NHL Stanley Cup – Get to know
The NHL Stanley Cup is the NHL Finals Championship Trophy awarded to the NHL Finals winner, and is without a doubt, the largest trophy in professional sports. Ridiculously large…
The NHL in the current day consists of 31 teams, 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. These teams are divided into two conferences, the Eastern and Western Conference, that are further divided into the Pacific and Central divisions (Western Conference) and the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions (Eastern Conference).
The winners of each NHL Conference Finals face each other in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals series, scheduled for May-June each season. The team with the better regular season record gets home ice advantage.
NHL Stanley Cup Facts
10 fast facts about the Stanley Cup Finals
- There are actually three Stanley Cups; the original bowl of the “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup”, the authentic “Presentation Cup”, and the “Replica Cup” which remain at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- There have been two seasons where the Stanley Cup wasn’t awarded; in 1919 when there was an attack of the Spanish flu, and in 2005 due to a lockout (player salary related).
- The Boston Bruins played in three of the first four Stanley Cup series, winning only one.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs lost the Stanley Cup six times in eight years between 1933 and 1940.
- After failing to make the Cup in 1941, the Maple Leafs preceded to win six times between 1942 and 1952.
- Legendary coach Toe Blake led the Montreal Canadiens to five consecutive Stanley Cup victories from 1956-1960.
- The Conn Smythe Trophy has been awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1967.
- Patrick Roy is the only player to ever to win the Conn Smythe Trophy on three occasions.
- The Conn Smythe Trophy has been won by a left-winger just once; Bob Gainey of the Montreal Canadiens in 1979.
- The Conn Smythe Trophy has never been awarded to a player whose team didn’t reach the Stanley Cup Finals, and has gone to a member of the losing side on just five occasions.
Top 10 Stanley Cup Finals Plays
NHL Stanley Cup Betting
From the moment the Stanley Cup Champions are awarded, you can bet on the next season’s winners through the NHL Stanley Cup Futures Markets, and there is plenty of value to be had in the off-season for punters who follow trades and other news.
During the NHL season and Finals, you can bet head to head (simply picking the team you think will win in a given match).
Over/Under (select the number of goals you think will be scored during a match, oer period), the Points Spread (select a side with a handicap if they are the underdogs) or a Multibet/Parlay bet (select multiple winners and exotic markets of games, all in the same bet). Great for the bettors who like to live on the edge.
You can also bet on who will win the next period, who will score the next goal, who will score the first goal and whether or not a team will make the playoffs.
We will include all of the NHL betting types in our NHL betting section.
Past 5 NHL Stanley Cup winners
2017 – Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Nashville Predators 4-2.
Pittsburgh won their second consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, making the most of the home ice advantage. Captain Sidney Crosby led his team throughout the regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs; he was second in the NHL in points scored for the season and carried that form into the playoffs.
The Penguins won Game 1 5-3 despite Nashville having more than twice as many shots on goal.
Game 2 was the same story; Nashville shot more often but Pittsburgh won 4-1.
The Predators won Games 3 and 4 at home convincingly, but the Penguins shut out Games 5 and 6, winning 6-0 and 2-0 to shut out the Finals series.
2016 – Pittsburgh Penguins defeated San Jose Sharks 4-2.
The Penguins overcame the defending conference champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the Conference Finals and kept that form going, defeating the San Jose Sharks, who were making their Finals debut after 25 years in the NHL.
Pittsburgh won Games 1 and 2 by 2-1 and 3-2 respectively, taking early leads in both games and defending against last quarter comebacks from the Sharks.
The Sharks won Game 3 in OT thanks to a Joonas Donskoi goal, but lost Game 4 at home to find themselves facing elimination. The Sharks then caused an upset in Game 5, defeating the Penguins 4-2 but Pittsburgh won their fourth Stanley Cup with a 3-1 win away in San Jose in Game 6.
2015 – Chicago Blackhawks defeated Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2.
The Blackhawks rallied from a 2-1 series deficit, winning Games 4 and 6 on the road to win their third Stanley Cup Trophy in six seasons.
The first five games in the Finals were decided by a single goal, and in all five games the team with a higher shots total ended up losing.
Chicago bucked the trend in Game 6, having seven more shots on goal than Tampa Bay and turning a dominant display into a 2-0 shutout win. No goals were scored in the first period of games 4-6, with defence dominating attack from both teams. The Blackhawks’ hard-nosed defence proved to be the difference, conceding a total of just two goals in those three games.
2014 – Los Angeles Kings defeated New York Rangers 4-1.
The scoreline suggests a comfortable LA Kings win, however three of those games were decided in OT with Los Angeles winning all three matchups. The Kings came from two goals down in Game 1, and broke two-goal deficits on three occasions in Game 2 before taking a stranglehold on the series.
After being dominated in Game 3, New York avoided a Final’s sweep with a 2-1 win in which the Kings more than double New York’s shots on goal. But the Rangers’ revival was short lived as the Kings went on to win Game 5 by 3-2 in the second double OT game of the series.
The Los Angeles Kings created history, becoming the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7’s on the road in one playoff run, on their way to become Champions.
2013 – Chicago Blackhawks defeated Boston Bruins 4-2.
Chicago rallied from two goals down in the third period of Game 1, eventually winning a triple-overtime thriller 3-2. Milan Lucic put Boston ahead 2-0 early in the second period, but Chicago gradually wore down the Bruins in a game for the ages.
Boston tied the series in Game 2 as another game went into overtime, and then went ahead with a 2-0 win in Game 3.
The Blackhawks won a tense, high scoring Game 4 6-5, and defended the home ice in Game 5 to put Boston on the brink of Final’s elimination. The Bruins led twice in Game 6, but couldn’t hold on at home, with the Blackhawks scoring the winning goal in the dying seconds of the third period.
Past 5 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs MVPs (Conn Smythe Trophy)
2017 – Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh): 2nd in league in scoring (89 points), first in goals scored (44).
2016 – Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh): 3rd in league in scoring (85 points).
2015 – Duncan Keith (Chicago): 1 goal and 2 assists in Stanley Cup series.
2014 – Justin Williams (Los Angeles): 9 goals and 16 assists in Stanley Cup Playoffs.
2013 – Patrick Kane (Chicago): 19 points on 9 goals and 10 assists in Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 9 points in the final 10 games.
Who has won the most NHL Stanley Cups?
The Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups through 34 appearances, but have not been able to make it back to the biggest stage since 1993.
The Detroit Red Wings are the most successful American NHL team, winning 11 times from 24 appearances including consecutive recent wins in 2008-2009.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the second most successful NHL franchise, winning the Stanley Cup on 13 occasions. However, this is strongly tarnished by their current 50-year Championship drought, the longest in NHL history.