Ranking the Last 25 Stanley Cup Champions

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2015

Ranking the Last 25 Stanley Cup Champions

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    As the 2015 Stanley Cup Final winds toward a conclusion, the eventual champion will inevitably be compared to previous winners. Determining how this year's champ measures up to those of the past 25 years makes a good topic for debate among hockey fans.

    The game has changed over the past quarter-century. Between 1989 and 1994, teams played a wide-open offensive style. From 1995 to 2004, the game was more defensive. Over the last decade, teams have come to favor a faster, two-way style.

    To properly evaluate each championship team, factors such as roster depth, performance of top players and quality of opposition must be taken into account.

    The following slideshow ranks the 25 Stanley Cup champions prior to this season. It includes the 1988-89 Cup champion, as the 2004-05 season was lost to a lockout. Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section.

25. 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens

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    Reed Saxon/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens included goaltender Patrick Roy (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Guy Carbonneau (captain) and forwards Vincent Damphousse, Kirk Muller and John LeClair.

    Notable Stats: Roy's 2.13 goals-against average in the playoffs led all goaltenders while his .929 save percentage ranked second. Damphousse finished fourth among scorers with 23 points. He, LeClair and Muller each had three game-winning goals.

    Road to the Cup: The Canadiens downed the Quebec Nordiques in six games, swept the Buffalo Sabres and eliminated the New York Islanders in five games. It also took them five games to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in the Final.

    Why They're Here: The Canadiens were a good team carried to the Stanley Cup by a great player in Patrick Roy. They also had a bit of luck on their side, as they didn't have to face top teams like Pittsburgh, Boston and Chicago during their playoff run. Moreover, the Canadiens set a playoff record by winning 10 games in overtime.

24. 2002-03 New Jersey Devils

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils included defenseman Scott Stevens (captain), goaltender Martin Brodeur, blueliners Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski, and wingers Jamie Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias.

    Notable Stats: Niedermayer was the assist leader with 16, Langenbrunner led all goal scorers with 11 and the pair tied for the points lead with 18. Stevens had the best plus/minus with plus-14, while Brodeur led all goaltenders in minutes played (1,491) and shutouts (7).

    Road to the Cup: The Devils eliminated the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning in five games apiece. They needed seven games to edge the Ottawa Senators and defeated the Anaheim Ducks by the same margin in the Cup Final.

    Why They're Here: Employing a stifling defensive system under coach Pat Burns, the Devils finished the regular season atop the Atlantic Division. While their style made for dull, low-scoring hockey, it brought the Devils their third Cup in nine seasons. They were the first Cup champion since 1987 not to have a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, as Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere received the honor.

23. 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings included goaltender Jonathan Quick (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), right wing Dustin Brown (captain), defenseman Drew Doughty and forwards Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

    Notable Stats: Quick led all goaltenders in GAA (1.41) and save percentage (.946). Brown, Doughty and Kopitar led all scorers with 12 assists each, while Brown and Kopitar tied for the points lead with 20. Kopitar, Carter and Brown also tied for the lead with eight goals each.

    Road to the Cup: The Kings eliminated the Vancouver Canucks in five games, swept the St. Louis Blues and downed the Phoenix Coyotes in five games. In the Cup Final, they defeated the New Jersey Devils in six games.

    Why They're Here: The Kings got hot at the right time, becoming the first eighth-seeded team in NHL history to win it all. Their physical, defensive style wore down their opponents, who were stifled by Quick's superb goaltending. The Kings moved quickly through the first three rounds but had their hands full against the Devils in the Final.

22. 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks

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    Mark Avery/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks included defensemen Scott Niedermayer (captain, Conn Smythe Trophy winner) and Chris Pronger, center Ryan Getzlaf, wingers Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry, and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

    Notable Stats: Forward Andy McDonald's 10 goals ranked second among playoff scorers, while Getzlaf (17 points), Pronger and Perry (15 points each) finished among the top 10 scorers. Giguere's 1.97 GAA was fourth-best among playoff goalies.

    Road to the Cup: The Ducks downed the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks in five games each and needed six games to oust the Detroit Red Wings. They became the first California-based team to win the Stanley Cup, needing only five games to defeat the Ottawa Senators in the Final.

