Ranking the last 10 Stanley Cup Finals
The last 10 Stanley Cup Finals have been great. Here’s a look at how they stack up against each other.
10) 2007 Anaheim Ducks defeat Ottawa Senators – Of the previous ten Stanley Cup finals, this one was the shortest. Anaheim took down Ottawa in five games, to provide California with their first every Stanley Cup. There was plenty of star power involved but the NHL was just two years removed from a lockout and struggled to provide much buildup. Having a Canadian team play a Southern California team didn’t help either. Three of the five games featured one-goal Anaheim victories. None of the games went to overtime. Scott Niedermeyer won MVP.
9) 2012 Los Angeles Kings defeat New Jersey Devils – This series ranks so low only because the Kings were unstoppable throughout the postseason. It took only 14 games for the Kings to advance out of the Western Conference. They took the first two games in overtime, both by 2-1 scores, and took a commanding three game lead with a 4-0 victory in Game 3. New Jersey made the series interesting with victories in Game 4 and 5, but L.A. dominated Game 6, winning 6-1 to become the first eight seed to win the Stanley Cup.
8) 2006 Carolina Hurricanes defeat Edmonton Oilers – It’s hard to get excited about a series that features an eight seed facing off with a small market team. Add in this being the first Stanley Cup Final post-lockout, with the teams not meeting during the regular season, and it was a recipe for disaster. The series went seven games but never was able to create much buzz. Carolina led the series 3-1, but Edmonton took Game 5 in overtime and Game 6 by a 4-0 score. The Hurricanes responded on home ice with a 3-1 victory. It was the first Stanley Cup for Carolina and goalie Cam Ward became the first rookie since Ron Hextall in 1987 to win the Conn Smythe trophy.
7) 2008 Detroit Red Wings defeat Pittsburgh Penguins – Like Carolina and Edmonton in 2006, the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t play during the regular season. Each team featured a plethora of star players. Detroit shutout Pittsburgh in the first two games and jumped out to a 3-1 series lead. Game 5 was the most memorable of the series, as Petr Sykora scored in triple overtime to keep the Penguins hopes alive. Detroit won Game 6 3-2 to win the Stanley Cup for an 11th time. Henrik Zetterberg was awarded MVP.
6) 2012 Boston Bruins defeat Vancouver Canucks – This series had plenty of bite, as scrums broke out after seemingly every whistle. Although it went the full seven games, Boston was the better team throughout, throwing Vancouver out of their comfort zone with physical play. The Canucks won the first two games 1-0 and 3-2 in overtime. They won 1-0 in Game 5 also, but were dominated in the other four contests. The final margins in Boston’s four wins were 8-1, 4-0, 5-2 and 4-0 again in their series clinching win in Game 7 in Vancouver. The win brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston after a 39 year drought. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe, as a few knuckleheads in Vancouver rioted outside the arena following their team’s Game 7 defeat.
5) 2003 New Jersey Devils defeat Mighty Ducks of Anaheim – Not many series can top the goaltending talent that this one featured. The Devils were led by future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur while the Mighty Ducks countered with Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Scoring was expected to be at a minimum with the two star net minders. New Jersey won the first two games by matching 3-0 scores. Anaheim responded by winning games 3 and 4 on home ice, both in overtime. The Devils broke out with a 6-3 win in Game 5, but again Anaheim answered with a 5-2 victory. In the end, New Jersey’s experience – playing in their third Final in four years – proved to be too much, as they shutout the Mighty Ducks 3-0 in Game 7. Giguere was given playoff MVP after posting a 1.62 goals against average to lead the postseason. He and Brodeur combined for 12 shutouts during their teams’ playoff runs.
4) 2010 Chicago Blackhawks defeat Philadelphia Flyers – This series was the polar opposite of the Anaheim-New Jersey matchup. Goals were scored at an alarming rate and only once was the winning team held to less than four goals. On the way to the Cup, the Flyers made history by becoming only the third NHL team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit to win, doing so against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Chicago used the momentum from sweeping the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final to take a quick 2-0 series lead. The Flyers won Game 3 in overtime on a goal by Claude Giroux, and then evened the series with a 5-3 victory in Game 4. The Blackhawks scored seven goals en route to a 7-4 win in Game 5, setting the stage for a memorable Game 6. With the Flyers trailing 3-2 late in the third, Scott Hartnell was able to put the puck in the Blackhawks net and send the game to overtime. Patrick Kane was the hero for the Chicago, scoring 4:06 into the overtime period. The goal wasn’t immediately awarded, as officials and many players lost sight of the puck. Kane knew right away and streaked down the ice celebrating as confusion erupted. The puck was eventually found under the padding of the goal, officially ending the Blackhawks Stanley Cup drought that had dated back to 1961. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was given the Conn Smythe.
