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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
No more "1940" chants
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

June 14, 1994

The longest championship drought in the NHL comes to an end when the New York Rangers hold off the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2, in Game 7 to win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years. A fan in Madison Square Garden holds up a sign that reads, "Now I Can Die in Peace."

No longer will the Rangers and their tortured fans have to suffer the "1940" chants, reminding them of their last previous Stanley Cup triumph.

After taking a 3-1 lead in this year's series, the Rangers slipped and the Canucks rallied to force Game 7. The hockey fans of New York gear up for yet another disappointment. But before tonight's game, Rangers captain Mark Messier talks with coach Mike Keenan about "ghosts and dragons." He tells Keenan, "You can't be afraid to slay the dragon."

The Rangers' top players make sure the team is not denied. Goals by Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Messier, along with clutch goaltending by Mike Richter, enable the Rangers to slay the dragon and set off a wild celebration.

Leetch finishes first in playoff scoring with 34 points -- only the second defenseman ever to top this category (Calgary's Al MacInnis was the first) -- and is awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. He is the first American-born player to receive the honor.

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