Which NHL teams have performed the best and which have underachieved in the playoffs so far this century? Starting with the 1999-00 season, this article will look at each team’s playoff history over the last 18 postseasons (2004-05 was a lockout year), using information gathered from Hockey Reference.com.
Every NHL team’s playoff record
Below is a table of showing every NHL team’s basic playoff information, sorted by the number of playoff appearances that each team has. It also shows each team’s overall playoff record and their series record.
Out of the 30 NHL teams (not counting Vegas since they have only played one season), 17 have made the playoffs at least 10 times. The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks are tied with the most appearances, having made it 16/18 times this century. At the bottom are the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets with only three appearances.
|Team||Playoff App||Playoff Record||Series Record|
|Detroit Red Wings||16||97-84 (53.6%)||18-14 (56.3%)|
|San Jose Sharks||16||94-90 (51.1%)||16-16 (50%)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||14||112-87 (56.3%)||23-11 (67.6%)|
|Philadelphia Flyers||14||74-79 (48.4%)||12-14 (46.2%)|
|Washington Capitals||13||68-70 (49.3%)||10-12 (45.5%)|
|Ottawa Senators||13||64-65 (49.6%)||10-13 (43.5%)|
|Anaheim Ducks||12||85-62 (57.8%)||15-11 (57.7%)|
|New Jersey Devils||12||80-69 (53.7%)||16-10 (61.5%)|
|Boston Bruins||12||70-63 (52.6%)||11-11 (50%)|
|St. Louis Blues||12||47-59 (44.3%)||7-12 (36.8%)|
|New York Rangers||11||61-68 (47.3%)||11-11 (50%)|
|Nashville Predators||11||49-56 (46.7%)||7-11 (38.9%)|
|Vancouver Canucks||11||47-58 (43.2%)||7-11 (38.9%)|
|Montreal Canadiens||11||48-63 (44%)||8-11 (42.1%)|
|Chicago Blackhawks||10||77-56 (57.9%)||16-7 (69.6%)|
|Colorado Avalanche||10||62-55 (53%)||11-9 (55%)|
|Los Angeles Kings||10||56-53 (51.4%)||11-8 (57.9%)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||9||71-56 (55.9%)||14-8 (63.6%)|
|Dallas Stars||9||48-51 (48.5%)||8-9 (47.1%)|
|Minnesota Wild||9||26-47 (35.6%)||4-9 (30.8%)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||8||40-43 (48.2%)||5-8 (38.5%)|
|Calgary Flames||7||30-37 (44.8%)||4-7 (36.4%)|
|New York Islanders||7||16-30 (34.8%)||1-7 (12.5%)|
|Buffalo Sabres||6||33-32 (50.8%)||5-6 (45.5%)|
|Edmonton Oilers||5||27-27 (50%)||4-5 (44.4%)|
|Arizona Coyotes||5||14-23 (37.8%)||2-5 (28.6%)|
|Carolina Hurricanes||4||39-33 (54.2%)||9-3 (75%)|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||4||5-16 (23.8%)||0-4 (0%)|
|Winnipeg Jets||3||9-16 (36%)||2-3 (40%)|
|Florida Panthers||3||5-12 (29.4%)||0-3 (0%)|
|Vegas Golden Knights||1||13-7 (65%)||3-1 (75%)|
Best and worst performing playoff teams this century
Over the last 18 playoffs, the Anaheim Ducks have been the best team in terms of winning games at a clip of just under 60%. Technically, the Vegas Golden Knights are the best (65%) but they have only played one season so their numbers are skewed compared to all the other teams.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins have 112 wins (15 more than Detroit), along with the fourth best win percentage. This gives then more playoff wins in this timeframe than 18 NHL franchises have played total playoff games.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Florida Panthers (29.4%) and Columbus Blue Jackets (23.8%) are the only teams to win less than 30% of their playoff games. The table below lists the top six teams (plus Vegas) and the bottom six teams in terms of their playoff win percentage by game.
|Vegas Golden Knights||13-7 (65%)|
|Chicago Blackhawks||77-56 (57.9%)|
|Anaheim Ducks||85-62 (57.8%)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||112-87 (56.3%)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||71-56 (55.9%)|
|Carolina Hurricanes||39-33 (54.2%)|
|New Jersey Devils||80-69 (53.7%)|
|Arizona Coyotes||14-23 (37.8%)|
|Winnipeg Jets||9-16 (36%)|
|Minnesota Wild||26-47 (35.6%)|
|New York Islanders||16-30 (34.8%)|
|Florida Panthers||5-12 (29.4%)|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||5-16 (23.8%)|
In terms of winning playoff series, only six teams have won over 60% of the ones they have played in this century. At the top are the Golden Knights and Hurricanes, although they have both played at least 10 less playoff series than the other four top teams.