3) 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning defeat Calgary Flames – At first glance, this series looked like it was going to be a snoozer. There wasn’t any noteworthy history between the teams and the geographical separation didn’t give the series a boost. Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup in seven games but most fans will remember the series for the goal that didn’t happen. The Flames held a 3-2 series lead when the teams took to the ice at Calgary’s Saddledome for Game 6. With the game locked at 2 in the third period, the puck was thrown towards the Lightning net and ricocheted off the skate of Flames’ forward Martin Gelinas. Tampa Bay goalie Nikolai Khabibulin got his pad on the puck, but after it had appeared to cross the goal line. The ruling on the ice was no goal and play continued. The disputed play was never reviewed (and is still disputed to this day by many Calgary fans). The Lightning went on to win Game 6 in double overtime on a goal by Martin St. Louis and then 2-1 in Game 7, with Ruslan Fedotenko providing both goals for Tampa Bay in the clincher. Lightning center Brad Richards won MVP.
2) 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Detroit Red Wings – For a second consecutive season, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings squared off with the Stanley Cup on the line. Again, the Red Wings jumped out to an early 2-games-to-none lead on Pittsburgh, but the Penguins responded with matching 4-2 victories on home to even the score. Detroit won 5-0 in Game 5, looking poised to be the first team to repeat as champions since they had done it in 1997 and 1998. Pittsburgh fought back on home ice, winning 2-1 in Game 6 and forcing a winner-take-all Game 7. Penguins’ star Sidney Crosby was forced to leave Game 7 with an injury, but unsung hero Max Talbot scored twice to power the Pittsburgh offense. Marc-Andre Fleury dove across the crease to make a save on Nicklas Lidstrom as time expired, as the Penguins won the Stanley Cup on Detroit’s ice, in a swap of what had happened in the year prior. Evgeni Malkin became the first Russian to win the Conn Smythe after totaling 36 points in 24 playoff games.
1) 2013 Chicago Blackhawks defeat Boston Bruins – Some might believe this is a biased pick since the series just recently happened, but really, what didn’t this series have? Both teams were part of the NHL’s Original Six franchises, marking the first time since 1979 that two Original Six teams met for the Stanley Cup, three games went to overtime, including one that lasted three overtimes, four of the six games were decided by one goal, with the other two games being decided by a two goal margin, and one of the wildest finishes to a series you’ll ever see. Chicago drew first blood by winning Game 1 by a 4-3 final on an Andrew Shaw goal 12:08 into the third overtime. Game 2 also took extra time, but this time it was the Bruins’ Daniel Paille notching the game-winner at 13:08 of the first overtime. Boston won again in Game 3, shutting out the Blackhawks 2-0. Game 4 was a seesaw affair that featured 11 goals. The Blackhawks never trailed in the game but allowed the Bruins to fight back to tie the game on three occasions. Johnny Boychuk scored less than a minute after Chicago had taken a 5-4 lead, tying the game late in the third and forcing another overtime. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook notched the game-winner 9:51 into overtime, as the series headed back to Chicago tied at 2. The Blackhawks won again in Game 5, using two goals by Patrick Kane on their way to a 3-1 victory.
Game 6 returned to Boston. Entering the third period, the teams were tied at one goal apiece, until Bruins forward Milan Lucic broke the deadlock with a goal at the 12:11 mark. It appeared the series would be making one last trip to Chicago, as the Bruins held their 2-1 lead with less than two minutes to play. However, the Blackhawks were able to get the equalizer off the stick of Bryan Bickell at the 18:44 mark. Only 17 seconds later, Dave Bolland scored, as Johnny Oduya’s shot from the point deflected off teammate Michael Frolik and the back boards before finding Bolland in front of the net. Chicago was able to hold on to their 3-2 lead for the final 59 seconds, as they won their second Cup in four seasons. Patrick Kane won the MVP.