Playoff disappointments

The Vancouver Canucks were the NHL’s best regular season team last year, but their Round 1 exit was a disappointment (to say the least) for their long-suffering fans. Where do they rank among the all-time biggest playoff flops? That’s the focus of this week’s Top 10:

10. The 2000-01 Ottawa Senators

The Sens set a franchise record for wins at the turn of the century with a 48-21-9-4 mark that was the second-best in the Eastern Conference. However, they were swept in the first round – and, even worse, they lost at the hands of their hated rivals in Toronto.

9. The 1992-93 Boston Bruins

Boston had the second-best record in the league (51-26-7), but Ray Bourque & Co. were shocked and swept by the 15th-seeded Sabres in the opening round of the playoffs. Leading scorer Adam Oates had 45 regular season goals, but didn’t score once on Sabres star goalie Grant Fuhr in that first round.

8. The 2008-09 New Jersey Devils

New Jersey won the Atlantic Division on the strength of a 51-27-4 mark that set a still-standing franchise record for wins, but they were dumped in seven games in their opening-round loss to Carolina.

7. The 2005-06 Dallas Stars

No Stars team has won more regular season games than the 2005-06 edition, which posted a 53-23-6 record, but Mike Modano and his teammates won just a single game against a Colorado team that was swept by Anaheim in the second round. The Stars scored just 15 goals in those five games.

6. The 2008-09 San Jose Sharks

San Jose posted the NHL’s top record in 2008-09 (53-18-11, including a league-best 32-5-4 home mark). However, they fell in six games in the first round to their cross-state rivals from Anaheim.

5. The 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver repeated as the NHL’s Presidents’ Trophy winners in 2011-12, giving their fans hope they could at least get as far as the Cup final as they did in 2010-11. Unfortunately, the eventual-champion L.A. Kings demolished those dreams in five games, triggering a process that will lead to the departure of No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo once a new labor deal is signed.

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4. The 2009-10 Washington Capitals

A 54-15-13 mark gave the Caps their first Presidents’ Trophy, but Alex Ovechkin and his teammates ran into a Mack truck named Jaroslav Halak and fell to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games. Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had five goals in that series, but Alex Semin was held scoreless.

3. The 1970-71 Boston Bruins

Boston’s franchise record for wins was set in 1970-71 when the Bs went 57-14-7. However, they drew their hated rivals from Montreal in the first round and were sent packing by the Habs in seven games. Star Bruins Phil Esposito and Johnny Bucyk combined for 127 regular season goals, but could only manage five between them against that post-season’s eventual Cup-champion Canadiens.

2. The 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings

The Wings won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2005-06 by a whopping 11 points over the second-place Sens thanks to a 58-16-8 mark. But the upstart Edmonton Oilers only needed six games to dispose of them in their first-round matchup.

1. The 1929-30 Boston Bruins

The Bruins set several NHL records in the 1929-30 campaign, including most points (77), wins (38), goals (179) and highest winning percentage (.875, based on a 38-5-1 record), but were swept two games to none in the Cup final that year against Montreal.


The Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on

Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to His Power Rankings appear Mondays, his column appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature Fridays.