    Why They're Here: Having topped the Pacific Division in the regular season, the Ducks made short work of most of their playoff foes. The Red Wings proved their most difficult opponent. The Ducks' championship was very much a team effort, as they had few standout individual performers compared to other squads on this list.

21. 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning

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    GENE J. PUSKAR/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning included center Brad Richards (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), left winger Dave Andreychuk (captain), goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and forwards Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier.

    Notable Stats: Richards led all scorers in points (26) and game-winning goals (seven), while St. Louis was the assist leader with 15. Khabibulin's 1.71 GAA, .933 save percentage and five shutouts ranked among the goaltending leaders.

    Road to the Cup: The Lightning eliminated the New York Islanders in five games, swept the Montreal Canadiens and edged the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games. It also took them seven games to defeat the Calgary Flames in the Final, becoming the first Florida-based team to win the Cup.

    Why They're Here: Led by emerging stars like Richards, St. Louis and Lecavalier, the Lightning finished the regular season atop the Eastern Conference standings. They made quick work of the Islanders and Canadiens but faced a tougher slog against the Flyers and underdog Flames. In the Final, they overcame a 3-2 series deficit to win their first championship.

20. 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes

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    ANN HEISENFELT/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes included goaltender Cam Ward (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Rod Brind'Amour (captain) and forwards Eric Staal, Cory Stillman and Ray Whitney.

    Notable Stats: Staal led all playoff scorers in assists (19) and points (28), while Brind'Amour (12 goals), Stillman and Whitney (9 goals each) were among the leading goal scorers. Ward's 2.14 GAA and two shutouts ranked second among starting goalies.

    Road to the Cup: The Hurricanes eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in six games, downed the New Jersey Devils in five and edged the Buffalo Sabres in seven games. That was also the margin by which they defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the Final.

    Why They're Here: Emerging from a season-killing lockout, the Hurricanes finished first in the Southeast Division. A key to their playoff success was the addition of experienced veterans like Whitney, Mark Recchi and Doug Weight. Their leadership proved crucial against the rising Sabres and underdog Oilers, who pushed the Hurricanes to the limit.

19. 1994-95 New Jersey Devils

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 1994-95 New Jersey Devils included left wing Claude Lemieux (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), defenseman Scott Stevens (captain), goaltender Martin Brodeur and winger Stephane Richer.

    Notable Stats: Lemieux led all playoff scorers with 13 goals, while Brodeur led all starting netminders in GAA (1.67), save percentage (.927) and shutouts (3). Richer finished second among playoff scorers with 21 points.

    Road to the Cup: The Devils eliminated the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins in five games each, then downed the Philadelphia Flyers in six. In the Final, they swept the Detroit Red Wings to win their first Cup in franchise history.

    Why They're Here: The Devils struggled at times during the lockout-shortened season but finished strong to reach the playoffs. Their suffocating defensive style enabled them to upset the Bruins, Penguins, Flyers and heavily favored Red Wings. The Devils' championship inspired other clubs to emulate their system. As a result, Chad Langager of SportingCharts indicates that NHL scoring declined for a decade.

18. 1998-99 Dallas Stars

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    Key Players: The roster of the 1998-99 Dallas Stars included center Joe Nieuwendyk (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), defensemen Derian Hatcher (captain) and Sergei Zubov, goaltender Ed Belfour and forwards Mike Modano and Brett Hull.

    Notable Stats: Nieuwendyk led all scorers in goals (11) and game-winning goals (6), while Modano was the assist leader with 18. Zubov tied for the lead in plus/minus with plus-13. Belfour led all goaltenders with three shutouts and 1,544 minutes played.

    Road to the Cup: The Stars swept the Edmonton Oilers, eliminated the St. Louis Blues in six games and edged the Colorado Avalanche in seven. In the Cup Final, they defeated the Buffalo Sabres in six games.

    Why They're Here: Led by future Hall of Famers like Nieuwendyk, Hull, Modano and Belfour, the Stars finished atop the regular-season standings. They overcame a 3-2 series deficit against the Avalanche in the Western Conference Final. The Stars' championship victory over the Sabres was overshadowed by Hull's controversial Cup-clinching goal.

