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Greatest NHL Teams

Top 10 Greatest NHL Teams

Best Stanley Cup champions as voted by hockey fans

NHL.com @NHL

Hockey fans have spoken.

After three rounds of head-to-head voting, 10 teams remain from the original list of 96 Stanley Cup champions in the quest for the title of Greatest NHL Team.

Voting for the Greatest NHL Teams, sponsored by SAP in the U.S. and by Honda in Canada, began April 18 as part of the League's Centennial celebration.

On Monday, Wayne Gretzky, the greatest scorer in NHL history, helped unveil the No. 1 team of all-time, the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers, before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Teams 2-10 were announced previously.

 

 

1. 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers

 

Video: 1984-85 Oilers dominate to claim second straight Cup

The run-and-gun Edmonton Oilers cruised past the competition to win a second consecutive championship in 1985, going 15-3 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a five-game win against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Final. Wayne Gretzky set NHL records for assists (30) and points (47) in a single postseason, and he scored seven goals in the Final to tie the modern record shared by Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens (1956) and Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders (1982).

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers voted No. 1 Greatest NHL Team]

 

Jari Kurri scored 19 goals in 18 games to tie the NHL record for goals in a single postseason. He had four hat tricks, including a four-goal game, to break teammate Mark Messier's record for most hat tricks in one playoff year; Messier had three in 1982-83. Paul Coffey had 12 goals, 25 assists and 37 points to shatter the NHL records for goals, assists and points by a defenseman in one postseason. Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins held the records for goals (nine, 1970) and assists (19, 1972), and Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders held the record for points (25, 1981).

 

 

2. 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Video: 1991-92 Penguins win second consecutive Stanley Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship with a sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks, who were making their first appearance in the Final since 1973. The Penguins and Blackhawks each had an 11-game winning streak in the 1992 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tied with the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens for the longest in one postseason in NHL history. Chicago's streak spanned the first three rounds; Pittsburgh won its last 11 games to repeat as champion. The Penguins ended the Blackhawks' streak with a 5-4 victory in Game 1 of the Final.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins voted No. 2 Greatest NHL Team]

 

Mario Lemieux, who had 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 15 games for Pittsburgh, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP for the second straight year, becoming the second player in League history to accomplish the feat (Philadelphia Flyers goalie Bernie Parent, 1974 and 1975). The Penguins became the third team to win the Cup in back-to-back seasons with a different coach. Scotty Bowman guided them to the repeat victory after "Badger" Bob Johnson had won in 1991.

 

 

3. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens

 

Video: 1976-77 Habs dispatch Bruins for second straight Cup

The Montreal Canadiens went 60-8-12 in the regular season and 12-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Playing the Boston Bruins in the Final for the first time since 1958, they swept the best-of-7 series to win their second consecutive championship. It was Montreal's sixth straight series victory against Boston in the Final.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens voted No. 3 Greatest NHL Team

 

Jacques Lemaire, who scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 4, joined Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens (three) and Don Raleigh of the New York Rangers (two) as the only players to score more than one overtime goal in Cup Final play. Lemaire first scored in overtime in the Final against the St. Louis Blues in 1968. In Game 2, Ken Dryden became the fifth goalie in NHL history with four shutouts in a single postseason. Guy Lafleur, who had nine goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP.

 

 

4. 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers

 

Video: 1987-88 Oilers capture their fourth Cup in five years

The Edmonton Oilers won their fourth Stanley Cup title in five years with a 4-0 series victory against the Boston Bruins, who were making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 10 years. After finishing second in the Smythe Division in the regular season behind the Calgary Flames, the Oilers went 16-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers voted No. 4 Greatest NHL Team

 

For the first time since 1927, a Cup Final game didn't have a winner. In Game 4, with the Oilers leading the best-of-7 series 3-0, a power failure at Boston Garden halted play at 16:37 of the second period with the game tied 3-3. Under NHL bylaws, the game was suspended, to be made up in its entirety only if a Game 7 was necessary. The series shifted back to Edmonton, where the Oilers earned a 6-3 victory to win the championship. Wayne Gretzky set a Cup Final record with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP for the second time.

 

 

5. 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers

 

Video: 1986-87 Oilers win third Stanley Cup in four seasons

After a year's absence, the Edmonton Oilers returned to the Final and won their third Stanley Cup in four seasons. Edmonton and the Philadelphia Flyers, meeting for the second time in three years, took the series to seven games for the first time since the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Black Hawks in 1971.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers voted No. 5 Greatest NHL Team]

 

After a home loss to the Los Angeles Kings on the opening night of the postseason, the Oilers set their record for goals in a 13-3 win in Game 2, the first of an eight-game winning streak that carried them to series wins against the Kings and Winnipeg Jets. A five-game series win against the Detroit Red Wings in the conference final set the stage for an exciting Cup Final against the Flyers that wasn't settled until Glenn Anderson's insurance goal late in Game 7. Wayne Gretzky led playoff scorers with 29 assists and 34 points in 21 games.

