The Greatest Single Moment in Each NHL Team's Playoff History

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IApril 13, 2012

The Greatest Single Moment in Each NHL Team's Playoff History

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    The NHL has an incredible history, which the league did a wonderful job or bringing back into the postseason with their "History Will Be Made" series of commercials the last couple postseasons.

    Some franchises have rich histories, while others are just getting started. Some have won multiple championships, while others have just one. Unfortunately, not every team has been to the mountain top.

    What follows is a look at the greatest moment in each team's playoff history.

Anaheim Ducks

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    If a three-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey, then the greatest moment in Ducks playoff history was when Corey Perry scored at 17:00 in Game 5 of the 2007 Stanley Cup finals. The tally gave the Ducks a 6-2 lead in the game and effectively started the celebration.

Boston Bruins

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    In honor of his number, I'll limit my introductory comments to four words.

    Bobby Orr.

    Nineteen seventy.

    In overtime, Orr beat Hall of Famer Glenn Hall of the St. Louis Blues and then proceeded to imitate Superman. The photo is legendary, the goal is historic and the moment is what the Cup is all about.

Buffalo Sabres

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    The Sabres haven't won the Stanley Cup (yet), but they did have one infamous moment during the finals.

    Led by "The French Connection" in the third year of the organization, the Sabres made it to the Cup finals in 1975. That was an unusually hot summer in Buffalo, and they struggled with fog in the arena while battling the Philadelphia Flyers for the Cup.

    During one game, Jim Lorentz noticed a bat flying around the arena through the fog. With one quick swing of his stick, he finished the bat and the game continued.

    The Flyers won the series in six.

Calgary Flames

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    Quite simply one of the most league-wide respected and loved players of his time, Lanny McDonald came back for one last run for the Cup with the Flames. When they were handed the Cup, it was quickly passed to the legend's hands.

Carolina Hurricanes

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    With time ticking away in the third period, Eric Staal hit Justin Williams with a pass and Williams deposited the puck into an empty net to clinch the Stanley Cup in Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers in 2006. It is still the only championship won by the four major professional sports in North Carolina.

Chicago Blackhawks

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    After generations of Blackhawks fans had waited for the Cup to return to Chicago, it was in his third year in the NHL after being the team's first No. 1 overall pick that Patrick Kane scored an overtime Cup-clinching goal in Philly.

Colorado Avalanche

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    I don't care who you cheer for, it's impossible to not get choked up watching this.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    To be Determined.

Dallas Stars

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    Without question, the worst moment in Sabres playoff history came off the...foot...of Brett Hull in 1999.

Detroit Red Wings

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    Forty-two years ended after perhaps the longest third period of any Red Wings fan's life. Darren McCarty's goal held up as the game-winner and brought the Dead Wings back to life. They haven't stopped winning since.

Edmonton Oilers

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    In 1984, one dynasty was replaced by another when the Oilers defeated the four-time defending champion New York Islanders in the finals. Ken Linseman scored the Cup-clinching goal, like Detroit's McCarty, in in the second period of Game 5, but the Oilers held on to win the game and the title.

Florida Panthers

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    In 1996, an original Panther named Tom Fitzgerald scored the game-winning goal that clinched the Eastern Conference championship for Florida over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, that year belonged to the Avalanche.

Los Angeles Kings

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    Acquiring Wayne Gretzky is the greatest anything in Kings history outside of the records established by the Triple Crown Line. The Great One led the Kings to their only Cup finals in 1993. Unfortunately, L.A. lost to Montreal in that year's finals.

Minnesota Wild

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    Can eliminating the Dallas Stars—formerly the North Stars—from the 2011 playoffs on the regular season's final day count?

Montreal Canadiens

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    Picking the greatest playoff moment for the greatest franchise in NHL history is impossible. They have more championships and have had more incredible moments than all of the non-Original Six franchises combined.

Nashville Predators

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    File this one away for the next couple months.

    The most important moment in the postseason history of the Nashville Predators might be Shea Weber not getting suspended this year.

New Jersey Devils

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    The greatest moment(s) No. 11, as in the record number of road wins they piled up en route to winning the 1995 Stanley Cup, the first in franchise history.

New York Islanders

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    He might look like Seann William Scott in Goon, but Bob Nystrom is responsible for the biggest moment in Islanders history. He scored just over seven minutes into overtime to clinch the first of four consecutive Cups for the Isles, and ended the Habs run of four straight.

New York Rangers

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    Messier guaranteed a win and then backed it up with a hat trick. The video says the rest.

Ottawa Senators

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    Led by the CASH line and netminder Ray Emery, the Sens ran from last place in the division to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007. Unfortunately, their magic ran out against the Ducks.

Philadelphia Flyers

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    The biggest moment in Flyers postseason history came when Bernie Parent returned to the team before the 1973-74 season. He would lead the Broad Street Bullies to consecutive Cup titles in 1974 and 1975.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Still waiting.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Super Mario is responsible for every great moment in Pens history.

    Whether he was splitting defensemen to score an incredible goal or feeding a teammate like Jaromir Jagr, he was one of the most dominant forwards of any era.

    And if you want to look back to the final seconds from Marc-Andre Fleury against Detroit and the incredible playoff runs from Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, those never would have happened if Lemieux hadn't purchased the team to keep them in Pittsburgh.

    It's all about Super Mario. Period.

San Jose Sharks

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    Winning a Presidents' Trophy?

St. Louis Blues

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    Yeah, that's Bobby Orr...again.

    The Blues' run of three straight unsuccessful trips to the finals (1968-70) resulted in three sweeps, twice to the Habs and then, finally, to the Bruins in 1970. They got close, but they never got the cigar. And they haven't been back to the finals since Orr broke their hearts.

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Ruslan Fedotenko scored twice, the second of which was the Cup-clincher, in Game 7 of the 2004 finals. Like a few other champions on this list, Fedotenko scored in the middle of the second period and the Bolts had to hang on to win the title.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Most Leafs fans will tell you the most important Cup moment for the team will be their next one, but for a team with a great, storied history, we'll go with the last one as the most important so far.

    Jim Pappin scored at the end of the second period in Game 6 of the the 1967 finals and is still credited with the last Cup-clinching goal for the franchise.

Vancouver Canucks

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    Yup, still waiting.

Washington Capitals

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    They've only been to the finals once, in 1998, and were swept by the Red Wings.

    But we'll give credit where it's due. During that 1997-98 season, the Caps became the first team to have three players—Adam Oates, Phil Housley and current Washington coach Dale Hunter—reach 1,000 points in the same season.

Winnipeg Jets

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    One season in the books; nothing to report.