Better of the last decade: The Prime 10 NHL groups of the 2010s

16 minutes read

Right here’s a nugget for you: of the 12 groups that posted essentially the most factors in a single common season within the 2010s, not one in all them went on to win the Stanley Cup in that very same season. Final 12 months’s Tampa Bay Lightning are the shining, stunning instance. The 2018-19 Bolts tied the all-time NHL document with 62 wins within the common season, however did not win a single recreation within the playoffs, getting unceremoniously swept by the eighth-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets.
Right here’s a take a look at the groups that posted the 10 greatest seasons of the previous 10 years, taking into consideration their efficiency in each the common season and the playoffs.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning 2018-19 (62-16-Four in common season, Zero-Four in playoffs)It’s troublesome to reconcile one of the best common season of the last decade and (arguably) the worst post-season of the last decade. However the 2018-19 Lightning needed to make this listing as a result of their wire-to-wire dominance within the common season: a record-tying 62-win marketing campaign en path to the franchise’s first-ever Presidents’ Trophy, an astounding plus-103 aim differential (second place: plus-62), the highest-scoring workforce by a large margin in addition to one of many best defensively, the highest energy play and the highest penalty kill. Nikita Kucherov received the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and claimed the Artwork Ross Trophy because the league’s main scorer by placing up extra factors (128) that anybody else in practically 25 years. Victor Hedman nabbed the Norris Trophy as greatest defenseman and Andrei Vasilevskiy took the Vezina Trophy as greatest goalie. To not point out, Steven Stamkos loved a profession season with 98 factors and Brayden Level broke out for 92 factors. And the Bolts’ all-star contingent was complemented by an outstanding supporting forged, from forwards Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat to defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Sergachev to rookies Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph and Eric Cernak. The Lightning entered the playoffs as a heavy favourite to win the Stanley Cup, and put an exclamation mark on their formidable post-season plans by leaping out to a Three-Zero lead on Columbus within the first interval of Sport 1. Then all of it fell aside. The Blue Jackets rallied for a Four-Three victory, adopted up with 5-1 and Three-1 wins in Video games 2 and three, and accomplished the sweep with a 7-Three pounding in Sport Four. That is the way in which the world ends / not with a bang however with a whimper.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins 2015-16 (48-26-Eight in common season, 16-Eight in playoffs)The one back-to-back Stanley Cup reign of the last decade started with the 2015-16 Penguins. It received off to a rocky begin, nonetheless, as Pittsburgh fired coach Mike Johnston in mid-December and changed him with Mike Sullivan, who had been operating the workforce’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre. It was in all probability one of the best teaching transfer of the last decade (at the very least outdoors St. Louis). The Pens went 33-16-5 below Sullivan to complete second within the Jap Convention and fourth within the total NHL standings. They remained one of many highest-scoring groups within the league (third total, 2.94 targets per recreation) whereas considerably enhancing their protection (sixth total, 2.43 goals-against common). Sidney Crosby completed third in league scoring with 85 factors, Kris Letang completed third in defenseman scoring with 67 factors and Marc-Andre Fleury tied for fourth amongst goalies with 35 wins. However a late-season harm to Fleury pushed rookie netminder Matt Murray into the crease, and the remainder is historical past. Murray received seven straight choices heading into the post-season, after which went 15-6 within the playoffs with a 2.08 GAA and .923 save share to steer the Penguins to the Cup. Pittsburgh knocked off the Rangers within the opening spherical ­– gaining a measure of revenge on the workforce that had eradicated them from the playoffs in every of the earlier two years ­­– earlier than beating archrival Washington in Spherical 2 and rallying from a Three-2 collection deficit in opposition to Tampa Bay within the East last to oust the Lightning in a seven-game thriller. That arrange a Cup showdown in opposition to the San Jose Sharks, who lastly certified for the ultimate after years of developing in need of expectations. Six video games later, Crosby had the Conn Smythe Trophy – edging out Phil Kessel and Murray – and the Penguins had the Cup.
