The Stanley Cup Playoffs are one of the toughest playoffs to get through in sports. All ten of the Stanley Cup Champions in the 2010s had a unique story like winning it all after being dead last in the league or winning it all being an eighth seed. Superstars have been littered throughout this league and there have been plenty on all these champions. As the decade comes to a close, we look at the five best Stanley Cup Champions of the 2010s.
Five Best Stanley Cup Champions Of The 2010s
2015-16 Pittsburgh Penguins
2016 was the first of two championships this decade for the Pittsburgh Penguins. This team might’ve been slightly better than the 2016-17 team but they were very similar. They traded for star Phil Kessel that offseason to make them even stronger. After a bad start to the season, they fired head coach Mike Johnston and hired Mike Sullivan. The offense took off after a wake-up call. They had depth all over the place and even had to use a rookie goaltender in Matt Murray who posted a great goals-against average of 2.08. With great players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the team, it wasn’t a surprise this team did what they did. The Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks in six games to win the first cup of back-to-back championships.
2017-18 Washington Capitals
In their 44th season, the Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They led the Metropolitan division with 105 points and had a team full of talent, including the great eight, Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals struggled so long in the playoffs and couldn’t get over the bumps until 2018. They didn’t even start their number one goalie to start the playoffs. Washington started Philipp Grubauer instead of Braden Holtby but after losing the first two, they turned back the Holtby. He was on fire ever since coming back in as he had a goals against of 2.16 and a save percentage of .922. Ovechkin had a great cast around him in T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. They held off the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season in five games.
2010-11 Boston Bruins
Boston fan have been spoiled with championships and the Bruins contributed again with their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. The Boston Bruins run was led by fantastic goal-tending by Tim Thomas. Not only did Thomas win the Vezina Trophy, but he also won the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP. In the Playoffs, he had a 1.98 goals against average and an amazing .940 save percentage. They probably don’t win the cup without him but there were many other to contribute. David Krejci had a team-leading 12 goals and added 11 assists in the playoffs. Brad Marchand had 11 goals with eight assists and Patrice Bergeron added a team-leading 14 assists. They had a lot of great moments throughout the run and to beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.
2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks
For the first time since 1961, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and it was their fourth in franchise history. They kicked off the decade with a bang. A huge part of the playoff run was Jonathan Toews. He had the most points on the team in the playoffs with 29 but right behind him was none other than Patrick Kane with 28. Even though Antti Niemi wasn’t sharp in net, he still stood his ground and made sure his team got the win. They beat the Philadephia Flyers in six games to capture their first cup in a long time. Many fans recognized this team was great and has something special going on.
2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks are one of few teams to win the Presidents Trophy along with the Stanley Cup in the same year. In a lockout year, the Blackhawks were the most dominant team in the league. They had skill and grit throughout the lineup. Players like Kane, Toews, Marian Hossa, and Duncan Keith were the heart and soul of this team. Goaltender Corey Crawford went 16-7-2 throughout the players with a goals-against of 1.84 and a save percentage of .932. They had all the pieces to go for a run and win their second of three Stanley Cups this decade.
There were a lot of great moments in hockey this decade but nothing feels better than a Stanley Cup. The Capitals weren’t the only team to know the feeling of a first cup. The 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings and the 2018-19 St. Louis Blues won their first Stanley Cup this decade. There was also a back-to-back champion in the Penguins and the Blackhawks won three times in five years. The 2010s certainly saw a lot of great teams do what nobody thought they could do. As we move on to the next decade, we hope to see more moments like we have this past decade.
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