April 7, 2007
The nation's capital was the perfect setting for the Buffalo Sabres to gain some stately hardware. The Sabres clinched the 2007 Presidents' Trophy as the top team in the league with their 2-0 shutout victory over the Washington Capitals in a Saturday matinee.
The Presidents' Trophy guarantees the Sabres home-ice advantage throughout the entirety of the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The distinction was introduced by the league's Board of Governors at the beginning of the 1985-86 season and has since been awarded to the team that accumulated the most points during the regular season.
Prior to 1986, the top team in the league would hang a banner as the “NHL League Champions.”
From 1967 through 1981, the Prince of Wales Trophy and Clarence S. Campbell Bowl were awarded to the top team in their respective conference. Buffalo has won two Prince of Wales Trophies in franchise history. Both banners can be seen hanging in the rafters of HSBC Arena.
With last Tuesday's 4-1 win at Pittsburgh, the Sabres clinched their first division title since 1996-97 and the fifth division crown in franchise history. The win also clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference -- the last time Buffalo entered the postseason as a number one seed was in 1979-80.
Today's win capped an outstanding campaign that began with the club tying a National Hockey League record for consecutive victories to start the season (10), matching the mark set by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs. The Sabres did not go more than three consecutive games without collecting a point.
The Sabres are the NHL's highest-scoring team with 305 goals and feature a League-leading four 30-goal scorers (Thomas Vanek
, Chris Drury, Jason Pominville
, Daniel Briere) and seven 20-goal scorers (Vanek, Drury, Pominville, Briere, Dainius Zubrus, Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy
Buffalo will face the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs or New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning next week. PRESIDENTS' TROPHY INFORMATION
Prior to this season, the Ottawa Senators (2003) were the only member of the Northeast Division to claim the league's top spot.
The Detroit Red Wings had won the last two consecutive Presidents' Trophies in 2004 and 2006, and boast a league-high five since 1986. No other team has won the trophy more than twice in that span. No trophy was awarded during the 2005 season due to the NHL labor strife.
Of the past 21 winners, six have gone on to claim the Stanley Cup that same season.