10 Fascinating Facts About The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Scotty Bowman’s Four Straight

From 1976 to 1979, the Montreal Canadiens, coached by Scotty Bowman, won four consecutive championships. But they came at the expense of only two head coaches. Fred Shero was the coach of the Flyers in 1976 when they lost to the Habs. Don Cherry took the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final in 1977 and 1978, losing both times. And when the Habs beat the Rangers in 1979, Shero had made the move from Philadelphia to New York and lost to Bowman in the Final again.

Dick Irvin’s Annual Trip

From 1931 to 1955, teams coached by the great Dick Irvin appeared in the Final 16 times. The Irvin-led Maple Leafs lost in the Final six times in nine years from 1931 to 1940, winning once (1932). But Irvin would capture the Cup again in 1944, 1946 and 1953. In total, though, Irvin-coached teams would lose in the Final 12 times.

The Original Six

The NHL didn’t reduce to six teams until 1942. What is now called “The Original Six” became the NHL, and the top four teams at the end of the regular season played two best-of-seven series to determine the champion.

New Kids on the Block

In 1967, the NHL doubled in size from six to 12 teams. In each of the first three seasons after expansion, one of the new franchises, the St. Louis Blues, advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. Three years in a row the Blues, coached by Scotty Bowman, lost. In 1970, the loss was punctuated by Bobby Orr’s goal that was followed by his Superman-like dive, which has been immortalized in bronze.

The Four-Peat

Since 1950, only two organizations (and three coaches) have won four consecutive Stanley Cup championships:

  • Montreal Canadiens (Toe Blake): 1956-1960
  • Montreal Canadiens (Scotty Bowman): 1976-1979
  • New York Islanders (Al Arbour): 1980-83

In this era of the salary cap and player movement, it’s hard to imagine eight years in which only two cities hosted the Cup as champions, but from 1976 to 1983, only Montreal and New York won the title.

Boston’s Best

In the postseason history of the Boston Bruins, four players have reached 100 points: Raymond Bourque (161), Phil Esposito (102), Rick Middleton and John Bucyk (100 each). Bourque’s 161 points is the second-highest total for one organization by a defenseman, but what is more amazing is that Esposito posted his 102 points (46 goals, 56 assists) in only 71 postseason games.

The Habs-Bruins Rivalry

Anyone in Boston or Montreal will tell you the teams don’t like each other. But it isn’t because of their regular-season battles.The Habs and Bruins have faced each other in 33 playoff series, totaling 170 games. Montreal holds a 102-68 advantage and has outscored the Bruins 511-420 over the years.

Kurri’s Greatness

From 1980 to 1990, Jari Kurri was one of the most lethal scorers in the game for the Edmonton Oilers; it didn’t hurt that he was skating next to Wayne Gretzky for most of that time. Still, no player in NHL history has scored more postseason goals for one organization than the 92 that Kurri posted for the Oilers.

Passing 40

Only two players in NHL history have reached the 40-point plateau in a single postseason: Wayne Gretzky (three times) and Mario Lemieux. The last time the mark was achieved was by Gretzky in 1993.

151 Wins As A Goalie

Roy was the No. 51 pick in the 1984 NHL draft, and he would suit up for the Montreal Canadiens andĀ Colorado Avalanche. When Roy retired in 2003, he was the winningest goalie of all time, but the top two goaltenders on this list would later pass him. To this day, Roy still leads all goaltenders in playoff wins (151). Roy won four Stanley Cups, three Vezina Trophies and three Conn Smythe Trophies (a team MVP award). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006, and he’s currently the head coach of the New York Islanders.