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Each NHL Franchise's Greatest Moment

Alex HCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2016

Each NHL Franchise's Greatest Moment

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    Each NHL franchise has gone through moments that are good, bad, memorable and heartbreaking.

    Teams such as the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs have won many Stanley Cups, giving them so many terrific moments.

    Other teams such as the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues have never won a championship, but they've had plenty of incredible moments.

    Even young franchises such as Nashville and Minnesota have had exciting moments.

    Here is a look at each NHL franchise's greatest moment.

Anaheim Ducks: Winning the 2007 Stanley Cup

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    When Scott Niedermayer signed with Anaheim in the summer of 2005, he said it was because he wanted to help his younger brother Rob win a Stanley Cup, whom the elder brother had defeated in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals.

    It took just two seasons for Scott to fulfill that promise.

    The Ducks met Ottawa in the Stanley Cup Final. Anaheim's checking line of Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer and Samuel Pahlsson was excellent in shutting down the Sens' top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza, and the Ducks dominated the Senators, defeating them in five games.

    Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who won the 2003 Conn Smythe trophy, finally won his first ring, as did future Hall of Famers Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne.

    The Stanley Cup was Anaheim's first and only championship, making this a no-brainer for the best moment in Ducks history.

Boston Bruins: Bobby Orr Goes Flying

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    The 1969-70 Bruins were looking to win their first Stanley Cup in 29 years. Led by Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Johnny Bucyk, the Bruins defeated the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks to meet St. Louis for the Stanley Cup.

    Boston took the first three games, but arguably the most famous moment in NHL history occurred in Game 4.

    The game was tied 3-3 in overtime, and 40 seconds in, Derek Sanderson passed to Orr in front of the net, who slammed it home to give Boston its fourth Stanley Cup.

    What made this goal even more famous was Orr's celebration: he was tripped up by a Blues player and put his arms in the air as he fell to the ice.

    A picture is indeed worth a 1000 words.

Buffalo Sabres: Upsetting Boston in the 1993 Playoffs

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    The Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres faced off in the Adams Division semifinals to open the playoffs.

    The Bruins had the second most points in the league with 109, while the Sabres barely squeaked into the playoffs with 86.

    Behind great play from goaltender Dominik Hasek, the Sabres pulled off the stunning four-game sweep, thanks to Brady May's "May Day!" overtime goal to send the Bruins packing.

    Buffalo was swept by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadiens, but not before the franchise captured its greatest moment.

Calgary Flames: Franchise Wins First Stanley Cup in 1989

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    The 1988-89 Flames featured a dominant squad loaded with talent, including Doug Gilmour, Theoren Fleury, Joe Mullen, Joe Nieuwendyk, Al MacInnis and Mike Vernon.

    They captured the President's Trophy with a league-leading 117 points.

    After getting through Vancouver, Los Angeles and Chicago, they met an equally dominant team in the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup.

    Captain Lanny McDonald was in his final season and hoping to win his first championship, and his team would not let him down.

    He scored a goal in the decisive Game 6, as the Flames rolled to a 4-2 win.

    To date, this remains the Flames' only Stanley Cup, and the fact they won it for their aging captain is truly remarkable and inspiring, thus making it the franchise's top moment.

Carolina Hurricanes: First Stanley Cup in 2006

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    The 2006 Carolina Hurricanes finished second in the Eastern Conference, but quickly fell behind in the first round to Montreal 2-0 in the series.

    Cam Ward took over for Martin Gerber and there was no looking back from there. Carolina won the next four games, swept New Jersey, then took out the red-hot Buffalo Sabres to make it to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four seasons, facing off against the Edmonton Oilers.

    The Hurricanes led the series 3-1 against the Oilers, but Edmonton rallied to win the next two games to set up a winner-take-all Game 7 in Raleigh.

    Carolina got off to a great start, scoring 1:26 into the opening frame, before adding another goal in the second.

    Edmonton scored early in the third, but Carolina held on and added an empty-net goal to win 3-1.

    Veterans Rod Brind'Amour and Ray Whitney finally got their first Stanley Cup rings.

    Carolina has made the playoffs just once since, but winning the Stanley Cup is an honor, and 12 other teams are still looking for their first.

Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane's OT Winner Wins First Cup in 49 Years

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    Chicago entered the 2009-10 season as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

    Young stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane turned the team from perennial losers into one of the Western Conference's elite teams, and Chicago picked up plenty of talent along the way.

