There have been 12 Stanley Cup Finals since the lockout that cancelled the 04/05 NHL season. Here are those Finals ranked from worst to best.
12) 2012 – Kings vs Devils: Total mismatch. Devils lucked their way to the final, they shouldn’t have beaten the Rangers, and that all caught up to them when the Kings hammered them 6-1 in the decisive game 6.
11) 2016 – Penguins vs Sharks: I remember San Jose scored a home overtime goal and that was cool but other than that I don’t remember anything about this series and I watched every second of every game.
10) 2014 – Kings vs Rangers: The star of this series was pile of snow that accumulated on the goal line that prevented LA from winning it sooner.
9) 2011 – Bruins vs Canucks: Did you know this series went 7 games? It doesn’t feel like it because it was boring. Both of these teams played uninteresting, defensive, hockey. Even a 7th game couldn’t save it because Boston jumped out early in the first period and it was never close. The most interesting things that happened were Alex Burrows biting someone and a riot.
8) 2008 – Red Wings vs Penguins I: It was fine. Detroit had all of the cards in their favor and deserved to win I guess.
7) 2015 – Blackhawks vs Lightning: Alex Killorn or someone scored an insane tip-in goal in this series but this was all about Chicago asserting themselves as the dominant team of the early 2010s.
6) 2017 – Penguins vs Predators: The stars of this series were the fans. The Penguins fans, eager to match the insane Preds fans, really raised their game and made this whole thing a deafening sea of yellow t-shirts. This is also high on my list because it had some ref controversy. Nashville fans will be talking about the quick whistle in game 6 forever.
5) 2006 – Hurricanes vs Oilers: No one even remembers this series but it was so good. Had it all. A scrappy underdog, game 7, a superstar goalie in Cam Ward, new star forward emerging in Eric Staal, loud crowds. It was awesome.
4) 2007 – Ducks vs Senators: Even though this only went 5 games, this had the most drama packed into a series I can remember and it surrounded one, larger than life, NHL personality, Chris Pronger. He stole the puck that Ottawa won a game with, he had a nasty elbowing penalty and most notably, the Daniel Alfredsson incident. When Alfredsson intentionally shot the puck at Pronger when time expired, it became a war rather than a playoff series.
3) 2010 – Blackhawks vs Flyers: The worst goaltending match up in the history of the Cup Final. Antti Niemi vs Michael Leighton made this series legendary. Patrick Kane scored the overtime goal that kickstarted the Hawks dynasty.
2) 2013 – Blackhawks vs Bruins: Oh man that ending. Hawks tie the game and score the goal to win the Cup in the last 2 minutes of game 6. Insane. One of the best hockey games ever.
1) 2009 – Penguins vs Red Wings II: The rematch. The game 7. This was perfect. It had comebacks, fights and one of the best, most well coached, games ever in game 7. Max Talbot scored the goal to win it 2-1 for the Pens but the story was Marc Andre-Fleury’s save on Nick Lidstrom with seconds to go to keep the game out of overtime and win the Cup for the Pens.