Eight. Chicago Blackhawks 2014-15 (48-28-6 in common season, 16-7 in playoffs)The Hawks claimed their third Cup in six seasons, capping a powerful reversal for a franchise that had endured a 49-year championship drought from 1961 to 2010. A four-game shedding skid on the finish of the common season dropped Chicago to 3rd within the Central Division and seventh within the NHL total standings. Then in Sport 1 of the primary spherical, Nashville beat Corey Crawford for 3 targets within the first interval, prompting Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville to interchange Crawford with backup Scott Darling. Cue the comeback. Chicago struck 3 times within the second interval and Duncan Keith scored the winner in double extra time. Quenneville went again to Crawford in Sport 2 however the consequence was a 6-2 resolution for the Predators. With Darling again in internet, Chicago received Sport Three after which Sport Four in triple extra time on a aim from one other linchpin defenseman, this time Brent Seabrook. The Preds lastly received to Darling in Sport 5 and once more early in Sport 6, main Quenneville to return to Crawford. Chicago rallied to tie the sport Three-Three earlier than the top of the primary interval, and Keith scored the collection winner within the third. After sweeping Minnesota in Spherical 2, the Blackhawks rallied from a Three-2 collection deficit within the West last to get rid of Anaheim in seven video games, together with a triple-overtime victory in Sport Three that stands because the longest contest in Chicago’s franchise historical past. Within the last, the Blackhawks outlasted Tampa Bay in six video games, with Keith taking the Conn Smythe Trophy as Chicago hoisted the Stanley Cup on house ice for the primary time in 77 years.
7. St. Louis Blues 2018-19 (45-28-9, 16-10 in playoffs)Speak about a turnaround. Midway by the 2018-19 marketing campaign, the Blues have been within the operating for one of many worst seasons of the last decade. Then Jordan Binnington confirmed up and some months later St. Louis received the Stanley Cup for the primary time in its 52-year existence. Binnington joined the NHL’s last-place membership in early January and posted a shutout victory in his debut en path to a 13-1-1 run in his first 15 appearances to spur the Blues up the standings. By the top of the common season, Binnington was 24-5-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .927 save share, and the Blues had climbed to fifth within the West and 12th total. As you in all probability know, St. Louis stored the “Gloria!” good instances going within the playoffs. The Blues knocked off Western energy Winnipeg in six video games in Spherical 1, survived double extra time in Sport 7 to get rid of Dallas in Spherical 2 and despatched San Jose packing in six video games within the West last. After falling behind two video games to at least one in opposition to Boston, St. Louis received three of the subsequent 4 contests – together with Four-1 on the highway in Sport 7 – to finish the half-century title drought. Ryan O’Reilly’s dominant two-play – he beat Patrice Bergeron at his personal recreation within the last – earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy, and he additionally claimed the Selke Trophy within the common season.
6. Boston Bruins 2010-11 (46-25-11 in common season, 16-9 in playoffs)The Bruins’ first Stanley Cup in 39 years received’t be forgotten anytime quickly, and never simply due to the riot that engulfed shedding Vancouver after Sport 7. The story begins in internet, the place Tim Thomas took the Vezina Trophy because the NHL’s greatest goalie within the common season after which one-upped himself within the playoffs with the Conn Smythe Trophy. Thomas went 35-11-9 from October to April, with a 2.00 GAA and a .938 save share that stands as one of the best single-season SP of the last decade amongst goalies who performed at the very least 40 video games. But by some means Thomas was even higher within the post-season, posting a 1.98 GAA and .940 save share en path to a 16-9 document and main the Bruins to their first Cup because the days of Bobby Orr. Boston, who completed third within the East and seventh total through the common season, survived an epic seven-game collection in opposition to rival Montreal in Spherical 1, with the Bruins profitable all three video games that went to extra time. Boston then exacted some revenge with a Spherical 2 sweep of Philadelphia, after the Flyers had rallied from a Three-Zero collection deficit to get rid of the Bruins in seven video games the earlier 12 months. Within the Jap Convention last in opposition to Tampa Bay, Nathan Horton scored his second Sport 7 collection winner of the playoffs – he had additionally completed so in opposition to Montreal – to ship Boston to the Cup last. After which in maybe the NHL’s most compelling last of the last decade, the Bruins rallied from collection deficits of 2-Zero and Three-2 to defeat the Canucks in seven video games. This one had all of it, plus tire-pumping and automotive fires.
