The Stanley Cup Finals is one of the most celebrated championships in all of sports. Winning the Stanley Cup is the dream of every hockey player. For the past 30 years, NHL fans have seen many memorable hockey teams. These Stanley Cup champions are the most significant and memorable in recent memory.
1. 2018 Washington Capitals
The Capitals won their first Stanley Cup last season in their 45-year history. Last season was also the first Stanley Cup for star player Alex Ovechkin. In the past decade, the Capitals have been known to lose big playoff series. At last, in 2018, Washington got over the hump and the Caps were able to hoist Lord Stanley.
2. 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup title marked the fifth in franchise history. It was also the third of future Hockey Hall of Famer Sidney Crosby's career. The 2017 Penguins also won their second straight Cup, making them the first team to do so in nearly 2 decades. The team has been established as one of the dominant NHL franchises.
3. 2015 Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks won their sixth Stanley Cup in 2015, which was also the Hawks' third title in six years. Chicago's modern dynasty is one of the most memorable in NHL history. Their dominance in the early 2010s was defined by great coaching and several future Hall of Famers.
4. 2011 Boston Bruins
2011 was the first Stanley Cup championship for Boston since 1972. The Bruins had a talented roster that responded well to adversity. Their seven-game series against Vancouver was one of the most exciting series in NHL history. Bruins fans can rejoice in the fact that their team helped make Boston the dominant sports city of the 21st century.
5. 2001 Colorado Avalanche
The 2001 Colorado Avalanche were one of the most memorable teams in history. The Avalanche had several stars including Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, and Peter Forsberg. But, the biggest name on the team was Ray Bourque. After 21 NHL seasons, Bourque had yet to win a Stanley Cup. A championship was the only thing missing from his illustrious career. He finally won the Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. Captain Joe Sakic handed the Cup to Bourque, so he could be the first teammate to hoist the Cup.
6. 1998 Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings were arguably the most dominant hockey team during the 90s and 2000s. The height of the Wings' dominance was in 1998 when Detroit won their second straight Cup. Between 1997 and 2008, the Red Wings captured four Stanley Cups.
7. 1994 New York Rangers
1994 was the first Stanley Cup for the Rangers since 1940. Rangers fans had waited long enough for their team to win it all again. During that 54-year gap, the rival Islanders won four straight Cups from 1980-1983. A popular chant for Islander fans was "1940! 1940!" as a reminder of how long Rangers fans had suffered. Finally, in 1994, New York won the Stanley Cup, a truly memorable feat for Ranger fans.
8. 1993 Montreal Canadiens
1993 was the 24th Stanley Cup title for the Montreal Canadiens — the most in history. It was also the most recent for the storied organization. It was also the second in eight years for the team. Patrick Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP for the second time of his career.
9. 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins won their second straight Cup in 1992. It was the second title for Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux. The Penguins were one of the strongest teams in the late 80s and early 90s. Lemieux cemented his legacy as one of the best players in NHL history during the Stanley Cup runs of the early 90s.
10. 1990 Edmonton Oilers
After Wayne Gretzky led the Oilers to four Stanley Cups in the 1980s, Edmonton fans were stunned when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. In 1990, the Oilers would win their fifth Stanley Cup but first without Gretzky. They proved they could win a championship without the best players in history. Not many sports teams can say the same throughout sports history.
11. 1989 Calgary Flames
The Flames won their first and only Stanley Cup in 1989. For many years, Calgary fell short in winning it all, often losing to rival Edmonton. 1989 was a special year as the Flames finally overcame adversity and won the Cup. It has been 30 years since, but Flames fans still remember that special season.
Hoisting the Stanley Cup is the pinnacle of any NHL player's career. It is one of the hardest hills to climb in all of sports. But, winning Lord Stanley is the greatest prize of them all. This season, two teams will stand at the gates of hockey history in the Stanley Cup Finals. Only one team will have their names engraved on the Cup forever. Which team will it be?