2011 NHL Playoffs: Power Ranking the Top 50 Stanley Cup Champs of All Time

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IJune 3, 2011

2011 NHL Playoffs: Power Ranking the Top 50 Stanley Cup Champs of All Time

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    PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09:  The Chicago Blackhawks pose for a team photo after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pen
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals has the looks of another classic series for the history of the sport. However, will either the Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins be able to join the ranks as one of the greatest teams to ever lace up the skates?

    The salary cap era has certainly put a stop to dynasties and the stacking of talent on a single team. Gone are the days of the Islanders or Oilers of the 1980s, the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s and 1950s, and even the Pittsburgh Penguins of the early 1990s.

    Teams these days are lucky to have a handful of All-Stars, while teams back in the day had lines full of Hall of Famers.

    The standards for greatest have certainly changed, and modern era teams certainly have trouble stacking up to these dynamos.

    With so many impressive teams over the years, it was nearly impossible to pinpoint an order for the 50 Greatest Stanley Cup Champions of All Time, but I gave it a go.

    I look forward to your feedback and discussing some of the great teams in the history of the NHL. Thanks for reading.

50. 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers

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    The third of five Stanley Cup Championships for the Edmonton Oilers of the '80s is never considered to be the most impressive of the bunch.

    It may have taken the Edmonton Oilers seven games to dismantle the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the championship was impressive in its own right.

    For starters, the third Cup came a season after their consecutive Championships streak was cut short at two. Despite that, Edmonton was able to collect itself and take get another run going.

    Overcoming adversity is the sign of great team.

49. 1936-37 Detroit Red Wings

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    Detroit's Stanley Cup victory in 1937 marked history for hockey in the United States. The Cup made the Red Wings the first American-based team to win consecutive championships in league history.

    The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs would go on to dominate the league during later decades, but Detroit had made its presence felt.

48. 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings

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    After their prolific early history, the Detroit Red Wings put themselves back on the map with their sweep of the Flyers in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals.

    Scotty Bowman and company made the red Wings who they are today. Oh, and they created quite the rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche as well.

47. 1989-90 Edmonton Oilers

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    Even when the Edmonton Oilers were struggling to hold the roster together, the team came out on top with the Stanley Cup.

    Without Wayne Gretzky, the Edmonton Oilers rolled over the Boston Bruins in five games in the Finals.

    The 1990 Stanley Cup was the fifth in seven years for the Oilers.

46. 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    PITTSBURGH - MAY 12:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on May 12, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(P
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    The 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins team is one that may be remembered as a team that started something beautiful.

    Sidney Crosby and the Penguins has lost a year earlier to the Detroit Red Wings, but came back with a vengeance to capture the Cup the very next season.

    Much of the team is still intact, and we could see Crosby and the gang make multiple runs at the Stanley Cup before his career is over.

45. 2007-2008 Detroit Red Wings

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    SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 12:  Henrik Zetterberg #40, Pavel Datsyuk #13, and Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings talk to each other before a face off against the San Jose Sharks in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stan
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    This excellent version of the Detroit Red Wings came within a win of repeating this Stanley Cup the following season.

    The current Detroit Red Wings are in a slight decline, but the 2008 Stanley Cup marked their height as a group.

44. 1946-47 Toronto Maple Leafs

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens had won alternating Stanley Cups for three seasons heading into their meeting in the 1947 Stanley Cup Finals.

    The first ever Stanley Cup meeting between the Leafs in the Canadiens resulted in Toronto on top. The Leafs' victory would allow them to take control of the decade and Eastern Canada bragging rights.

43. 1927-28 New York Rangers

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    The 1928 New York Rangers were an average regular season team that rose to the occasion when it mattered most, capturing the Stanley Cup.

    The roster that included six Hall of Famers surely marks one of the greatest in Rangers' history.

42. 1928-29 Boston Bruins

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    The 1929 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins defined old-time hockey.