5. Los Angeles Kings 2011-12 (40-27-15 in common season, 16-Four in playoffs)The Kings scraped into the playoffs because the No. Eight seed within the West, then performed like a No. 1 seed that wouldn’t be denied. Los Angeles wanted a 12-Four-Three end to maneuver up right into a post-season place, however they parlayed that late-season flourish right into a present of playoff energy that has been not often seen within the NHL. En path to profitable the primary Stanley Cup in franchise historical past, L.A. took a Three-Zero collection lead in all 4 playoff collection. The Kings knocked off the Canucks in 5 video games, swept the Blues, beat the (Phoenix) Coyotes in 5 video games within the West last and downed New Jersey in a six-game Cup last. (They have to’ve preferred what they noticed in Ilya Kovalchuk in that collection, however that’s one other story for an additional time.) Los Angeles was the league’s second-best defensive membership within the common season; the issue was, they have been additionally the NHL’s second-worst offensive workforce. Jonathan Fast was glorious within the common season (35-21-Three, 1.95 GAA, .929 save share, 10 shutouts) and even higher within the playoffs (16-Four, 1.41 GAA, .946 save share, three shutouts) on his technique to the Conn Smythe Trophy. The 2013-14 Kings additionally received the Cup, giving L.A. two titles in a three-year span. They have been higher than the 2011-12 workforce within the common season, ending 10th within the total NHL standings, however wanted to work rather a lot tougher within the playoffs, posting a 16-12 document. Their first three collection all went seven video games, they usually made historical past within the first spherical by getting back from a Three-Zero collection deficit in opposition to San Jose. They have been additionally the primary workforce to win three Sport 7s on the highway. The 2013-14 Kings didn’t make the lower for this listing, however be at liberty to swap them in for the 2011-12 workforce.
Four. Pittsburgh Penguins 2016-17 (50-21-11 in common season, 16-9 in playoffs)The ’16-17 Pens turned the NHL’s first back-to-back Cup champ in practically 20 years, they usually did it with famous person scoring. Pittsburgh completed second total within the NHL standings, using a league-best offense led by Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kessel. Crosby completed second in scoring in each the common season (behind Connor McDavid) and playoffs (behind Malkin), whereas profitable his second profession Rocket Richard Trophy with 44 targets. The Penguins dispatched Columbus in 5 video games within the first spherical earlier than a seven-game showdown with (who else?) Washington, who had claimed the Presidents’ Trophy within the common season. The Caps got here again from a Three-1 collection deficit solely to fall quick within the winner-take-all Sport 7. The collection marked the ninth time in 10 playoff conferences between the 2 groups that Pittsburgh got here out on high. (Spoiler: Don’t really feel dangerous for Alex Ovechkin & Co., their time is coming.) Within the East last, Pittsburgh wanted double extra time in Sport 7 to get rid of the upstart Ottawa Senators, establishing a Cup battle with Nashville. The Penguins received in six video games, together with 6-Zero and 2-Zero victories in Video games 5 and 6. Identical to within the common season, Pittsburgh was the NHL’s highest-scoring workforce within the playoffs, with Malkin, Crosby, Kessel and Jake Guentzel ending 1-2-Three-Four in post-season scoring. On the different finish of the ice, Fleury was in internet for the primary two collection – Murray was injured simply previous to the beginning of Spherical 1 – earlier than giving technique to Murray halfway by the East last. Each goalies performed beautifully within the post-season, and Murray ended up along with his second Cup ring in the identical season that he was named to the NHL’s all-rookie workforce. Not even Ken Dryden pulled off that feat. Crosby, in the meantime, turned the primary repeat winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy since Mario Lemieux in 1991 and ’92.
