5 Historic NHL Stanley Cup Finals Sweeps

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Stanley Cup Finals Sweeps
Image Source: Josh Appel

The Colorado Avalanche took Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals in overtime against two-time defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning, thanks to Andre Burakovsky‘s overtime winner. And, they took Game 2 after a 7-0 blowout. Tampa Bay is seeking to three-peat against an Avalanche team that has been on fire throughout these playoffs. Colorado swept the Nashville Predators, beat the St. Louis Blues in six, and swept the Edmonton Oilers at the Western Conference finals.

The Avalanche are only making their third-ever appearance in the finals and first since 2001. They are yet to lose a Stanley Cup Final Series in their history and will be looking to overcome their biggest challenge of the season. 

The NHL odds are in favor of the Avalanche to win the series with some pundits even going as far as predicting a sweep (no team has achieved this since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998). However, the defending champions know a thing or two about bouncing back from Game 1 losses in the grandest of stages, so it will be interesting to see how they respond.

We’ll have to wait to find out if this year’s classic ends in a 4-0 sweep. In the meantime, we decided to throwback to some historic Stanley Cup Finals sweeps over the years

Five Historic Stanley Cup Finals Sweeps

1960 NHL Stanley Cup Finals (Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs)

Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: N/A

The Canadiens were on a streak of four consecutive Stanley Cup Finals wins and were looking to make it five out of five against their bitter rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. This series was a rematch of the previous year’s finals which the Montreal Canadiens took by four games to one.

The series ended 4-0 in favor of the Canadiens who became the first team to win five consecutive Stanley Cup titles. No other team has achieved this feat in Stanley Cup Finals history. The Canadiens are also the only team to sweep a finals Series six times.

1997 NHL Stanley Cup Finals (Detroit Red Wings vs Philadelphia Flyers)

Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Mike Vernon

The Red Wings were making their second finals appearance in three years with the hope of bouncing back from their 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils in 1996. The Flyers, on the other hand, had not featured in the finals since 1987, a series in which they lost to the Edmonton Oilers four games to 3.

Head Coach Scotty Bowman was already a five-time champion, after leading the Canadiens to four championships and the Pittsburgh Penguins to one. The Red Wings front office had made significant changes to the team that lost the 1996 finals to Colorado. Although their regular-season record (38) was a shadow of their record-breaking 1996 season (62 wins), the Red Wings would go on to defeat the St. Louis Blues, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Colorado Avalanche before sweeping the Flyers in the finals.

The Red Wings won the Series without having home-ice advantage They were the last team to do so until 2009 when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Detroit 4-3.

Bowman’s Detroit would also go on to sweep the Washington Capitals the following year. No other team has swept a finals series ever since.

1970 NHL Stanley Cup Finals (Boston Bruins vs St. Louis Blues)

Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Bobby Orr

The Bruins had not appeared in the Stanley Cup finals since 1958 when they lost to the Canadiens four games to two. Boston was seeking its first title since their 4-0 sweep against the Red Wings in 1941. 

As for the Blues, they were making their third consecutive finals appearance after losing the previous two 4-0. St. Louis was going into the game with a 0-11 finals record and was looking to redeem themselves this time. But their final woes kicked in again as they lost the series 4-0 to the Bruins. This marked their 12th straight finals loss. 

The Blues would not appear in a Stanley Cup final again until 2019 when they defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3, ending a 52-year championship drought.

1983 NHL Stanley Cup Finals (New York Islanders vs Edmonton Oilers)

Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Billy Smith

The Montreal Canadiens may be the only franchise to win five consecutive titles but the New York Islanders came close to matching their record in the 80s. 

The Islanders went into the 1983 finals on the back of three consecutive finals wins and were looking to clinch a fourth title against Edmonton. The Oilers were making their first-ever finals appearance but were no match for the Islanders, losing the best of seven series after four games. New York remains the last team to win four straight Stanley Cups, and the only team to win four consecutive championships in any North American professional sports league consisting of at least 20 teams.

The Oilers would later avenge the loss the following year, defeating the Islanders 4-1 and halting their finals winning streak. 

1996 NHL Stanley Cup Finals (Colorado Avalanche vs Florida Panthers)

Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Joe Sakic

The Avalanche moved from Quebec City to Denver in 1996 (they were formerly known as Quebec City Nordiques), and made their first-ever Stanley Cup finals appearance.

Florida was also making its first finals appearance in its third season since entering the league in 1993. To this day, only four NHL teams have had a faster route to the Stanley Cup finals since its establishment. 

The 1993 Stanley Cup finals also marked the first time the two competing teams were making their first finals appearance since the league’s formation. 

Colorado had to go through the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, and Red Wings to make it to the finals. They won each of these series by four games to two). Florida overcame the Bruins 4-1, took the Flyers to six games, and won against the Penguins after seven games.

But it was Colorado who came out on top, sweeping the Panthers and winning the first of two titles in franchise history. Can the Avalanche win a third?

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Trent Raynard

I was very disappointed when the Red Wings swept the Flyers. I was all in on Lindros and the Legion of Doom that year. I had bet my friend the Flyers would win and had to deal with the humiliation of the sweep.