17. 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    JIM MONE/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins included center Mario Lemieux (captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner), forwards Kevin Stevens and Mark Recchi, defenseman Larry Murphy, goaltender Tom Barrasso and a rookie winger named Jaromir Jagr.

    Notable Stats: Lemieux led all scorers in assists (28) and points (44), while Stevens was the goal-scoring leader with 17. Recchi (34 points) and Stevens (33) finished second and third in the scoring race. Barrasso's 2.60 GAA was tops among playoff goalies.

    Road to the Cup: The Penguins eliminated the New Jersey Devils in seven games, downed the Washington Capitals in five and defeated the Boston Bruins in six. In the Cup Final, they marched to victory over the Minnesota North Stars in six games.

    Why They're Here: Few Cup champions enjoyed the playoff firepower of the 1990-91 Penguins. Still, they weren't among the favorites entering the 1991 playoffs. The Penguins had some difficulty against lower-seeded opponents like the Devils and North Stars. The combination of their scoring punch and Lemieux's leadership made the difference.

16. 1989-90 Edmonton Oilers

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 1989-90 Edmonton Oilers included goaltender Bill Ranford (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Mark Messier (captain) and wingers Craig Simpson, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson.

    Notable Stats: Messier and Simpson tied for the points lead with 31 each. Simpson also led all scorers with 16 goals, while Messier was the assist leader with 22. Ranford led all goalies with 1,401 minutes played.

    Road to the Cup: The Oilers eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in seven games, swept the Los Angeles Kings and downed the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. In the Cup Final, they defeated the Boston Bruins in five games.

    Why They're Here: Though the Oilers were a fading dynasty in 1989-90, they had enough talent left in the tank for one last championship run. Messier, who would win the Hart Trophy that year, rallied his club from a 3-1 series deficit against the Jets. They also upset the league-leading Bruins in the Final to win their fifth championship in seven years.

15. 1988-89 Calgary Flames

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    Key Players: The roster of the 1988-89 Calgary Flames included defenseman Al MacInnis (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), right wing Lanny McDonald (captain), goaltender Mike Vernon and forwards Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour and Joe Mullen.

    Notable Stats: MacInnis led all scorers in assists (24) and points (31). Mullen was the playoff leader in goals (16), with 10 coming at even strength. Vernon led all goaltenders in shutouts (3) and minutes played (1,381).

    Road to the Cup: The Flames edged the Vancouver Canucks in seven games, swept the Los Angeles Kings and eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks in five. In the Cup Final, they needed six games to defeat the Montreal Canadiens.

    Why They're Here: Very deep in future Hall of Fame talent, the Flames topped the regular-season standings. Their top playoff performers (MacInnis, Nieuwendyk, Mullen, Gilmour and Vernon) were also among the league's best in the regular season. They eliminated two tough opponents in the Wayne Gretzky-led Kings and the Eastern Conference-leading Canadiens en route to the Cup.

14. 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings

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    TOM PIDGEON/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings included goaltender Mike Vernon (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Steve Yzerman (captain), defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Larry Murphy, and forwards Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan.

    Notable Stats: Vernon led all goaltenders in minutes played with 1,229 while his 1.76 GAA was second overall. Fedorov was the Wings' scoring leader with 20 points, while Shanahan led them in goals with nine. Murphy's plus/minus rating of plus-16 was tops among all skaters.

    Road to the Cup: The Red Wings eliminated the St. Louis Blues in six games, swept the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and downed the defending Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in six games. They went on to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers in the Final.

    Why They're Here: The Wings didn't enter the 1997 playoffs as a dominant team, finishing fifth in the overall standings. Thanks to Vernon's clutch goaltending, they avenged their stunning loss to the Avalanche from the year prior. The Wings snapped their 42-year Cup drought by neutralizing the Flyers' vaunted “Legion of Doom” line of Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg in the Final.

13. 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks included center and captain Jonathan Toews (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), defenseman Duncan Keith and forwards Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien.

