To hockey fans, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. The start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been an annual rite of spring since the inception of the NHL in 1917. Today it takes 16 teams and two months to determine a champion, but no matter how many teams have been involved or how long it takes, the intensity that goes along with the quest for the Cup has been a common denominator throughout the League's history.
As part of the League's Centennial Celebration, NHL.com is taking a look back at memorable events each week.
Here are Centennial highlights for the week of April 9-15:
April 15, 1952: The octopus tradition begins after the Detroit Red Wings complete a perfect postseason by sweeping the Stanley Cup Final.
Video: 1952 Cup Final, Gm4: Detroit's octopus toss begins
April 14, 1993: Ron Francis has vivid memories of the Pittsburgh Penguins' NHL-record 17-game winning streak.
Video: Ron Francis has second-most assists in NHL history
April 14, 1960: The celebration is a modest one after the Montreal Canadiens became the first team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup five years in a row.
Video: Memories: Canadiens win fifth consecutive Cup
April 13, 1940: Long before dramatic goals by Mark Messier and Stephane Matteau help the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup in 1994, Bryan Hextall scores his own historic goal to win the 1940 Stanley Cup in overtime.
April 12, 2007: Chris Chelios makes NHL history just by stepping on the ice for the Detroit Red Wings' Western Conference Quarterfinal game against the Calgary Flames.
Video: Memories: Chelios appears in 22nd playoffs
April 11, 1989: Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to shoot the puck into the net for a goal in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
Video: Memories: Hextall scores as a goalie in the playoffs
April 10, 1982: In the greatest comeback in Stanley Cup history,the Los Angeles Kings stage the "Miracle on Manchester" by rallying down 5-0 in the third period to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 in overtime to win Game 3 of their Smythe Division Semifinal series.
Video: Memories: The Kings rally for an epic comeback
April 9, 1980: Gordie Howe gets a standing ovation in Montreal after scoring what turns out to be the final NHL goal of his career.
Video: Memories: Gordie Howe scores his final playoff goal