The 2002 Stanley Cup Finals were played from June 4 to June 13 between the Detroit Red Wings and the Carolina Hurricanes, making their first Stanley Cup Final appearance. Detroit defeated Carolina in five games to win their tenth Stanley Cup championship. The Red Wings became the first team in NHL history to win the Cup after starting the playoffs with two losses at home. After losing the first two games in their Conference Quarterfinal to the Vancouver Canucks, the Red Wings then won 16 of their next 21 games en route to win their third Cup for coach Scotty Bowman. Bowman's win, his ninth, established a new coaching record, surpassing the mark he held with Montreal coach Toe Blake.
The series featured the two NHL franchises Gordie Howe played for. This was the first appearance in the Cup Finals for the Hurricanes (formerly the Hartford Whalers), who made an unlikely run to the Cup. While they were seeded third as a division winner, in actuality they had the second-lowest point total (91) for a playoff team not only in the Eastern Conference, but also the whole NHL. In their whole NHL history, they had only won one playoff series prior to this season (as the Whalers), and had streaks of 5 and 6 seasons in which they did not make the playoffs.
Carolina defeated the New Jersey Devils 4–2, the Montreal Canadiens 4–2 and the Toronto Maple Leafs 4–2 to advance to the Final. Detroit defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4–2, the St. Louis Blues 4–1 and the Colorado Avalanche 4–3.
The Hurricanes stunned the Red Wings in game one of the finals on the strength of Ron Francis’ overtime goal. That would be Carolina’s only win in the series as the Red Wings won four straight including a triple overtime win in game three that proved to be the turning point in the series. The Cup win would be the first for many veterans on the team including goaltender Dominik Hasek, forward Luc Robitaille, as well as defensemen Steve Duchesne and Fredrik Olausson. It also marked the second ...