    Notable Stats: Toews led all playoff scorers in assists (22) and finished second in points (29). Kane's 18 assists tied him for second in that category. Kane finished third in scoring with 28 points while Sharp was fifth with 22 points. Byfuglien led all scorers with five game-winning goals.

    Road to the Cup: The Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks in six games each, then swept the San Jose Sharks. They defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the Cup Final in six games.

    Why They're Here: Led by rising stars Toews and Kane, the Blackhawks finished the regular season atop the Central Division. Their surprising sweep of the veteran Sharks, who had 113 points during the regular season, signaled their arrival among the league's elite. Beating the underdog Flyers in the Final brought an end to the Blackhawks' 49-year Cup drought.

12. 1995-96 Colorado Avalanche

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Key Players: The roster of the 1995-96 Colorado Avalanche included center Joe Sakic (captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner), goaltender Patrick Roy, center Peter Forsberg and defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh.

    Notable Stats: Sakic had a dominating performance, leading all scorers in goals (18), even-strength goals (12), game-winning goals (6), shots (98) and points (34). Roy led all goalies in shutouts with three and minutes played with 1,454.

    Road to the Cup: The Avalanche eliminated the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, with each series going six games. They went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the Final.

    Why They're Here: In their first season in Colorado after relocating from Quebec City, the Avalanche emerged as a dominant club, finishing second in the overall league standings. Led by Sakic's superior performance, they upset the favored Red Wings, who led the league in the regular season with a record 62 victories.

11. 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings included left wing Henrik Zetterberg (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (captain), goaltender Chris Osgood and forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen.

    Notable Stats: Zetterberg dominated at both ends of the ice. He tied with Franzen for the most goals with 13 and most short-handed goals with two. His 27 points tied him for the lead among playoff scorers, while he and Kronwall tied for the best plus/minus with plus-16. Franzen led all scorers with five game-winning goals, while Osgood led all goaltenders with a 1.55 GAA.

    Road to the Cup: The Red Wings eliminated the Nashville Predators in six games, swept the Colorado Avalanche and bested the Dallas Stars in six games. That was also the margin by which they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Cup Final.

    Why They're Here: Winners of the Presidents' Trophy as the top regular-season club, the Wings were favored to win the Cup and didn't disappoint. They never fell behind in any of their series. Led by Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Lidstrom, they dominated at both ends of the ice on their way to a fourth championship in 11 seasons.

10. 1999-2000 New Jersey Devils

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    L.M. OTERO/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 1999-2000 New Jersey Devils included defensemen Scott Stevens (captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner) and Scott Niedermayer, goaltender Martin Brodeur and forwards Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott.

    Notable Stats: Brodeur led all playoff goaltenders with a 1.61 GAA. Elias' 13 assists tied him with two others for the lead in that category. Stevens' plus/minus of plus-nine tied him for the playoff lead, while Sykora tied for the lead in even-strength goals with eight.

    Road to the Cup: The Devils swept the Florida Panthers, eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games and edged the Philadelphia Flyers in seven. In the Cup Final, they defeated the defending champion Dallas Stars in six games.

    Why They're Here: Long known for their defensive game, this version of the Devils was a more balanced club. They were the second-highest scoring team during the regular season. The Devils displayed championship poise by erasing a 3-1 series deficit against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Final. Their improved performance at both ends of the ice proved crucial to winning their second Cup.

9. 2013 Chicago Blackhawks

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks included right wing Patrick Kane (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Jonathan Toews (captain), defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, forwards Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell, and goaltender Corey Crawford.

    Notable Stats: Sharp led all scorers with 10 goals while Kane had nine even-strength markers. Kane (19 points) and Bickell (17) were among the top five scorers. Crawford led all goaltenders in GAA (1.84) and minutes played (1,504).

    Road to the Cup: The Blackhawks eliminated the Minnesota Wild in five games, needed seven to down the Detroit Red Wings and five to beat the defending Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. In the Cup Final, they defeated the Boston Bruins in six games.

    Why They're Here: Coming out of another NHL lockout, the Blackhawks dominated the shortened season. They also displayed veteran poise by overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the Red Wings. Only three years after salary-cap constraints forced the dismantling of their 2010 championship roster, the Blackhawks once again hoisted the Cup.

