NHL Power Rankings: Most Underachieving Teams in NHL History

PJ SapienzaContributor IIIMay 9, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: Most Underachieving Teams in NHL History

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs is where legends are made.   It may be cliché but championships are not handed out for regular season play.  Season after season the playoffs are often filled with upsets.  The Washington Capitals performance this playoff season, earned them a spot on the all-time underachievers list.

    Here are the 14 teams who have had the most disappointing playoff performances.

1992-1993 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    It may be difficult to think of a two time defending champion team as a disappointment, however they entered these playoffs with a team that was arguably, better than the previous two years. They had a 119 points in a President Trophy winning season.

    They did win their first round series only to drop a seven game series to the New York Islanders in the second round. 

90-91 Chicago Black Hawks

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    The Black Hawks had the hopes of Chicago fans riding high after a President cup winning regular season.

    The Black Hawks looked ready to end their Stanley Cup drought but were shocked when the Minnesota North Stars pulled off a stunning upset.  The Hawks had earned 106 points compared the North Stars 68.  All of that did not matter as the North Stars took the series in six games.

2003-04 Detroit Red Wings

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    The Red Wings won the President’s trophy with a 109 point effort.

    They were stunned by Calgary in the first round as goalie Mikka Kiprusoff outplayed Cutis Joseph and shut out the high scoring Wings twice   Calgary won the second round matchup in six games.

1985-86 Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Flyers had made it to the Stanley Cup finals the previous season so expectations were high this year.  The finished the regular season well as they were the top seed the Wales Conference. 

    They would be bounced in the first round by the New York Rangers.

1999-2000 St Louis Blues

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    The Blues won the President’s Trophy with a strong 113 point effort.  Led by stars Pierre Turgeon and  Hart trophy winner Chris Pronger the Blues looked poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.

     

    The San Jose Sharks had other ideas though as they beat the Blues in seven games.  This was the second time that the Sharks had taken down a top seeded, President Trophy winning team in their young history.

2005-06 Detroit Red Wings

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    The Red Wings earned 124 points during the season and won the President’s trophy,  In what seemed to become the curse of the President’s trophy, Detroit would once again fell early in the playoffs after winning it.

    Edmonton Oilers were able to contain the Red Wings while scoring at will against Manny Legacy. Whose save percentage went from  .915 in the regular season to .884 in the playoffs.   The Oilers won the series in six games and quickly ended the Legace era in Detroit.

1980-81 Montreal Canadiens

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    Picture from: http://www.giantbomb.com/wayne-gretzky/72-89667/

    The upstart Oilers were only in their second season in the league.  They earned 74 points during the season and captured the eighth seed. 

    The Canadiens were the veteran team that was near the top every year.  This was the seventh straight season that they would break the 100 point mark.  They were the top seed and were stunned in the opening round when the Oilers swept them.

2008-09 San Jose Sharks

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    The San Jose Sharks have developed a reputation as a team that always fell short in the playoffs.  Coming into the 2008-09 season they made several moves to strengthen the team.  Todd McLellan was hired to coach the team. Rob Blake, Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich were brought in to boost the lineup. Their regular season was a success as they won the President’s Trophy with 117 points.

    In the first round they would face the eighth seeded Anaheim Ducks.  They were shut out twice and lost in only six games.

1950-51 Detroit Red Wings

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    Detroit had 101 points and led the league in goals scored and goals against. 

     They faced the 65 point Montreal Canadiens in what appeared to be a mismatch.  The Canadiens had given up 11 more goals then they scored during the season yet the beat the Red Wings in six games

2000-01 Ottawa Senators

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    Ottawa was a high scoring team, ranking third in goals scored during the season.  They finished with 109 points and the second seed in the East.

    Their goal scoring disappeared in their first round playoff matchup as Toronto, with goalie Cutis Joseph, was able to shut themout in the first two games.  They were not able to recover and ended up being swept.

1998-99 New Jersey Devils

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    The Devils had 107 points and were the top seed out of the East.  They were the top defensive team in the league and the ninth rated offense.  They looked poised for another Stanley Cup run.

    Ottawa was only one game over .500 and had 83 points on the season.  While their goals against were ninth in the league.  They were 24th (out of 26) in goals scored.

    Despite their regular season stats the Senators were able to shock the Devils and knock them out of playoffs.

1981-82 Edmonton Oilers

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    Edmonton became the first team in NHL History to break the 400 goal barrier when they scored 417 goals during the season.  Led by Wayne Gretzky and his 92 goals and 212 points, the Oilers looked unstoppable.

    With the series tied, the Oilers took a 5-0 lead into the third period of game three.  TheKings fought back to tie the game at five, then won it in overtime.  The Kings went on to win the five game series 3-2.

2009-10 Washington Capitals

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The Capitals won the President’s Trophy as the top team in the league.  The earned 121 points, making them the first non-original six team to break the 120 mark.  Their point total outpaced the second seeded New Jersey Devils who had 103 points.

    They were an explosive offensive team, scoring 313 goals during the season.  That was the highest total in 15 seasons.  An impressive seven players scored at least 20 goals, led by Ovechkin’s 50 goals.

    They entered the playoffs against the eighth seeded Montreal Canadiens and their 88 points. The 33 point difference is one of the largest in playoff history.  The Capitals raced out to a 3-1 series lead before falling apart.  In the last three games of the series they were only able to score one goal in each game.  Eventually they would lose game seven, at home, 2-1

2010-2011 Washington Capitals

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    After the previous year's debacle, the team had a complete change of philosophy.  They were now going to be a defensive team.  All players would need to focus on both ends of the ice. 

    The regular season results were impressive.  The secured the top seed in the East despite scoring 94 less goals than the year before.  Their defense jump from sixteenth to fourth in the league.  Players such as Ovechkin put personal stats aside and fought for the team good.

    They dispatched the New York Rangers in five games during the first round.  Losing in the second round, in a weakened East, would have earned them a spot on this list.  But getting swept moves them well up (or down depending on your view).

1993-94 Detroit Red Wings

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    Thw Red Wings were the top seed in the West.  Hart trophy winner Sergei Fedorov lead the team with 56 goals and 120 points.

    The Wings were far away the best offensive team in the league that year.  They scored 50 more goals then the next closest team.  The scoring was even more impressive in that this was the year of the goalies as there were 99 shutouts across the year over the season.  This shattered the the 20 year old record.

    The Sharks were only in their third season in the league and had made the playoffs for the first time.  They were able to pull of the huge upset, winning game seven in Detroit.