 

 

6. 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings

 

Video: 1997-98 Red Wings sweep Caps to repeat as Cup champs

With a four-game sweep of the Washington Capitals, the Detroit Red Wings became the first team since the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991, 1992) and remains the most recent to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The Red Wings were led by Steve Yzerman, who became the fifth player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs while captain of his team. Scotty Bowman equaled Toe Blake's NHL record of eight Stanley Cup coaching victories.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings voted No. 6 Greatest NHL Team]

 

Detroit did not have a smooth road to the schampionship; it played six games in each of the three series leading up to the Stanley Cup Final. The Red Wings had equal success at home and on the road, with 8-3 records at each. Ten Red Wings scored the 16 game-winning goals.

 

 

7. 1982-83 New York Islanders

 

Video: 1982-83 Islanders win fourth straight Stanley Cup

The New York Islanders won their fourth straight Stanley Cup to become the second team in NHL history to win that many in a row. The Montreal Canadiens had five consecutive wins from 1956-60 and won four in a row from 1976-79. Since this streak by the Islanders, no NHL team has won more than two consecutive titles.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1982-83 New York Islanders voted No. 7 Greatest NHL Team]

 

Goaltender Billy Smith won the Conn Smythe Trophy after limiting the Edmonton Oilers to six goals in four games in the Cup Final and shutting out the Campbell Conference champions in seven of 12 periods. Smith and the Islanders derailed a young Oilers team that had won 11 of its 12 playoff games and averaged more than six goals per game. Wayne Gretzky had and assist on four of the Oilers' six goals in his first Cup Final series.

 

 

8. 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens

 

Video: 1977-78 Canadiens win Cup for third straight season

The Montreal Canadiens, who lost 10 regular-season games, similarly powered their way through the postseason in winning their third consecutive Stanley Cup. Conn Smythe Trophy winner Larry Robinson led the playoffs with 17 assists.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens voted No. 8 Greatest NHL Team]

 

The Canadiens needed nine games to reach the Cup Final, going 4-1 against the Detroit Red Wings in their first postseason meeting since the 1966 Stanley Cup Final, and 4-0 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who the Canadiens hadn't faced since the 1967 Cup Final. Meeting the Boston Bruins for the championship in a rematch of their 1977 series, the Canadiens won in six games. Robinson tied teammate Guy Lafleur (10 goals, 11 assists) for the playoff scoring lead with 21 points and one of three Canadiens, including Doug Jarvis and Steve Shutt, to appear in all 95 games during the season.

 

 

9. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers

 

Video: 1983-84 Oilers dethrone Islanders to win Stanley Cup

The Edmonton Oilers became the first of the four former World Hockey Association clubs to win the Stanley Cup. They did so by dethroning the four-time defending champion New York Islanders. Making his Stanley Cup Final debut, goaltender Grant Fuhr posted a shutout in Game 1 at Nassau Coliseum, handing the Islanders their first loss in 10 Final series games.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers voted No. 9 Greatest NHL Team]

 

Four Oilers -- Kevin McClelland, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier and Ken Linseman -- scored game-winning goals. Messier had 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. "It's a really special group, we beat a really great hockey club, a dynasty team that taught us how to win from the previous year," Wayne Gretzky said. "I think the biggest goal in all of Oilers history was the one Kevin McClelland scored [in Game 1]. He got one all year and he got one in Game 1, which was big [in a 1-0 win]."

 

 

10. 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings

 

Video: 2001-02 Red Wings take unique route to Cup glory

Boasting a lineup laden with future Hockey Hall of Famers, the Detroit Red Wings took an unconventional route to the Stanley Cup, becoming the first team in NHL history to win the championship after starting the playoffs with two losses at home.

 

[IN-DEPTH: 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings voted No. 10 Greatest NHL Team]

 

After those two losses to the Vancouver Canucks, the Red Wings won 16 of their next 21 games for their third Cup win under Scotty Bowman, who established a coaching record with his ninth Cup victory, surpassing the mark he held with Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake. The Cup win was the first for many Red Wings veterans, including goaltender Dominik Hasek, forward Luc Robitaille and defensemen Steve Duchesne and Fredrik Olausson. It was the second Cup win for 40-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios, 16 years after he first won it as a member of the Montreal Canadiens in 1986, and 37-year-old right wing Brett Hull, who won the Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.

 

[MORE TO EXPLORE: All-Time Stanley Cup Winners | NHL 100 | READ: Greatest NHL Teams | WATCH: Greatest NHL Teams]

 

The Greatest NHL Teams were voted by fans over a period of weeks during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as part of the NHL Centennial celebration. Stanley Cup Championship teams from 1918-2016 were eligible, and the Top 10 were announced during the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

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