NHL Playoffs 2012: Power Ranking Each Playoff Team's Fanbase
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Here is a list of the greatest fanbases for the 16 teams that made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I compiled this power ranking by using ESPN’s attendance report combined with how committed the fans are to the game.
No. 1 New York Rangers
The Rangers' fans are the best because not only do they sell out Madison Square Garden, but they travel well, too.
The Rangers' opponents average a league-high 18,530 people per game when the Rangers come to town.
No. 2 Boston Bruins
The Bruins, like the Rangers, sell out their arena every night. Boston has some of the wildest fans in the NHL, and they also travel well, as they are second in the league with an average road attendance of 18,510.
No. 3 Chicago Blackhawks
Blackhawks fans may not have much to cheer about after their team lost in the first round for the second straight year, but they are some of the most passionate fans in the NHL.
After winning the cup two years ago, they were revitalized, and now they rock the United Center every night with a league-high 21,533 people per game.
No. 4 Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings fans are some of the best in the NHL. Despite the economy getting hit particularly hard in Detroit, fans continue to sell out Joe Louis Arena even after 21 straight playoff appearances.
Most fanbases would have a hard time maintaining a high level of commitment, but this Original Six franchise has some of the best fans in the NHL.
Who has the NHL's best fans?
No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers average the third-most fans in the NHL and have some of the most insane and animated fans in the league.
After defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, look for Flyers fans to provide a boost at home against the New Jersey Devils.
No. 6 Ottawa Senators
Despite their failed attempt to help the Senators upset the Rangers in the first round, Ottawa has some of Canada’s best fans.
They sell out almost every night and are some of hockey’s smartest fans.
No. 7 Vancouver Canucks
Canucks fans showed their passion last year when they rioted after losing to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals.
This year, they supported their team and did their best to provide a boost in the playoffs before they lost in the first round to the L.A. Kings.
No. 8 Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins fans may be some of the most spoiled in the league, as they have had the privilege of watching Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux, two of the NHL’s greatest players to ever lace up a pair of skates.
Pittsburgh fans are loud, know how to have fun and were extra motivated against the rival Flyers in their first-round loss.
No. 9 San Jose Sharks
Despite the Sharks continuously flaming out in the playoffs, their fans continue to support them. Even with the great weather during playoff time, the Sharks have some of the best fans in the Western Conference.
No. 10 Los Angeles Kings
Despite having to contend with two NBA teams, the Kings still manage to sell out the Staples Center because of a solid core of fans.
The Kings have rewarded their loyal and passionate fans by making the playoffs in three straight seasons and are contenders for the Stanley Cup after defeating the President’s Trophy winner Vancouver Canucks.
No. 11 Washington Capitals
Even though their suites are filled by local corporate sponsors, the Capitals' true fans shine through and bring energy to Verizon Center. With a highly talented offense and a new defensive system, Capitals fans may see their team go on a deep run this year.
No. 12 St. Louis Blues
Even though they don’t sell out every game, Blues fans love their hockey. This Midwestern team has a group of diehard fans that travel great lengths to support their team, and they give the Blues a boost when they are at home.
No. 13 Nashville Predators
In an area dominated by country music and college football, the Predators still have strong support built upon a growing fanbase.
After years of mediocrity, loyal fans are being rewarded, and they are showing up and bringing the type of energy usually reserved for a Kenny Chesney concert.
No. 14 Florida Panthers
Who has the worst fans in the NHL?
Though they lost in the first round, it wasn’t because of a lack of fan support. After years of lackluster performance on the ice, Panthers fans were rewarded with a division title, and they thanked their team by being an electrifying crowd and bringing back memories of the rat squad that went to the Stanley Cup Championship in 1996.
No. 15 New Jersey Devils
Unlike the Red Wings’ fans, the Devils’ fans have flamed out after years of success. Even though the team continues to perform on the ice, the fans have failed to show their support. It’s too bad, as this could be the last time they get to see Martin Brodeur wearing a Devils sweater.
No. 16 Phoenix Coyotes
Despite having the lowest attendance in the NHL, the Coyotes managed to make it to the playoffs thanks in part to being in one of the league’s worst divisions.
Even though they were battling for their first division championship, the local fans failed to support their team. Maybe after seeing their team defeat the Blackhawks in the first round they will take notice and provide the Coyotes with a hometown boost of energy.
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