    Antti Niemi manned the net, while Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook formed one of the deepest defenses in recent memory. Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Dustin Byfuglien were also key contributors in their successful campaign.

    Chicago survived early scares from Nashville and Vancouver in the first two rounds until they easily swept San Jose in the Western Conference Final.

    The Blackhawks met the pesky Flyers for the Stanley Cup, and with Chicago leading the series 3-2, Game 6 went into overtime with the score tied 3-3.

    Patrick Kane scored a goal that confused everyone, but it just got by Michael Leighton to secure the Blackhawks' first championship in 49 years.

    A long-suffering fanbase was rewarded for remaining patient for almost half a century.

    It couldn't have come in better fashion.

Colorado Avalanche: Ray Bourque Goes out on Top

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    Raymond Bourque is the all-time leader in goals, assists and points for defensemen with 410, 1169 and 1579, respectively.

    It would have been a shame if he hung up his skates without hoisting a Stanley Cup—which nearly occurred.

    In the twilight of his career, Bourque knew Boston did not give him his best chance to win a championship, so he requested a trade to a contender, for which few could blame him.

    His wish was fulfilled, and he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2000. Unfortunately, they fell to the Dallas Stars in seven games, falling one game short of the Stanley Cup Final.

    The Avalanche won the President's Trophy in 2001, and eventually met the defending Champion New Jersey Devils for the Cup.

    New Jersey led the series 3-2 with a chance to wrap up the series on home ice. Fortunately for the Avs, they won that game 4-0 to send the series back to Denver for Game 7.

    Colorado won 3-1, and in one of the classiest moments the sport has witnessed, Captain Joe Sakic received the Cup and immediately handed it over to a grateful Bourque, who completed the perfect career in a script that Hollywood couldn't write.

    Goosebumps? I think so.

Columbus Blue Jackets: First and Only Postseason Appearance in 2009

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets have struggled mightily as a franchise and have just one postseason appearance in its history.

    That occurred in 2009, when Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason guided the Blue Jackets to their first playoff series in franchise history, where his goaltending was key all season.

    Columbus had the misfortune of playing the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings and was swept by the defending Cup champs.

    The Blue Jackets are currently rebuilding, and with plenty of talented prospects in the system, should be a consistent playoff team in the next few years.

    Until that comes, their 2009 season, which resulted in its only playoff berth, remains one of the lone bright spots for the franchise's history.

Dallas Stars: Brett Hull's Controversial Goal Wins Stanley Cup

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    The 1998-99 Dallas Stars won the President's Trophy and the Stanley Cup, making them one of the most dominant teams of the 1990s. 

    That didn't come without controversy, of course.

    The Stars and Sabres squared off for hockey's ultimate prize, and the Stars carried a 3-2 series lead going into Game 6.

    With the game tied 1-1, three periods and two overtimes solved nothing, so triple OT was required.

    Stars forward Brett Hull found a loose puck in front of the net and put it in past goaltender Dominik Hasek to clinch the Stars' first and only Stanley Cup.

    Back then, rules stated that a player could not score a goal if any part of their body was in the crease.

    Watch the video, and you be the judge.

    Whether it truly was a goal doesn't take away what is the greatest moment in Dallas Stars history.

Detroit Red Wings: Ending a 42-Year Cup Drought in 1997

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    It doesn't get much better than the 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings.

    They had a roster like no other, with all-time greats Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mike Vernon, Larry Murphy and Vyacheslav Kozlov forming one of the most talented teams the league has ever seen.

    Detroit was looking to win their first Stanley Cup since 1955, entering the playoffs as the third seed in the Western Conference.

    Detroit got by St. Louis and Anaheim in the first two rounds before knocking off the Colorado Avalanche in the Conference finals, their biggest rivals at the time.

    There was no slowing down this squad, as Detroit swept the Philadelphia Flyers to end a 42-year Cup drought. Goaltender Mike Vernon was given the Conn Smythe for his incredible performance throughout the postseason.

Edmonton Oilers: First Stanley Cup in 1984

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    The Edmonton Oilers were a team on a mission to win their first Stanley Cup. Their 1983-84 squad had all the pieces in the making.

    Wayne Gretzky captained a team that set the record (which still stands today) for most goals scored in a season with 446. Gretzky scored 87 goals and 201 points, while Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and Mark Messier each scored more than 100 points, and Glenn Anderson chipped in with 99 of his own.

