In 1992, the Chicago Blackhawks returned to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1973.
In 1992, the Chicago Blackhawks finished the season 36-29-15, which had them finished second in the Norris Division. Starting the season with +450 odds of winning the Stanley Cup, that gave them a good boost.
With the second-best defense in hockey and Chris Chelios in his prime, the Blackhawks were poised to make a Stanley Cup run. They started off the playoffs 12-2, with their only two losses coming in the first round.
At the time, they beat their three biggest rivals to get to the finals. They beat the Blues in the first round (4-2), they then ran through the Red Wings (4-0) and the Oilers (4-0). They ran into a brick wall against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins.
The Penguins started off the playoffs winning their first series in seven. They then bounced back and beat the Capitals in six games, and swept the Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals. Yes, even back then the Penguins beat up on the Capitals in the second round of the playoffs.
Revisiting Game 1. The game started out with a quick goal by Chelios six minutes in. The Blackhawks were skating all over the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. A few minutes later, the Blackhawks would get two quick goals by Michel Goulet and Dirk Graham.
Little did Chicago know, that was truly the last time they’d have control of this series. The Penguins bounced back with a goal by Phil Bourque to keep the game within two going into the second period.
Early in the second, Sutter added a goal to the Blackhawks lead, which was now 4-1. When things were looking fine, Rick Tocchet and Lemieux scored twice within a minute to make it a one-goal game.
Late in the third period, Jagr tied the game at four. With under 30 seconds left, on the Penalty Kill, expecting to go to overtime, the Blackhawks gave up a goal by Lemieux to lose 5-4 in Game 1.
The Blackhawks would end up losing four straight, getting swept by Scotty Bowman‘s Penguins. Even though they lost, it’s a good series to go back and watch. They had four tight games, even if the Penguins had control of them.
After getting swept in the Stanley Cup finals, the Blackhawks would get swept again by the Blues in the first round of the 1993 playoffs. Chicago would finally hoist the Stanley Cup in 2010, they’d add two more in 2013 and 2015.