Let the Finals begin

Archived from 1998-99 season.

1999 Playoffs




With less than 24 hours before Game 1 of the 1999 Stanley Cup finals between the Dallas Stars and the Buffalo Sabres, the Cup fever in rising everywhere.

Tickets for the finals sold out in eight minutes in Buffalo causing a mini-riot when three thousand people outside the arena where told that they wouldn't get any tickets.

How entertaining this year's finals will be is another story. Both Dallas and Buffalo play a defensive style backed up with very strong goaltending. The Sabres basically riding on the back of two-time league MVP Dominik Hasek.

Dallas' netminder Ed Belfour has been a top goalie in the league for years, but hasn't won the Cup before. Dallas is more experienced team with a lot of veterans who have patience trying to solve Hasek.

"We just went through that with Patrick Roy, and there's a lot to be said about what he's done in the playoffs," said Joe Nieuwendyk. "We'll take the same approach with Hasek. He's obviously a world-class goalie, as well. We haven't really had a lot of difficulty creating scoring chances. In the playoffs we've been getting lots of chances."

The Sabres team is much younger and has only six players who have been to the finals before. None has won it.

"It's fine being the underdog," Sabres center Curtis Brown said. "We've been the underdog all year throughout the playoffs. There's less pressure on us. It's better being the underdog and having the best goalie in the world."

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