    Edmonton was forced to meet the New York Islanders for the Stanley Cup, whom the Oilers had lost to the year before. New York had won the last four Stanley Cups, and were looking to build upon an already-established dynasty.

    The young Oilers were on the winning side this time, defeating the mighty Isles in five games to win their first ever Stanley Cup.

    This was only the beginning of glory for Edmonton, as they won five Stanley Cups between 1984 and 1990.

Florida Panthers: Lone Stanley Cup Appearance in 1996

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    The Florida Panthers were a pleasant surprise in 1995-96.

    It was only the franchise's third year in existence. 

    Goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck carried the team on his back, and the Panthers made their first postseason appearance.

    Florida took out Boston in the opening round, before upsetting the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers and second-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins to make it to the Stanley Cup Final.

    Unfortunately, they ran into the powerhouse Colorado Avalanche, who swept them in four games, capped off by a triple-overtime goal by Uwe Krupp in the decisive Game 4.

    It was almost a Cinderella story for Florida, but they ultimately came up short. This remains as their only appearance in the Final, therefore making it the best moment for a struggling franchise.

Los Angeles Kings: First Stanley Cup in 2012

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    Few gave the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings a chance to knock off the President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs in 2012.

    No one thought they would win the Stanley Cup.

    That's exactly what happened. Behind excellent defense, and a reborn offense that had scored just 194 in the regular season (29th in the league) and a Conn Smythe performance by Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles won their first-ever Stanley Cup.

    The Kings knocked off Vancouver in five games, swept the second-seeded St. Louis Blues, then knocked off the third-seeded Phoenix Coyotes to meet New Jersey for the Stanley Cup.

    LA stormed out to a 3-0 series lead, but the Devils rallied to win Games 4 and 5 to make the series 3-2.

    The Kings gave their fans a scare, but it was worth the wait, as they crushed New Jersey 6-1 in Game 6 to win the Cup.

    They also became the first eighth-seeded team to win the Stanley Cup. What makes this more remarkable is how dominant they were, going 10-1 on the road in the playoffs and taking out the Western Conference's top three teams.

Minnesota Wild: Upsetting Colorado for First-Ever Playoff Series Win

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    In just their third season of existence, the Minnesota Wild qualified for the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs. They had the seeming misfortune of playing the Colorado Avalanche.

    Colorado boasted All-Stars Rob Blake, Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner Peter Forsberg and league-leading goal scorer Milan Hejduk, who potted 50 on the season.

    Minnesota was not expected to do much against such a talented squad but surprisingly stole Game 1 in Denver, 4-2.

    Colorado wound up winning the next three, but the Wild took Game 5 3-2, and Richard Park scored in overtime of Game 6 to force a winner-take-all Game 7.

    The game was tied 2-2, and overtime was once again needed.

    Andrew Brunette cut to the net and scored on a lovely backhand goal to pull off the stunning come-from-behind upset.

    Minnesota also defeated Vancouver in seven games in Round 2, becoming the first team to win two series in a single postseason in which they trailed 3-1.

    Minnesota was eventually swept by Anaheim in the Western Conference Finals, but an upset for the ages makes this the greatest all-time moment for the Wild.

Montreal Canadiens: Greatest Team Ever Assembled

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    It's difficult to choose one moment from the most dominant and storied NHL franchise. So we will pick the best of the best.

    The 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens are without a doubt the greatest team the NHL has ever witnessed.

    This team was absolutely loaded with players who wound up in the Hall of Fame. Among them are: Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson, Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Steve Schutt, Serge Savard and Yvon Cournoyer.

    The Habs outscored opponents by 216 goals in an 80-game season. They also set the record for most points in a season with a ridiculous total of 132, which no team has matched since. Montreal also lost just eight games that season, another record that stands today.

    To no one's surprise, they won the Stanley Cup after sweeping Boston in the Final. 

    What a team it was, and it's doubtful we will ever see a team who was just as dominant as the 1976-77 Habs.

Nashville Predators: First Playoff Series Win in 2011

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    Entering the 2011 NHL playoffs, Nashville had made the postseason five times, but had never won a playoff series.

    That all changed when they met Anaheim in the first round.

    The Ducks had a dangerous scoring attack, led by Hart and Rocket Richard Trophy winner Corey Perry. Along with him, Anaheim also had Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan to form one of the most feared offenses in the league.

    Nashville's top defensive pairing of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, along with stud goaltender Pekka Rinne, were able to shut down the Ducks' top players throughout the series and finished off the Ducks in six games.