I also listed the bottom six teams as a counter to the top six. Panthers and Blue Jackets fans have gone through hard times as neither has won a playoff series this century, with Columbus having never one won one since their franchise’s first year was the 2000-01 season.
Vegas won more playoff series in their inaugural season than four NHL franchises have this century (Coyotes, Jets, Islanders, Panthers and Blue Jackets). This is on top of the fact that their 13 playoff wins are more than those same teams, besides the Islanders, have.
|Carolina Hurricanes||9-3 (75%)|
|Vegas Golden Knights||3-1 (75%)|
|Chicago Blackhawks||16-7 (69.6%)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23-11 (67.6%)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||14-8 (63.6%)|
|New Jersey Devils||16-10 (61.5%)|
|Calgary Flames||4-7 (36.4%)|
|Minnesota Wild||4-9 (30.8%)|
|Arizona Coyotes||2-5 (28.6%)|
|New York Islanders||1-7 (12.5%)|
|Florida Panthers||0-3 (0%)|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||0-4 (0%)|
Playoff sweeps so far this century
Out the 270 series to be played over these past 18 playoffs, there has been a total of 31 sweeps. The Anaheim Ducks have the most accounting for 5 (16.12%) of all sweeps. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins has the most sweeps (3) without having been swept.
The Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, and New York Islanders stand neither swept anyone or been swept yet in the playoffs this century. At the bottom, the Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, and Winnipeg Jets have all been swept twice but never swept an opponent.
|Team||Swept Opp||Got Swept|
|Detroit Red Wings||4||1|
|New Jersey Devils||2||0|
|San Jose Sharks||2||1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||2||1|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||1||0|
|Vegas Golden Knights||1||0|
|New York Rangers||1||1|
|Los Angeles Kings||1||2|
|St. Louis Blues||1||2|
|New York Islanders||0||0|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||0||1|
Getting to each playoff round
The San Jose Sharks have the most 2nd round appearances with 11. The Pittsburgh Penguins have the most conference championship appearances with six. They are also tied with the New Jersey Devils for the most Stanley Cup Final appearances with four.
The Carolina Hurricanes have made the most of their playoff appearances this century, having made it to the Finals twice despite only having made the playoffs four times. Every other team with at least two Finals appearances have made the playoffs nine or more times.
21/31 (67.74%) of the league has made it to the Finals this century, with the most recent Stanley Cup being contested between two newcomers in Washington and Vegas. All but three teams (Islanders, Panthers and Blue Jackets) have appeared in at least one conference championship.
|Team||Playoff App||2nd Round App||Conf. Champ App||Finals App|
|New Jersey Devils||12||6||4||4|
|Detroit Red Wings||16||9||4||3|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||9||6||5||2|
|Los Angeles Kings||10||4||3||2|
|San Jose Sharks||16||11||4||1|
|New York Rangers||11||7||3||1|
|Vegas Golden Knights||1||1||1||1|
|St. Louis Blues||12||5||2||0|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||8||4||1||0|
|New York Islanders||7||1||0||0|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||4||0||0||0|
The Stanley Cup Finals
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, Detriot Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings have dominated this century so far, winning 12/18 (66.66%) of all Stanley Cup Finals. 13 of the past 18 Finals have featured at least one of these teams, with the exceptions being 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2018.
The Western Conference has been controlled by the Blackhawks and Red Wings who have 6/18 (33.33%) of the conferences’ total Finals appearances. Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference has been dominated by the Penguins and Devils, who have 8/18 (44.44%) of the total Finals appearances.
|Team||Finals App||Finals W/L||
Finals Game Record
|New Jersey Devils||4||2-2||13-13|
|Detroit Red Wings||3||2-1||11-7|
|Los Angeles Kings||2||2-0||8-3|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||2||1-1||6-7|
|San Jose Sharks||1||0-1||2-4|
|New York Rangers||1||0-1||1-4|
|Vegas Golden Knights||1||0-1||1-4|
Sources and Info: (All sources not listed here linked/mentioned in the article)
https://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/index.html#site_menu_link (Used to get playoff information for each team)
https://www.printyourbrackets.com/winning-percentage-calculator.php (Used to find win percentage for each team)