Canada Returns to Stanley Cup, But Can They End the 23-Year Drought?

Last year was an all-time low for Canadian hockey.  Canadian teams were shut out of the Stanley Playoffs completely, ensuring that with the first playoff puck drop their Stanley Cup drought would extend to 23 years.  After being forced to watch the playoffs take place entirely below the 49th parallel in 2016, five Canadian teams are vying to break the curse – what are their chances?

1993

Montreal Canadiens Win Stanley Cup

Since then, while Canadian teams have reached the Stanley Cup Final – Vancouver (’94, ’11), Calgary (’04), Edmonton (’06) and Ottawa (’07), none have won.  In fact, each of these losses except Ottawa’s came in Game 7.

Four Game 7

Even worse, during this 23-year drought, teams from California, Florida and Texas have won 5 Stanley Cups.

2016

No Canadian Team in Stanley Cup

For only the second time in NHL history, no Canadian team makes the playoffs.

2017

Five Canadian Teams Reach Stanley Cup Playoffs

Canada quickly bounced back and this year has five teams in the playoffs – the most in over a decade.  Will any of them break the 23-year curse?  According to Hockey News, three Canadian teams (Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary) have a 20-percent or greater chance of at least making it to the conference finals, with only Montreal perceived as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.


Eastern Conference

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Ottawa Senators

Record 44-28-10 /
98 Points (2d)
2016 Record 38-35-9/
95 Points (5)
Last Stanley Cup  n/a Last Conf. Title 2007
Last Conf. Finals  2007 Last Series Won  2013
Hockey News

Odds to Win Cup

Hockey News ESPN First Round Opponent
 1.9%  30-1 Boston Bruins
First Round Prediction Hockey News CBC Sports Illustrated
 Bruins (58%)
Bruins in 6
Ottawa in 7 games. Bruins (74.7%)
Comment Ottawa swept the Bruins during the season, but Boston went 18-8-1 after firing coach Claude Julien and installing replacement Bruce Cassidy.

From BNN: “A deep playoff run is going to help make the case for them to get that new arena approved and built in downtown Ottawa. It’s really critical, I believe, that they move downtown and out of Kanata.”


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Toronto Maple Leafs

Record 40-27-15/
95 Points (3rd)
2016 Record 29-42-11/
69 Points (8th)
Last Stanley Cup 1967 Last Conf. Title 1967
Last Conf. Finals  2002 Last Series Won 2004
Hockey News

Odds to Win Cup

Hockey News ESPN First Round Opponent
 3.7%  40-1 Washington Capitals
First Round Prediction Hockey News CBC Sports Illustrated
 Capitals 70% Capitals in 5. Maple Leafs (50.5%)
Comment The Caps have won their 7th Division Title and 3rd President’s Cup since 2008, but have been unable to get past the second round.   Toronto, on the other hand, stumbled into the playoffs – losing three of their last four games.

124[1]

 

Montreal Canadiens

Record 47-26-9/ 103 Points (1st) 2016 Record 38-38-6/ 82 Points (6th)
Last Stanley Cup 1993 Last Conf. Title 1993
Last Conf. Finals 2014 Last Series Won 2015
Hockey News

Odds to Win Cup

Hockey News ESPN First Round Opponent
 8% 15-1 New York Rangers
First Round Prediction Hockey News CBC Sports Illustrated
Habs 65%
Habs in 6
Habs in 6 Habs 60.4%
Comment This is a rematch of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals.  Except this year, the Habs swept the Rangers in the regular season and are expected to make a deep playoff run on the back of their goalkeeper – Carey Price.

Western Conference

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Calgary Flames

Record 45-33-4/
94 Points (4th)
2016 Record 35-40-7/
77 Points (5th)
Last Stanley Cup 1989 Last Conf. Title 2004
Last Conf. Finals 2004 Last Series Won 2015
Hockey News

Odds to Win Cup

Hockey News ESPN First Round Opponent
2.7% 30–1 Anaheim Ducks
First Round Prediction Hockey News CBC Sports Illustrated
Ducks 67% Ducks in 6 Ducks 71.9%
Comment Calgary has been one of the hotter teams since the All Star break, but the Ducks finished with a 11-0-3 run.  Plus Calgary has never won at the Honda Center.

 


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Edmonton Oilers

Record 47-26-9/
103 Points (2nd)
2016 Record 31-43-8/
70 Points (7th)
Last Stanley Cup 1990 Last Conf. Title 2006
Last Conf. Finals 2006 Last Series Won 2006
Hockey News

Odds to Win Cup

Hockey News ESPN First Round Opponent
2.8% 16–1 San Jose Sharks
First Round Prediction Hockey News CBC Sports Illustrated
Sharks 53%
But picks Oilers in 6
Sharks in 7 Sharks 51.3%
Comment For the Oilers its their first playoff game since Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.  This one is seen as a toss-up.

The remaining two Canadian teams – Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets did not make the playoffs.

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