8. 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins included center Evgeni Malkin (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Sidney Crosby (captain), goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Sergei Gonchar and forwards Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin.

    Notable Stats: Malkin led all scorers in assists (22) and points (36) while Crosby was the goal-scoring leader with 15. Kunitz and Gonchar were among the assist leaders with 13 and 11, respectively, while Guerin's 15 points tied him with several others for ninth among playoff scorers.

    Road to the Cup: The Penguins eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games, edged the Washington Capitals in seven and swept the Carolina Hurricanes. In the Cup Final, they needed seven games to defeat the defending champion Detroit Red Wings.

    Why They're Here: The Penguins struggled at times in 2008-09 but regained their footing when Dan Bylsma took over in a midseason coaching change. Led by Crosby and Malkin, the Penguins downed two tough opponents in the Flyers and Capitals en route to a thrilling Cup Final rematch against the Red Wings.

7. 2010-11 Boston Bruins

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2010-11 Boston Bruins included goaltender Tim Thomas (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), defenseman Zdeno Chara (captain) and forwards David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

    Notable Stats: Thomas led all goaltenders with a 1.98 GAA and .940 save percentage. Krejci was the leader in goals (12), points (23) and game-winning goals (4). Marchand tied with Krejci for most even-strength goals (10). Chara's plus/minus of plus-16 led all postseason performers.

    Road to the Cup: The Bruins eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in seven games, swept the Philadelphia Flyers and edged the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. They needed that same margin in the Cup Final to defeat the Vancouver Canucks.

    Why They're Here: After 39 years, the Bruins finally ended their lengthy Stanley Cup drought. They employed an aggressive, two-way, physical style while Thomas frustrated opponents with his stellar goaltending. It was no easy road for the Bruins. They were pushed to the limit by tough opponents like the Canadiens, Lightning and Presidents' Trophy-winning Canucks.

6. 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings

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    Juan Ocampo/Getty Images

    Key Players: The roster of the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings included right wing Justin Williams (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), right wing Dustin Brown (captain), defenseman Drew Doughty, goaltender Jonathan Quick and forwards Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter.

    Notable Stats: Gaborik (14 goals), Carter (10) and Williams (nine) finished first, second and third in playoff goal scoring. Kopitar and Williams finished one-two in assists and points, while Carter tied for the lead in power-play goals (four). Quick's two shutouts tied him with two others for the playoff lead.

    Road to the Cup: The Kings eliminated the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks, with each series going the full seven games. In the Cup Final, they defeated the New York Rangers in five games.

    Why They're Here: The 2013-14 Kings were a deeper, more experienced version of the team which won the Cup two years before. They entered the playoffs coming off a 100-point season. Winning three consecutive seven-game series was no easy feat. Against the Sharks, they became only the fourth team in NHL playoff history to overcome a 3-0 deficit and win the series.

5. 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Charles Bennett/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins included center Mario Lemieux (captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner for the second straight year), goaltender Tom Barrasso and forwards Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis and Kevin Stevens.

    Notable Stats: Lemieux led all scorers in goals (16) and points (34), while Francis was the assist leader with 19. Stevens (28 points), Francis (27) and Jagr (24) finished second, third and fourth in the scoring race. Stevens and Jagr also tied for the lead in even-strength goals with nine.

    Road to the Cup: The Penguins eliminated the Washington Capitals in seven games, downed the New York Rangers in six games and swept the Boston Bruins. They also swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the Cup Final to repeat as champions.

    Why They're Here: Lemieux's dominance, Jagr's emergence as a superstar and their experienced depth made this version of the Penguins superior to the 1991 championship roster. Despite finishing seventh in the overall regular-season standings, the Penguins eliminated the league-leading Rangers and second overall Capitals, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the latter.

4. 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings

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    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    Key Players: The roster of the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings included center Steve Yzerman (captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner), defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Larry Murphy, goaltender Chris Osgood and forwards Sergei Fedorov and Tomas Holmstrom.

