The 25 Greatest Underdog Stanley Cup Champions

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Last night the Pittsburgh Penguins won Game 7 against the Ottawa Senators to setup a Stanley Cup showdown with the Nashville Predators. The Predators had previously dispatched the Anaheim Ducks, to advance to their franchise first finals. The Penguins were expected to be in this position when the playoffs began, but the Predators clearly were not.

The Nashville Predators were the 16th overall seed in the NHL Playoffs this year, 8th in their Conference. In order to get to the Finals, they had to best the league’s 3rd (Chicago), 10th (St. Louis), and 6th (Anaheim) ranked teams from the regular season. The Penguins were the 2nd overall seed in the playoffs, and were able to defeat the 4th (Columbus), 1st (Washington), and 12th (Ottawa) ranked teams to get to the finals. So we’re left with the 2nd ranked team facing off against the 16th ranked team.

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While the Predators are playing very well, they should be seen as clear underdogs to the defending Stanley Cup Champions and their captain Sidney Crosby. If they are able to pull off the upset, they will clearly be one of the biggest underdog Stanley Cup Champions of all time.

Every year it seems there are teams that barely make the playoffs but turn around and win a series or two, surprising everyone, their own fans included. Who would have imagined the 2012 Los Angeles Kings, who were an 8th seed at the time, would have steamrolled through the playoffs and win a Stanley Cup? (Let’s help you out with the answer, no one saw it coming.)

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Here are the 25 Greatest Underdogs, in NHL Stanley Cup playoff history, to shock everyone and beat the league’s best teams en route to a Stanley Cup. If the Nashville Predators pull off the upset against Pittsburgh, we believe they will move everyone else on this list down one position and take their rightful position as the greatest underdog Stanley Cup Champion. We’ll be rooting for them.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs, 1962

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  • Seed: 2
  • Season: 1961-62
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Punch Imlach
  • Division (Finish): No Divisions, 2nd in NHL
  • Regular Season (Points): 37-22-11 (85)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 232 (180)

24. New York Rangers, 1933

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1932-33
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Lester Patrick
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): American (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 23-17-8 (54)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 135 (107)

23. New York Islanders, 1980

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1979-80
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Al Arbour
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Patrick (2nd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 39-28-13 (91)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 281 (247)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Bryan Trottier

22. Boston Bruins, 2011

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 2010-11
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Claude Julien
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Northeast (1st)
  • Regular Season (Points): 46-25-11 (103)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 246 (195)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Tim Thomas

21. Edmonton Oilers, 1990

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  • Seed: 2
  • Season: 1989-90
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: John Muckler
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Smythe (2nd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 38-28-14 (90)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 315 (283)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Bill Ranford

20. Toronto Maple Leafs, 1942

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  • Seed: 2
  • Season: 1941-42
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Hap Day
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): None (2nd in NHL)
  • Regular Season (Points): 27-18-3 (57)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 158 (136)

19. Montreal Canadiens, 1993

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1992-93
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Jacques Demers
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Adams (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 48-30-6 (102)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 326 (280)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Patrick Roy

18. Chicago Blackhawks, 2015

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  • Seed: 4
  • Season: 2014-15
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Joel Quenneville
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Central (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 48-28-6 (102)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 229 (189)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Duncan Keith

17. Carolina Hurricanes, 2006

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  • Seed: 2
  • Season: 2005-06
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Peter Laviolette
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Southeast (1st)
  • Regular Season (Points): 52-22-8 (112)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 294 (260)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Cam Ward

16. Pittsburgh Penguins, 2009

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  • Seed: 4
  • Season: 2008-09
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Dan Bylsma
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Atlantic (2nd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 45-28-9 (99)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 264 (239)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Evgeni Malkin

15. Toronto Maple Leafs, 1949

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  • Seed: 4
  • Season: 1948-49
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Hap Day
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): None (4th in NHL)
  • Regular Season (Points): 22-25-13 (57)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 147 (161)

14. Chicago Blackhawks, 1961

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1960-61
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Rudy Pilous
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): None (3rd in NHL)
  • Regular Season (Points): 29-24-17 (75)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 198 (180)

13. Toronto Maple Leafs, 1945

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1944-45
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Hap Day
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): None (3rd in NHL)
  • Regular Season (Points): 24-22-4 (52)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 183 (161)

12. Chicago Blackhawks, 1934

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  • Seed: 2
  • Season: 1933-34
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Tommy Gorman
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): American (2nd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 20-17-11 (51)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 88 (83)

11. Pittsburgh Penguins, 1992

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1991-92
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Scotty Bowman
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Patrick (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 39-32-9 (87)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 343 (308)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Mario Lemieux

10. New Jersey Devils, 2000

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  • Seed: 4
  • Season: 1999-00
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Larry Robinson
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Atlantic (2nd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 45-24-8 (103)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 251 (203)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Scott Stevens

9. Toronto Maple Leafs, 1964

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1963-64
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Punch Imlach
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): None (3rd in NHL)
  • Regular Season (Points): 33-25-12 (78)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 192 (172)

8.  Montreal Canadiens, 1971

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1970-71
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 8
  • Head Coach: Al MacNeil
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): East (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 42-23-13 (97)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 291 (216)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Ken Dryden

7. Montreal Canadiens, 1986

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  • Seed: 2
  • Season: 1985-86
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Jean Perron
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Adams (2nd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 40-33-7 (87)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 330 (280)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Patrick Roy

6. Los Angeles Kings, 2014

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  • Seed: 6
  • Season: 2013-14
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Darryl Sutter
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Pacific (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 46-28-8 (100)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 206 (174)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Justin Williams

5. Detroit Red Wings, 1997

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1996-97
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Scotty Bowman
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Central (2nd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 38-26-18 (94)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 253 (197)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Mike Vernon

4. New Jersey Devils, 1995

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  • Seed: 5
  • Season: 1994-95
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Jacques Lemaire
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Atlantic (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 22-18-8 (52)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 136 (121)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Claude Lemieux

3. Toronto Maple Leafs, 1967

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1966-67
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Punch Imlach
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): None (3rd in NHL)
  • Regular Season (Points): 32-27-11 (75)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 204 (211)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Dave Keon

2. Chicago Blackhawks, 1938

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  • Seed: 3
  • Season: 1937-38
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 4
  • Head Coach: Bill Stewart
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): American (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 14-25-9 (37)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 97 (139)

1. Los Angeles Kings, 2012

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  • Seed: 8
  • Season: 2011-12
  • No. of Playoff Teams: 16
  • Head Coach: Darryl Sutter
  • Division (Reg. Season Standing): Pacific (3rd)
  • Regular Season (Points): 40-27-15 (95)
  • Goals For (Goals Against): 194 (179)
  • Conn Smythe Trophy Winner: Jonathan Quick