    It was a tough series for both teams, but Nashville managed to hang on to win its first-ever playoff series.

New Jersey Devils: Upsetting Detroit for 1995 Stanley Cup

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    New Jersey won three Stanley Cup Championships from 1995-2003. But the one that stands out most is the first, which was won in 1995.

    The Devils met Detroit for the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings won the President's Trophy as the league's top team.  Defenseman Paul Coffey was their leader in points with 58 (the season was shortened to 48 games after a lockout that delayed the season for more than three months.)

    Detroit was heavily favored to win the series, but New Jersey shocked the hockey world by taking out the Wings in a four-game sweep.

    Thanks to spectacular play by Martin Brodeur, a brilliant neutral-zone trap system invented by mastermind head coach Jacques Lemaire and a Conn Smythe performance by power forward Claude Lemieux, New Jersey won its first Stanley Cup.

    It remains one of the biggest upsets in Stanley Cup Final history.

New York Islanders: Four in a Row

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    The New York Islanders were on the verge of securing a dynasty in 1983. They had already won three Stanley Cups in a row, and were trying to entrench themselves on the Mount Rushmore of NHL dynasties.

    Mike Bossy led the charge with a 60-goal season, supported by key players in Brian Trottier, Butch Goring, Denis Potvin and clutch goaltender Billy Smith.

    New York played a young Edmonton Oilers team, which featured All-Star Wayne Gretzky. The Isles knew they couldn't take such an inexperienced team for granted. It paid off.

    The Islanders swept Edmonton to win their fourth Stanley Cup in a row. No team has won three consecutive Cups since, and only three other teams have won back-to-back championships. 

    This is the greatest moment in Islanders history, winning four in a row to secure one of the most dominant dynasties the sports world has witnessed.

New York Rangers: First Stanley Cup in 54 Years

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    The New York Rangers are one of the Original Six teams. The fact they went 54 years without a Stanley Cup is difficult to believe—but it's true.

    The Blueshirts' faithful was optimistic about its team finally winning the Stanley Cup after the Rangers captured the President's Trophy, finishing with a 52-24-8 record.

    New York's team consisted of many players who were part of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty that won five Stanley Cups in seven seasons, including Captain Mark Messier, Esa Tikkanen, Glenn Anderson, Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe.

    They played the surprising Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup. Vancouver took Game 1 in overtime, but the Rangers took the next three games to hold a 3-1 series lead. There would be no parade just yet, as the Canucks took Games 5 and 6 to force Game 7.

    The Rangers led 3-1 in the third period, but an early goal by the Canucks made it a 3-2 game. Vancouver had multiple chances, but thanks to the post and a little help from Mike Richter, the Rangers barely held on to win their first Stanley Cup in more than a half-century.

    Brian Leetch was awarded the Conn Smythe for his strong play throughout the playoffs. 

    The good folks of Manhattan could finally celebrate after years of misery.

Ottawa Senators: Winning the 2007 Eastern Conference Final

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    Ottawa met Buffalo in the Eastern Conference Final, with the winner meeting Anaheim for the Stanley Cup.

    The Senators were hoping to avenge a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Sabres in the previous year's Conference semifinals, losing in five games.

    Ottawa had taken out the Penguins and Devils, while Buffalo took out the Islanders and narrowly defeated the Rangers for a playoff rematch.

    The Sabres had won the President's Trophy, and led by Chris Drury and Danny Briere, formed a dangerous offense full of depth.

    The Sens managed to slow down Buffalo's prolific scoring attack, defeating them in five games, capped off by Daniel Alfredsson's goal in overtime of Game 5.

    Ottawa had avenged the previous season's defeat, and went on to what remains the franchise's only Stanley Cup appearance.

Philadelphia Flyers: First Stanley Cup Championship in 1974

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    It took the Broad Street Bullies just seven seasons to win their first Stanley Cup, which came in the 1973-74 season.

    With Bernie Parent, one of the all-time greatest goaltenders, between the pipes, Dave Schultz acting as the ultimate enforcer, and led by Bobby Clarke and Rick MacLeish on offense, the Flyers were a force to be reckoned with.

    They intimidated their opponents with their physical style of play, getting past Atlanta and the New York Rangers in the first two rounds of the playoffs to meet Boston for the Cup.

    Philadelphia managed to get by Bobby Orr's Bruins in six games to capture their first Stanley Cup. They repeated in 1974-75, but the franchise's first Cup is always the more special, thus making it their best moment.

