What is the best NHL team to not win a Stanley Cup? With upsets occurring in the playoffs every season, there are many options when it comes to great teams who did not finish the job in the postseason.
Best NHL teams to not win a Stanley Cup
There have been a lot of teams that have put together record-breaking regular seasons and looked far better than the competition. However, some of those teams were unable to cap off the fantastic season with a championship.
The greatest teams not to win a Stanley Cup are those that had a plethora of talent, which include multiple All-Stars and future Hall of Famers. Although they were the favorites to win and proved it for the majority of the season, these 10 teams will be remembered as one of the best NHL teams to not lift the Stanley Cup.
10. 1975-76 Flyers
The 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers were a dominant team throughout the entire regular season.
Led by Hall of Famers Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber, the Flyers finished the regular season with a record of 51-13-16. Clarke and Barber both finished with over 110 points, while Reggie Leach led the team in goals with 61. Philadelphia led the NHL in shots per game throughout the season, and also scored more goals than any other team.
In the postseason, the Flyers advanced through the first two rounds, defeating the Maple Leafs and the Bruins. In the Stanley Cup Final, the Montreal Canadiens put an end to Philadelphia’s great season with a series sweep.
9. 2009-10 Capitals
The 2009-10 Capitals finished the regular season with a record of 54-15-13. Washington was led by Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green. The Capitals led the league in goals, which was largely due to a combined 90 goals from Ovechkin and Semin.
Washington’s season came to a quick end come playoff time. In the first round against the Montreal Canadiens, the Capitals would lose in game seven to put an end to a great regular season. Ovechkin would continue to be one of the greatest players to not win a Cup before finally getting over the hump in 2018.
8. 1973-74 Bruins
The Boston Bruins finished with the most wins, points, and goals during the 1973-74 season.
In the postseason, Boston started off strong, winning four straight games in the first round to sweep Toronto. The Bruins would then go on to defeat Chicago in six games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Philadelphia would put an end to Boston’s hopes though, defeating the Bruins in six games to capture the Cup.
7. 1988-89 Canadiens
With five Hall of Famers on the roster, the 1988-89 Canadiens are one of the greatest teams not to win a Stanley Cup.
Chris Chelios, Guy Carbonneau, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, and Patrick Roy were all members of the team that season. Montreal also had Mats Naslund and Bobby Smith, who both finished with over 80 points.
The team cruised through the regular season with a record of 53-18-9 while allowing the fewest goals in the league. Montreal continued the momentum in the playoffs, losing just three games in the first three rounds. It would be the Calgary Flames that would end their incredible season, as the Flames defeated the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.
6. 1978-79 Islanders
The 1978-79 Islanders were filled with a bunch of young superstars. New York had four future Hall of Famers that were all under the age of 26 that season.
Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin, and Mike Bossy were dominant forces on the team. Trottier had 134 points and won the Hart Trophy, Potvin had 101 points and won the Norris Trophy, and Bossy scored 69 goals. The team also featured Clark Gillies and Billy Smith.
The Islanders’ amazing season would come to an end in the second round of the playoffs against the New York Rangers. Fortunately for them and Islanders fans, the team would go on to win four straight championships starting the following season.
5. 1992-93 Penguins
The Penguins had four players score at least 100 points during the regular season. The team finished with 56 wins and 119 points. They had 10 more points than the second-place team in the regular season.
Coming into the playoffs, the Penguins were the favorites to win their third consecutive championship. Instead, they were knocked out in the second round by the New York Islanders.
4. 1985-86 Oilers
The 1985-86 Oilers were looking to win their third straight championship and were big favorites to do so.
The team featured seven future Hall of Famers, which included the greatest player to ever play the sport, Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky would finish with 215 points in the regular season, lifting his team to a record of 56-17-7. Edmonton’s 56 wins are the 10th most in NHL history.
The Oilers collapse came in the second round of the postseason. In a matchup against the Calgary Flames, Edmonton lost 3-2 in game seven to end their great season.
3. 1970-71 Bruins
The Bruins were a dominant team throughout the 1970-71 season. They finished with 57 wins, which is the 8th most of all time.
Boston not only led the league in wins, but also led in goals, shots per game, and goal differential. The Bruins had four players with 100 or more points, which included Hall of Famers Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and John Bucyk.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Bruins took on the Montreal Canadiens who had 15 fewer wins in the regular season. That did not seem to matter, as the Canadiens pulled off the upset, winning in seven games.
2. 2018-19 Lightning
Arguably the best NHL team to not win a Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning tied the record for most wins in a season in 2018-19.
The Lightning had an incredible 62-16-4 record in the regular season and were by far the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Tampa led the league in wins, points, goals, goal differential, power play percentage, and penalty kill percentage.
When the playoffs arrived, the Lightning team that was dominant all season long disappeared. Tampa could not win a single game in the postseason, losing in four games to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.
1. 1995-96 Red Wings
The best NHL team to not win a Stanley Cup is the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings.
At the time, the Red Wings set an NHL record for most wins in the regular season. They finished the season with a record of 62-13-7, which is the best winning percentage in the 82-game schedule era. Detroit had a winning streak of nine games twice in the regular season, while only losing back-to-back games just once.
After advancing through the first two rounds, Detroit was up against the Colorado Avalanche in the Conference Finals. That is where their record-breaking season came to an end, as they fell to the Avalanche in six games.