    With eight Hall of Famers, including Eddie Shore and Art Ross, the Bruins were able to bring the Stanley Cup to Boston for the first time in history.

41. 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks

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    CHICAGO - JUNE 11: Jonathan Toews #19 hoists the cup during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory parade and rally on June 11, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Looking back in a few years will shed some light on just how stacked the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks were.

    The Hawks could roll three lines with ease and had as much star power up front as they did on the backend.

    Chicago was unable to keep the team together, but while it was assembled, that team was one of the best of the decade.

40. 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings

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    DETROIT, MI - JUNE 13:  Goaltender Dominik Hasek #39 of the Detroit Red Wings is congratulated by center Sergei Fedorov #91 during game five of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes on June 13, 2002 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit,
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    The Detroit Red Wings' Stanley Cup victory was monumental and still holds some ground today.

    The championship is the last time a team has won back to back Stanley Cups and is also the most recent sweep of a Stanley Cup Finals.

    Some tend to forget just how impressive those two clubs were in the mid to late '90s.

39. 1998-99 Dallas Stars

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    DALLAS - JANUARY 22:   Mike Modano #9 and Joe Nieuwendyk #25 of the 1999 Dallas Stars Stanley Cup team look on during the 1999 Dallas Stars Stanley Cup Reunion at the American Airlines Center on January 22, 2007 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The game-winning goal is still argued to this day, but the Dallas Stars will always go down in history as the 1999 Stanley Cup Champions.

    The Stars were anchored by shut-down defensemen Derian Hatcher and Sergei Zubov, along with stud goaltender Eddy Belfour, but Dallas had plenty of weapons up front.

    Hall of Famer Brett Hull, who scored the game-winning goal, along with potential inductees Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jere Lehtinen made the Stars quite the potent offense.

38. 1988-89 Calgary Flames

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    Led by the gritty Lanny McDonald, the Calgary Flames won their first and only Stanley Cup in the existence of the franchise.

    The front office put together a roster that included McDonald, Al MacInnis, Doug Gilmore and Thoeren Fleury.

    Some of them may have been on the tail end of fantastic careers, but the Flames pulled it together for one magical run.

37. 1973-74 Philadelphia Flyers

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    In '74, the Flyers took the league by surprise.

    Philly was a tough, physical team that wore down opponents game after game, culminating in an upset of the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals.

36. 1931-32 Toronto Maple Leafs

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    PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09:  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presents the Conn Smythe Trophy to Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks after the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime to win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Every year the Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the MVP of the postseason.

    Smythe was one of the key pieces to the puzzle for the '32 Maple Leafs, who took their game to a new level in the postseason, setting the precedent for award winners for years to come.  

35. 1940-41 Boston Bruins

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    Art Ross was not messing around when he put this roster together.

    The '41 Boston Bruins were loaded with talent on the ice, including seven Hall of Famers, and had a Hall of Fame coach conducting the ship behind the bench.

    To think, this isn't even the most talented Bruins team of all time.

34. 1979-80 New York Islanders

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    The 1980 New York Islanders won the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups.

    The Isles had help from the officials, who blew an offsides call in the Finals, but this is essentially the team that laid the groundwork for one of the best dynasties in sports history.

33. 1948-49 Toronto Maple Leafs

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    In 1949 the Toronto Maple Leafs won their third straight Stanley Cup and did so with their second consecutive sweep of the Detroit Red Wings.

    The Leafs became one of just two teams in the history of the league to win the Stanley Cup with a losing record, while also becoming the first team to win three consecutive Stanley Cups. 

32. 1947-48 Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Very comparable to the Stanley Cup the Leafs won just a year later, the '48 Cup was supposed to be Gordie Howe's coming out party. Instead, the Maple Leafs shut him down to capture their second straight title.

    The roster may not have been as prolific as some of the others on this list, but winning the way this team won warrants high praise.