Phoenix Coyotes: First Playoff Series Win Since Moving to the Desert

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    The Phoenix Coyotes surprised everyone when they won their first Pacific Division title in 2012. In the Western Conference Quarterfinals, they met the tough, high-scoring Chicago Blackhawks.

    Many expected the likes of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa to have no problem going up against the Desert Dogs, but that is not what happened.

    After the Blackhawks scored last-minute goals in Games 1 and 2, the series was split heading back to the Windy City for Games 3 and 4. Phoenix won both games in overtime, with a chance to win their first series since moving to the Desert in Game 5.

    Jonathan Toews scored in overtime to force a Game 6 back at the United Center.

    Mike Smith's goaltending was excellent throughout the series, as the Coyotes shut out Chicago 4-0 to finally win a playoff series. It took a long time, but it was worth the wait.

    The Coyotes would end up in the Western Conference Final, before being defeated by the Kings in five games. But this season wasn't all for nothing, as they captured the greatest moment in Coyotes history.

Pittsburgh Penguins: First of Back-to-Back Cups in 1991

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    It's almost unfair how stacked this Penguins team was in the 1990-91 season. 

    Tom Barrasso was one of the best goaltenders during the season, with a 27-16-3 record.

    Pittsburgh's offense was loaded with Mark Recchi leading the way, scoring 113 points. John Cullen added 94, while defenseman Paul Coffey netted 93.

    It doesn't stop there, as future superstars Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Larry Murphy and Kevin Stevens also played pivotal roles in winning the franchise's first Stanley Cup.

    After narrowly getting by New Jersey in the Division Semifinals, the Penguins defeated Washington in the Division Finals, then got past Boston in the Conference Final to meet the Minnesota North Stars for Lord Stanley's Mug.

    Pittsburgh trailed the series 2-1 but rallied to win the next three games to capture its first Stanley Cup. 

    One of the most dominant Cup-winning teams the league has ever witnessed.

San Jose Sharks: Upsetting the Heavily Favored Red Wings in 1994

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    One of the greatest upsets in NHL history—no doubt about it.

    San Jose was in their third season of existence but managed to qualify for the 1994 playoffs. Unfortunately, they had to face off against the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings. 

    Chris Osgood and Tim Cheveldae formed an excellent goaltending tandem, while Detroit's offense was filled with superstars in Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, Ray Sheppard, Paul Coffey, Nicklas Lidstrom and Vyacheslav Kozlov.

    The series was tied 3-3, and Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena was tied 2-2, and it appeared that this game was headed to overtime.

    That was until Chris Osgood made a crucial mistake, coming out to play the puck off the boards. It went right to Jamie Baker, who had 17 points all season, and he scored in the yawning cage to give the Sharks a late lead.

    San Jose managed to hold on and pulled off an upset in the most unlikeliest of scenarios.

St. Louis Blues: Trading for Brett Hull

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    In one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history, the St. Louis Blues received Brett Hull and Steve Bozek from Calgary in exchange for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.

    Hull scored 527 goals and 936 points in 744 games for the Blues.

    Ramage scored 23 points in 80 games for the Flames, while Wamsley recorded two assists and never played a full season with Calgary.

    The Blues added the man who would finish third all-time in goals scored with 741. The majority of those came with St. Louis.

    St. Louis remained a consistent playoff team with Hull leading the charge; they never missed the playoffs in his 11 seasons with the team.

    We can only wonder what would have happened to this organization if they never made the trade.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Lone Stanley Cup Win in 2004

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    The Lightning were the top seed in the Eastern Conference, due in large part to the 245 goals which were good enough for most in their Conference.

    Martin St. Louis won the Art Ross Trophy, scoring 94 points. Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier, Fredrik Modin, Cory Stillman and Dave Andreychuck each scored more than 20 goals to boast one of the most feared offenses in the league.

    Tampa Bay easily got past the Islanders in the opening round, swept the Canadiens and then beat the Flyers in a nail-biting seven-game series.

    Their opponent, the Calgary Flames, came into the finals after defeating the Western Conference's top three seeds, including the President's Trophy winners in Detroit.

    Calgary crushed Tampa in Game 1, but the Lightning returned the favor in Game 2. The two teams traded shutouts in Games 3 and 4 in Calgary.

    Calgary won Game 5 in overtime, needing just one win to capture its second Stanley Cup. Martin St. Louis delivered the dagger in overtime to send the series back to the Sunshine State for a winner-take-all Game 7.

