive battle, but New Jersey won the game, 1–0, on a first-period goal by Sergei Brylin. Martin Brodeur posted a 24-save shutout for the Devils in the process. New Jersey appeared to have the series in control when they broke a 2–2 tie in game four with three third-period goals en route to a 5–2 win, and they led in the series, 3–1. But, it wasn't over yet, as Minnesota (twice) and Vancouver rebounded from 3–1 series deficits earlier in the playoffs.

Ottawa returned home for game five, not wanting to lose in front of their fans. They staved off elimination with a 3–1 victory. The tense action resumed back in New Jersey for game six, as the teams entered overtime tied, 1–1, and all the Devils needed was a goal to knock out the Senators. The death blow did not come in game six, as Chris Phillips scored the game-winning goal 15:52 into overtime in the 2–1 Senators victory. This would be the Devils only home loss of the playoffs.

Determined not to suffer the same misfortunes as Colorado, St. Louis, and Vancouver, the Devils broke through in game seven, winning the game, 3–2, as Jeff Friesen knocked in the series-winning goal with just over two minutes to play to send New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the decisive game, the Devils benefited from a two-goal performance by Jamie Langenbrunner, his first goals of the series.

New Jersey won series 4–3

Western Conference Final[edit]

(6) Minnesota Wild vs. (7) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim[edit]

This was the first western conference finals since 1994 to not feature either the Detroit Red Wings or the Colorado Avalanche. In game 1 Petr Sykora scored at 8:06 into double-overtime in a 1–0 Mighty Ducks victory. Which the Mighty Ducks got their 2nd shutout of the playoffs. Jean-Sebastien Giguere turned in a stellar performance in net for Anaheim, stopping all 39 shots he faced. Minnesota Wild played Dwayne Roloson instead of Manny Fernandez in net for the Wild, But they were wrong, as in game 2 the Mighty Ducks won the game 2–0, both goals short-handed, as Giguere stopped all 24 shots he faced, making him 63-for-63 in the series. The Mighty Ducks would get back to back shutouts.

In game three, Giguere continued his goaltending excellency, stopping all 35 shots he faced in a 4–0 Mighty Ducks victory. Giguere, in recording his 3rd consecutive shutout, had now stopped the first 98 shots he saw in the series. In game four, the Mighty Ducks won the game 2-1, with both goals coming from Adam Oates. The Mighty Ducks headed to their first Stanley cup ever. They would get their second sweep of the Playoffs. The consolation for the Wild was they avoided a fourth consecutive shutout, as Andrew Brunette scored the first Minnesota goal of the series. Still, Giguere was 122-for-123 in the series, a robust .992 save percentage.

Anaheim won series 4–0

Stanley Cup Finals[edit]

This was only the third time in NHL history and the first time since 1965 that the home team won all the games in the final. [1]

New Jersey won series 4–3

Player statistics[edit]

There was a tie for the playoff points lead between Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Niedermayer, both of the New Jersey Devils. They both had 18 points. Langenbrunner led the playoffs with eleven goals and Niedermayer led the playoffs with 16 assists. The 18 points to lead the playoffs was the lowest total since the 1968-69 NHL season.


GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus/Minus; PIM = Penalty Minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts +/– PIM
Langenbrunner, JamieJamie Langenbrunner New Jersey Devils 24 11 7 18 +11 16
Niedermayer, ScottScott Niedermayer New Jersey Devils 24 2 16 18 +11 16
Gaborik, MarianMarian Gaborik Minnesota Wild 18 9 8 17 +2 6
Madden, JohnJohn Madden New Jersey Devils 24 6 10 16 +10 2
Hossa, MarianMarian Hossa Ottawa Senators 18 5 11 16 –1 6
Modano, MikeMike Modano Dallas Stars 12 5 10 15 +2 4
Friesen, JeffJeff Friesen New Jersey Devils 24 10 4 14 +10 6
Naslund, MarkusMarkus Naslund Vancouver Canucks 14 5 9 14 –6 18
Zubov, SergeiSergei Zubov Dallas Stars 12 4 10 14 +2 4


These are the top six goaltenders based on either goals against average with at least four games played.

GP = Games Played; W = Wins; L = Losses; SA = Shots Against; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes:seconds); Sv% = Save Percentage; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP W L SA GA GAA TOI Sv% SO
Giguere, Jean-SebastienJean-Sebastien Giguere Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 21 15 6 697 38 1.62 1407:02 .945 5
Brodeur, MartinMartin Brodeur New Jersey Devils 24 16 8 622 41 1.65 1490:34 .934 7
Fernandez, MannyManny Fernandez Minnesota Wild 9 3 4 253 18 1.96 552:22 .929 0
Kolzig, OlafOlaf Kolzig Washington Capitals 6 2 4 192 14 2.08 403:55 .927 1
Lalime, PatrickPatrick Lalime Ottawa Senators 18 11 7 449 34 1.82 1122:22 .924 1
Turco, MartyMarty Turco Dallas Stars 12 6 6 310 25 1.88 798:16 .919 0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robinson, Alan (June 10, 2003). "E-Rupp-Tion—New Jersey Celebrates Third Cup with Big Lift from Little-Used Player". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. p. C1. 
Preceded by
2002 Stanley Cup playoffs
Stanley Cup Champions Succeeded by
2004 Stanley Cup playoffs