June 19, 1999: Dallas Stars’ forward Brett Hull scored arguably the most controversial goal in NHL history in the third overtime of game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals against the Buffalo Sabres.
Brett Hull has scored a jaw-dropping 741 goals in the NHL regular season — 4th all-time behind only Gretzky, Howe, and Jagr.
Plus, he scored another 103 goals in the postseason — again, good for 4th all-time behind only Gretzky, Messier, and Kurri!
And although Brett Hull had scored 2 overtime playoff goals prior in his career (including his one-time blast below in double overtime against the Blackhawks in 1992) none were bigger or more controversial, than his Cup-winner in 1999.
Led by Hall of Fame goaltenders Eddie “the Eagle” Belfour and “the Dominator” Dominik Hasek, The Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres battled their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
And although each team had offensive firepower, fans and analysts alike accurately predicted it’d be a tight series, with 4 of the 6 games decided by 1 goal and the other 2 games decided by 2 goals — one of which included an empty-netter.
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Game 1 was decided by a Jason Woolley one-timer from the slot in overtime, giving the Buffalo Sabres the early 1-0 lead in the series.
Game 2 saw Brett Hull score his first of two game-winning goals in the series, placing a rocket one-timer over the glove of Hasek with 2 minutes and 50 seconds remaining in regulation time to even the series.
Eventual Conn Smythe winner, Joe Nieuwendyk, came up big in game 3, scoring both of the Stars’ goals en route to a 2-1 victory.
But the Buffalo Sabres stormed back in game 4 to even the series, winning 2-1 thanks to Dixon Ward’s game-winner and Hasek’s stellar netminding.
Not to be outshined by his contemporary, Eddie Belfour stopped all 23 shots against in game 5 to give the Stars the chance to clinch the cup in game 6.
Game 6 was what you’d expect: the Sabres were playing to stay alive while the Stars were playing for the opportunity to make history.
Jere Lehtinen opened the scoring in game 6 with a goal we bet the Dominator wish he could have back.
But with under 2 minutes remaining in the second period, Stu Barnes tied the score at 1-1 where it stayed through the end of regulation and two overtime periods!
It was time for Brett Hull to make some history…
Almost 15 minutes into the third overtime of game 6, Dominik Hasek stopped not only Jere Lehtinen’s first shot on goal, but then Mike Modano‘s rebound chance.
But with the nose for the net, Brett Hull lurked in the crease to find Modano’s rebound and bury it past Hasek for the game and Stanley Cup-winning goal.
Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff pleaded with the officials to no avail to disallow the goal due to Hull’s skate being in the crease. Not satisfied, he stormed out of the Sabres locker room searching for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman who, apparently, offered little to no response.
The goal stood, Hull, Belfour, and Modano (among others) finally won their Stanley Cup, and Sabres fan have a reason to debate the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals for a lifetime.