    Ruslan Fedotenko scored goals in the first and second period to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead after two periods. Craig Conroy scored on the power play to bring Calgary back in the game halfway through the third.

    Nikolai Khabibulin held his ground, making multiple clutch saves to preserve the 2-1 victory. Tampa Bay had finally won their first Stanley Cup.

    Brad Richards took home the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP.

    To date, this remains the franchise's only Cup Finals appearance.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Bill Barilko's Goal Cements Maple Leafs Dynasty

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    Maple Leafs defenseman Bill Barilko played five seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring 26 goals and 62 points in that span.

    None of those goals were bigger than the one he scored to win the Leafs their fourth Stanley Cup in five years.

    Toronto met their biggest arch-rival, the Maurice Richard-led Montreal Canadiens for the championship.

    All five games went into overtime, making it one of the greatest Cup Finals of all time.

    Toronto won all but Game 2 of that series.

    The Leafs were hoping to win the Cup on home ice in Game 5, and that dream was kept alive by a late third period goal to send the game into overtime.

    Barilko, who was taught by head coach Joe Primeau to play conservative and not take chances, jumped on a loose puck in front of the net, diving and putting it in past Habs' goaltender Gerry McNeil, securing the Leafs their fourth Cup in five seasons, which capped off a dynasty.

    Tragically, Barilko and his companion were killed in a plane crash that summer, and it wasn't until 1962 when their bodies were discovered, which happened to be the next time Toronto won the Stanley Cup.

Vancouver Canucks: Alex Burrows Finally Helps Canucks Defeat Blackhawks

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    The Vancouver Canucks were defeated by their arch-nemesis Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2009 and 2010.

    They had a shot at revenge in the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals.

    Only if Vancouver lost this time, it would have been a complete embarrassment.

    That's because Vancouver won the President's Trophy with 117 points. They led the league in goals with 262, and surrendered the least, allowing just 185.

    Daniel Sedin led the league with 104 points, Ryan Kesler won the Selke award, while Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo took home the William M. Jennings Trophy.

    The Canucks had the most dominant season in franchise history, and going up against the eighth-seeded Blackhawks. There was no excuse to lose, considering Chicago made the playoffs on the last day of the season.

    Vancouver took the first three games, and a sweep appeared to be on the horizon. Not so fast: Chicago blew out the Canucks in Games 4 and 5, before winning a thriller Game 6 in overtime to force Game 7.

    An early Alex Burrows goal gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead, which they carried all the way into the final minutes of the third period. Jonathan Toews scored a shorthanded goal with under two minutes left—his first of the series, to force overtime.

    Alex Burrows intercepted a clearing attempt from Chris Campoli, and fired a rolling puck past Corey Crawford to finally defeat the Blackhawks.

    Words cannot describe how epic of a meltdown this would have been if the Canucks surrendered a 3-0 series lead to their eighth-seeded rivals. But thanks to Burrows' heroics, they did not have to worry about that.

Washington Capitals: Drafting Alexander Ovechkin in 2004

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    The Washington Capitals had the first overall pick in the 2004 Entry Draft, desperately needing to find a new face for the franchise.

    The Capitals were having problems drawing fans to their games and chose to take Alexander Ovechkin with the first overall pick.

    Ovechkin scored 52 goals and 104 points in his rookie season, and has scored 50-plus goals four times.

    He has won two Hart Memorial Trophies as league MVP, three Lester B. Pearson Awards as best player voted by the NHLPA, one Art Ross Trophy, and two Maurice 'Rocket Richard' Trophies in his NHL career.

    Ovie has 335 goals and 710 points so far, and Washington has made the playoffs five consecutive seasons under his leadership.

    The Capitals now sell out every home game, and the passion at the Verizon Center is strong, thanks in large part to Ovechkin, who turned a struggling franchise into one of the league's elite teams.

Winnipeg Jets: NHL Returns to Winnipeg

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    The faithful fans of Winnipeg lost their team in 1996 after moving to Phoenix, and they were without an NHL team for 15 long years.

    The Atlanta Thrashers were consistently in the bottom barrel of attendance and had plenty of ownership issues. 

    True North Sports & Entertainment bought the Thrashers, and under Commissioner Gary Bettman's approval, gave Winnipeg their beloved Jets back.

    The MTS Center is one of the most packed and energetic arenas across the league, and those 15 years of misery for the good folks of Manitoba seem like a lifetime ago.

    The NHL hit the jackpot on this one.

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