    Notable Stats: Yzerman was the assists (18) and points leader (24), while Fedorov was the leading goal scorer with 10. Fedorov (20 points), Holmstrom (19) and Lidstrom (19) finished second, third and fourth in postseason scoring. Murphy and Lidstrom each had a playoff-leading plus/minus of plus-12.

    Road to the Cup: The Red Wings defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, with each series going to six games. They successfully defended their championship by sweeping the Washington Capitals in the Cup Final.

    Why They're Here: Stronger than they were when they won the Cup in 1997, the Wings finished third in the overall regular-season standings. They dominated opponents with their experienced depth. The Wings were also motivated by teammate Vladimir Konstantinov, who suffered career-ending injuries in a car accident the previous year. They are the last team to win consecutive Cups.

3. 1993-94 New York Rangers

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    Key Players: The roster of the 1993-94 New York Rangers included defenseman Brian Leetch (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Mark Messier (captain), goaltender Mike Richter, defenseman Sergei Zubov and left wing Adam Graves.

    Notable Stats: Leetch led all scorers in assists (23), points (34) and plus/minus (plus-19), and tied Messier in game-winning goals with four. Richter's 2.07 GAA was third-best among starting goalies.

    Road to the Cup: The Rangers swept New York Islanders, eliminated the Washington Capitals in five games and downed the New Jersey Devils in seven. They also needed seven games to defeat the Vancouver Canucks in the Cup Final.

    Why They're Here: With a roster containing several players from the former Edmonton Oilers dynasty and rising stars like Leetch and Richter, the Rangers topped the regular-season standings. Down 3-2 against the Devils, Messier delivered on his famous Game 6 victory guarantee. That set the stage for their thrilling Final against Vancouver and the end of the Rangers' 54-year Cup drought.

2. 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche

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    DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche included goaltender Patrick Roy (Conn Smythe Trophy winner for the third time in his career), center Joe Sakic (captain), defensemen Ray Bourque and Rob Blake, and forwards Milan Hejduk, Chris Drury and Alex Tanguay.

    Notable Stats: Roy's 1.70 GAA and .934 save percentage led all goaltenders. Sakic was the offensive leader with 13 goals and 26 points, while Hejduk led in assists with 16. Hejduk (23 points) and Tanguay (21) finished among the top five scorers.

    Road to the Cup: The Avalanche swept the Vancouver Canucks, edged the Los Angeles Kings in seven and eliminated the St. Louis Blues in five. In the Cup Final, they defeated the defending Cup champion New Jersey Devils in a hard-fought seven games.

    Why They're Here: Led by future Hall of Fame stars like Sakic, Forsberg, Roy, Blake and Bourque, the Avalanche dominated the regular-season standings. Their roster was so deep that losing superstar Forsberg to a ruptured spleen didn't derail their championship run. To cap it off, Bourque got to end his 22-year career by finally hoisting the Cup.

1. 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings

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    PAUL WARNER/Associated Press

    Key Players: The roster of the 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings included defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (Conn Smythe Trophy winner), center Steve Yzerman (captain), goaltender Dominik Hasek, blueliner Chris Chelios and forwards Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov and a rookie named Pavel Datsyuk.

    Notable Stats: Hull led all skaters in goals with 10, while Hasek topped all goaltenders in minutes played (1,455) and shutouts (6). Chelios was the plus/minus leader with plus-15. Yzerman (23 points), Shanahan and Fedorov (19 points each), Hull (18) and Lidstrom (16) finished among the top 10 scorers.

    Road to the Cup: The Red Wings eliminated the Vancouver Canucks in six games, downed the St. Louis Blues in five and edged the defending champion Colorado Avalanche in seven games. In the Final, they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes in five games.

    Why They're Here: Over the past 25 years, no team had as much depth in future Hall of Fame talent as the 2001-02 Wings. Such a roster is unthinkable in today's salary-cap era. The Wings dominated the regular-season standings. They overcame a 2-0 series deficit against Vancouver and a 3-2 deficit against the Avalanche in the Western Conference Final. The overmatched Hurricanes stood little chance in the Final.

    All player and team stats via Hockey-Reference.com. Additional information via NHL.com.

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