Three. Washington Capitals 2017-18 (49-26-7 in common season, 16-Eight in playoffs)They lastly did it. Simply when it seemed like their Stanley Cup window was closing, the Capitals responded with a championship effort for the 44-year-old franchise’s first-ever NHL title. The primary decade-plus of the Ovechkin period featured regular-season dominance that inevitably led to playoff disappointment, often in soul-crushing style. And early within the 2018 playoffs, it seemed prefer it would possibly occur once more. The Caps began backup goalie Philipp Grubauer in opposition to Columbus in Spherical 1, solely to lose the primary two video games at house. Washington properly went again to incumbent starter Braden Holtby, and promptly received 4 straight to oust the Blue Jackets. That arrange a second-round conflict with (who else?) Pittsburgh, who had eradicated the Caps in every of the earlier two post-seasons, to not point out just about each different time the 2 groups confronted off within the playoffs. However this time it was Washington who got here out on high, taking the collection with a Sport 6 OT victory and ending the Pens’ bid for 3 straight Cups within the course of. It didn’t get any simpler within the East last, because the Capitals needed to come again from a Three-2 collection deficit to defeat Tampa Bay in seven video games. Holtby, who starred within the playoffs after an up-and-down common season, shut out the Bolts in Video games 6 and seven. Within the Cup last, Washington received 4 straight video games in opposition to enlargement Vegas after shedding the opener, with Holtby making ‘The Save’ late in Sport 5 to protect the Cup victory. Let the get together start.
2. Chicago Blackhawks 2012-13 (36-7-5 in common season, 16-7 in playoffs)It began with a streak, it ended with a Cup. The 2018-19 Lightning may need had essentially the most factors in a single common season through the previous decade (128), but it surely was the 2012-13 Blackhawks who posted one of the best factors share (.802), largely as a result of a shocking streak that lasted all through the primary half of the lockout-shortened, 48-game marketing campaign. Chicago set the NHL document for consecutive video games with some extent to begin a season, going 21-Zero-Three earlier than struggling their first regulation-time loss. The 2012-13 Blackhawks are the one workforce within the 2010s to win the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the identical season. They have been the second-highest scoring workforce and one of the best defensive membership within the common season, and stored the momentum going at each ends of the ice within the playoffs. After dumping Minnesota in 5 video games in Spherical 1, the Blackhawks encountered their largest impediment of the season once they fell behind Detroit Three-1 of their second-round collection. Three straight wins later, together with a Sport 7 victory in extra time, Chicago superior to the West last in opposition to the defending Cup champs from L.A. The Hawks made quick work of the Kings, taking the collection in 5 video games to maneuver on to the Cup last. The heavyweight tilt in opposition to Boston lasted six video games, with the Blackhawks finishing an unbelievable rally late in Sport 6, scoring twice in 17 seconds to say their second NHL championship in 4 years. Patrick Kane, who was fifth in regular-season scoring, completed second in playoff scoring to take the Conn Smythe Trophy.
1. Vegas Golden Knights 2017-18 (51-24-7 in common season, 13-7 in playoffs)Pardon the hyperbole, however this was one of the best efficiency by an enlargement workforce within the trendy historical past of sport. Vegas didn’t win the Stanley Cup, however the first-year Golden Knights – or ‘Golden Misfits,’ as they got here to be known as – shocked the hockey world by profitable, profitable, after which profitable some extra. From GM George McPhee constructing a Cup contender from different groups’ castoffs, to teach Gerard Gallant expertly guiding the newly fashioned Knights, to Fleury serving because the each the workforce’s smiling face and durable spine, to William Karlsson’s breakout 43-goal season to…properly, principally every part that would go proper for enlargement Vegas, did go proper for enlargement Vegas. Within the common season, they completed first of their division and fifth within the total NHL standings – after which have been even higher within the playoffs. Vegas swept Los Angeles within the first spherical, eradicated San Jose in six video games in Spherical 2 and dispatched extremely regarded Winnipeg in 5 video games within the West last. The Golden Knights even received the opening recreation of the Cup last, earlier than Ovechkin’s Capitals stormed again to win 4 straight and lift the silver chalice on Vegas ice. The Golden Knights couldn’t fairly full the fairytale ending, however that’s virtually irrelevant. The NHL has by no means seen a season like this one, and virtually absolutely won’t ever see something prefer it ever once more.
Over the subsequent two weeks, The Hockey Information will probably be wrapping up the 2010s with a glance again at one of the best – and worst – of the last decade. Discover extra right here.
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Tags: nhlConnect: In regards to the AuthorSam McCaigCopy editor Sam McCaig rejoined The Hockey Information in 2017 after beforehand working at THN from 1999 to 2010. His profession excessive for targets in a season is one.

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