Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Little History Lesson

A rematch is upon us. Detroit was victorious over Chicago and now the Penguins await them in the Stanley Cup Finals. This marks the first time since the 1983-84 season when two teams have reached the Finals in back to back seasons. That would be when the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders met back to back. The Islanders swept the Oilers in the first meeting and then the Oilers came back the next year to capture the Stanley Cup in five games.

So, I decided to do a little research to find out how many times since the 1967 expansion that the same two teams have advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in consecutive seasons. It has only happened three times since the league expanded from six teams. In 1968 and 1969 Montreal defeated St. Louis, in 1977 and 1978 Montreal defeated Boston, and in 1983 Edmonton fell to New York only to win in 1984. An interesting side note to all of this is that St. Louis advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals three seasons in a row (1968, 1969 and 1970) only to lose every series.

The outcomes in those series however were interesting. In 1968 and 1969, Montreal swept St. Louis both seasons (Boston swept St. Louis in their third appearance as well). In 1977 Montreal swept Boston, but in 1978 Boston lost in six games. In 1983 New York swept Edomonton, but in 1984 Edmonton won in five over New York. So while it doesnt look good for the Penguins, keep in mind that the Penguins have been compared to Edmonton on several occasions, and they are an extremely talented team. St. Louis was pretty much destined to lose in their appearances since they had no experience and was forced to play a Montreal team that was in the midst of a dynasty (Montreal won in all five of their Stanley Cup appearances in the 1960's).

Another thing I wanted to look at was the number of teams that won Stanley Cups after sweeping their opponent in the Conference Finals. It has happened alot since 1967. This is misleading however, since most of the teams playing in the Finals were expansion teams against proven origional six teams and the fact that until 1982, every team that made the playoffs were seeded in a bracket, regardless of conference for the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 1982 the playoffs featured eight teams in each conference that played to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. So, since 1982 it has happend five times. In 1982, the Islanders swept Quebec in the Conf. Finals and then swept Vancouver for their third Stanley Cup. In 1983, Edmonton swept Chicago only to be swept by New York in the Cup Finals. In 1984, Edmonton swept Minnesota on their way to the Finals and then beat New York in five games for their first cup. In 1992, both Chicago and Pittsburgh swept their opponents in the Conf. finals and Pittsburgh swept Chicago on their way to a second Stanley Cup. And in 2003 Anaheim swept Minnesota only to lose in seven games to New Jersey for the Stanley Cup. While none of this has any bearing on this

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