2. Working Overtime, Pt. 2
While Ruslan Salei gets the #3 spot on the top 5 SCF goals list, another hero rose to the occasion to net a spot in the ‘03 cup run: Steve Thomas. Steve Thomas was a nineteen-year veteran, who never got a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. That all changed in ’03 when he got traded from the Blackhawks to the Anaheim Ducks and was a big part of the journey.
He scored the game-winner in Game 2 against the Detroit Red Wings, to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. He then scored another goal, this time against the Stars, to help the Ducks advance to the Western Conference Final.
After not scoring a goal in the WCF against the Minnesota Wild, Thomas scored twice against the Devils, but it was his overtime game-winner in Game 4 that really shook up the Finals. Like in ’07 where the Ducks won one to nothing, playing shutout hockey, the Mighty Ducks in ’03 played that style of hockey to get back in the series.
The main difference was, unlike in Game 3 where it took close to 7 minutes to get the game-winner, Thomas struck within a half-minute into overtime. After Stanislav Chistov and Sandis Ozolinsh were denied by Brodeur, Steve Thomas buried the rebound to tie the series, sending the fans at the Pond into pandemonium.
Not only was it his first goal in the Finals, but it tied the series and placed him second on my top 5 list. It also set up what most, if not all MDA fans would say, as THE goal in SCF history for the Ducks.