31. 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks

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    ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Scott Niedermayer #27 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on against the Colorado Avalanche at the Honda Center on December 19, 2007 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Truthfully, the 2007 Anaheim Ducks could have been a lot higher on this list, and looking back in a decade may shed some light on just how great this team was.

    In addition to two Hall of Fame defensemen, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, the Ducks had Teemu Selanne and a young rising Ryan Getzlaf, along with many other offensive weapons. The Pahlsson line served as the perfect shut-down line.

    Anaheim lost just five games en route to the Stanley Cup.

30. 1995-96 Colorado Avalanche

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    DENVER - MAY 25:  Goalie Patrick Roy #33 of the Colorado Avalanche waits for a faceoff against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of game four of the Western Conference Finals during the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Color
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Sometimes it's not all about a Hall of Fame happy roster, but rather the makeup of the team.

    The '96 Avs had Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic, but beyond that were just a team full of players that bought into a system to capture a ring.

29. 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 01:  Mario Lemieux, former Canadian professional ice hockey player, attends the the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, P
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    A championship team does not take what the other team gives them, they take what they want.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins of the early '90s are a perfect example. They couldn't play defense, but the Penguins were dominant enough on offense that they could dictate the pace of the game and take it to their opponents.

28. 1971-72 Boston Bruins

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    BOSTON - MARCH 04:  Robert Orr's retired number hangs in the rafters during the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Boston Bruins on March 4, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in an overtime shootout.  (Pho
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Having Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito says it all.

    As if that wasn't enough, Hall of Fame coach Harry Sinden was behind the bench and Gerry Cheevers was in goal. Oh, Johny Bucyk was on the roster as well. Wow.

27. 1993-94 New York Rangers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Mark Messier of the New York Rangers works on the draft floor during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Mark Messier brought some of his old Oiler buddies with him to the Empire State to capture the Stanley Cup along with six or seven other potential Hall of Famers.

    Messier was able to separate himself from Wayne Gretzky and still lead teams to championships.

26. 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens

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    The 1944 Stanley Cup Champions had Hall of Famers at every position, including Maurice Richard, Toe Blake and dominant backstop Bill Durnan.

    This roster won two Stanley Cups in three seasons during the 1940s.

25. 1999-2000 New Jersey Devils

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 3: A banner retiring the jersey number of defenseman Scott Stevens #4 of the New Jersey Devils, hangs with three Stanley Cup banners for the Devils before their game against the Carolina Hurricanes on February 3, 2006 at the
    Andy Marlin/Getty Images

    Many will argue that the 2000 Devils were the best team of the decade.

    However, the team relied heavily on a system. They were certainly talented. Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens, Brian Rafalski and Martin Brodeur could certainly attest to that fact, but the roster just doesn't stack up to some others on this list.

24. 1957-58 Montreal Canadiens

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    MONTREAL- APRIL 19:  A photo of the banners commemorating the retired jerseys of Jacque Plante, Bernard Geoffrion and Jean Beliveau hanging in the Bell Centre prior to Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Washington Capitals and
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    The most dominant team of the '50s, the Canadiens won the cup in '58 with a roster that included 11 Hall of Famers. Just the thought of that many Hall of Famers on one team is unheard of these days.

    The Canadiens scored over 50 goals more than any other team in the league and allowed 30 fewer than any other club. Pure dominance.

23. 1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers

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    The Broad Street Bullies were more than a bunch of grinders and fighters.

    Bobby Clarke was the MVP of the NHL in'75 and Bernie Parent won the Vezina Trophy.

    Philly's roster may not have been graced by a ton of Hall of Famers (they did have six), but they played a physical brand of hockey that nobody in the history has been able to match.

22. 1938-39 Boston Bruins

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    I mentioned it earlier in regards to the 1940-41 Boston Bruins, but this club embodied Old Time Hockey. Eddie Shore and Bill Cowley could intimidate an opponent just as easily as they could blow by them.

    In addition to their impressive offense, the Bruins allowed an average of 1.56 goals per game.

