Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fewest Games Needed to Win the Stanley Cup

Now that the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs have concluded with the Chicago Blackhawks defeating the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final, it's time to do some math and see how many games it took the winners to collect the requisite 16 wins en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup.  

The chart below shows the number of playoff games needed to win the Stanley Cup since 1987, by year, team and number of games.

Year: Team (Games)              Year: Team (Games) 
1987: Edmonton Oilers (21) 2002: Detroit Red Wings (23)
1988: Edmonton Oilers (18) 2003: New Jersey Devils (23)
1989: Calgary Flames (22) 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning (23)
1990: Edmonton Oilers (22) 2006: Carolina Hurricanes (25)
1991: Pittsburgh Penguins (24) 2007: Anaheim Ducks (21)
1992: Pittsburgh Penguins (21) 2008: Detroit Red Wings (22)
1993: Montreal Canadiens (20) 2009: Pittsburgh Penguins (24)
1994: New York Rangers (23) 2010: Chicago Blackhawks (22)
1995: New Jersey Devils (20) 2011: Boston Bruins (25)
1996: Colorado Avalanche (22) 2012: Los Angeles Kings (20)
1997: Detroit Red Wings (20) 2013: Chicago Blackhawks (23)
1998: Detroit Red Wings (22)
1999: Dallas Stars (23)
2000: New Jersey Devils (23)
2001: Colorado Avalanche (23)        

Since the expansion of each playoff round to seven games in 1987, none have swept all four rounds to hoist the Cup in 16 games, nor have any skated in four Game 7s using all 28 possible games. The average number of games needed to win the Stanley Cup is 22, with the Edmonton Oilers (1988playing the fewest games (18), and the Carolina Hurricanes (2006) and Boston Bruins (2011) skating in the most (25).

Fans prefer fewer games. Owners don't mind the additional revenue that accompanies a longer series. But whatever is needed will suffice.

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