21. 1945-46 Montreal Canadiens

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    Brace yourselves folks, a run on terrific Montreal Canadiens teams is about to begin.

    The 1945-46 Canadien team was a more experienced version of the team that dominated the league in the 1944 playoffs.

    Six Hall of Famers were a part of this club.

20. 1923-24 Montreal Canadiens

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    The 1924 Stanley Cup was Montreal's first ever.

    Throughout the prolific playoff run, the Canadiens did not record a single loss.

19. 1959-60 Montreal Canadiens

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    Reading through the 1960 Montreal Canadiens' roster makes it easy to mistake it for a list of awards.

    Richard (Henri) and Selke were equally effective for a team that defined a decade of excellence.

18. 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche

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    9 Jun 2001: Ray Bourque, coach Bob Hartley, Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate defeating the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup finals at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Devils 3-1 to win t
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Many will argue that the '01 Avs were the best team of the decade, and those folks certainly have a case.

    In addition to the Hall of Fame trifecta of Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy, Colorado had Hall of Fame defensemen Rob Blake and Ray Bourque to add to their dominance.

    It's somewhat shocking that this team didn't win more.

17. 1982-83 New York Islanders

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    UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 02:  Former New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy waves to the crowd before the game against the Florida Panthers at the Nassau Coliseum March 2, 2008 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders are celebrating the 17 men that were part of
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Islanders of the early '80s may have been the most dominant team in the history of sports.

    Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy struck fear into opponents in all three zones of the ice and displayed all of the characteristics of a champion: leadership, talent and guts.

16. 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers

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    1988-1989:  Goaltender Grant Fuhr of the Edmonton Oilers. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell  /Allsport
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    This championship was the Oilers' last with Wayne Gretzky in the fold.

    Edmonton failed to win the division but was able to ride Grant Fuhr along with five other Hall of Famers to capture their fourth Stanley Cup.

15. 1949-50 Detroit Red Wings

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    Once Gordie Howe finally broke through in postseason play in combination with Terry Sawchuk's outstanding play in net, the Detroit Red Wings were one hell of a tough out in the playoffs.

    They simply wore teams down physically and mentally.

14. 1962-63 Toronto Maple Leafs

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    The last decade in which the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup included multiple championships for Ontario's team.

    The Leafs were the best team in the NHL throughout the regular season and made quick work of teams in the postseason.

13. 1972-73 Montreal Canadiens

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    MONTREAL- APRIL 19:  A photo of the banners commemorating the retired jerseys of Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer and Ken Dryden hanging in the Bell Centre prior to Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Washington Capitals and Montre
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    The Montreal Canadiens had 13 Hall of Famers on their roster in 1973.

    The league will likely never see anything close to what the Canadiens were able to accomplish in the '70s. 

12. 1954-55 Detroit Red Wings

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    I admit it, I have a soft spot for incredible defensive play.

    The Detroit Red Wings may have had a very ordinary offense, but the defense was anything but.

    The Red Wings had the best defense in the entire NHL and Terry Sawchuk between the pipes. Not sure how anyone ever scored on these guys.

11. 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 19:  Steve Yzerman #19 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on from the bench during their game against the Vancouver Canucks at General Motors Place on March 19, 2006 in Vancouver, British Colombia,  Canada. Detroit defeated Vancouver
    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    The 2002 Stanley Cup Champions are my pick for the best team of the 2000s.

    Detroit had it all that season. Dominik Hasek was in his prime between the pipes, the offensive fire power was second to none and some of the team's defensive superstars were just beginning to hit their stride.

    As long a salary cap is in place, we will never see a team like this again.

10. 1926-27 Ottawa Senators

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    The Ottawa Senators of the '20s were the first true dynasty in NHL history. They had the best defense in the league and one of the best offenses in the league.

    Unfortunately, the Senators have not captured a Stanley Cup since these glory days.

9. 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08:  Wayne Gretzky looks on as Robin Soderling of Sweden plays against Roger Federer of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match on day ten of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on
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    If I could go back in time, watching the Edmonton Oilers of the '80s would be high on my list of things to do.

    Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were the ideal complements to one another, and the presence of Glenn Anderson and Paul Coffey on the back end was ideal to say the very least.

    The Oilers made some dominant teams look silly with the talent and grit they had on both ends of the ice

8. 1955-56 Montreal Canadiens

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    Remember when we were talking about the marvelously complete Detroit Red Wings teams of the '50s?

    Yeah, the Montreal Canadiens dominated that team.

    The Canadiens blended offense and defense brilliantly, making quick work of the Wings in five games.

7. 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 31:  Ron Francis #10 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his goal with teammates Paul Coffey #77, Larry Murphy #55, Kevin Stevens #25 and Mario Lemieux #66 against the Washington Capitals during the 2011 NHL Winter Classic Alum
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    The second team I would go back and watch if I could time travel is the Penguins of the early '90s.

    Who needs defense?

    With Mario Lemeiux, Jaromir Jagr, Bryan Trottier, Ron Francis and Paul Coffey, the Pittsburgh Penguins certainly did not need defense. That offense was more than enough to compensate.

    I would love to see a team like the Red Wings of the '50s try and contain this offense. That battle of defense vs. offense would be quite compelling.

6. 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens

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    With 359 total goals and 11 players with more than 40 points, the Montreal Canadiens may have had the best offense the game has ever seen during the late '70s.

    To put it in perspective, the Detroit Red Wings were second in the league that season with 252 goals. 

    Yeah, the Habs were that good.

5. 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens

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    VANCOUVER - NOVEMBER 8:  Head coach Jacques Lemaire of the Minnesota Wild watches the action from the bench during the game against the Vancouver Canucks at General Motors Place on November 8, 2003 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver defeated Minnesota 4-3. (
    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    The Montreal Canadiens of the '70s were the best teams the franchise has ever put on the ice.

    The team that won the Cup in '76 was not the best of the four consecutive Stanley Cups, but they got the ball rolling on one of the greatest dynasties in hockey history.

4. 1969-70 Boston Bruins

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 23:  A sculpture of Bobby Orr stands in front of TD Garden prior to Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 23, 2011 in Boston, Massachus
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    The Bruins only needed four Hall of Famers to roll through the postseason with just two losses, including a sweep of the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.

    Phil Esposito was piling up points in front of the net while Bobby Orr continued to revolutionize the game of hockey.

    Oh, Bobby Orr score "the goal" as well.

3. 1981-82 New York Islanders

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    UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 4:  Memebers of the 1980 New York Islanders pose for a team photo during a ceremony honoring the 25th anniversary of the Islanders first Stanley Cup victory held on March 4, 2006 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    It's not easy to pick the most dominant squad from the four straight New York Islanders Stanley Cups in the early '80s, but this team makes quite the compelling case.

    The Isles scored a whopping 4.8 goals per game and swept the Vancouver Canucks in the Finals.

    Mike Bossy shone more in this season than any other, collecting seven goals in the four-game sweep of the Nucks.

2. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers

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    When the New York Islanders were seemingly invincible and Wayne Gretzky was just 23 years old, the Edmonton Oilers made their mark on the NHL and started one of the league's greatest dynasties.

    Edmonton's victory in '84 was the first in a stretch in which the team managed to capture five Stanley Cups in seven years.

    Messier, Gretzky, Coffey and others all deserve credit as one of the greatest collections of talent in the history of the league. 

1. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 29:  A general view of a pre-game ceremony by the Montreal Canadiens to retire Ken Dryden's jersey #29 prior to the start of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens on January 29, 2007 at the Bell Centre
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    Ten players had 50 or more points while the Montreal Canadiens were running wild on the NHL on the way to best record in league history.

    Meanwhile, Montreal dropped just a pair of games the entire postseason.

    With a dozen Hall of Famers on the ice and on the bench, the Montreal Canadiens stack up against any hockey team in the history of the sport.