Which state has won the most professional sports championships?

Which states (along with the nation’s capital Washington D.C.) have the most professional championships in the five biggest team sports in America? For the purposes of this article, I counted all championships won in each of the leagues listed below for football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer.

Which leagues are counted towards championships? 

Football (American Football): NFL, AFL, AAFC, USFL, Arena League, CFL

Basketball: NBA, ABA, NBL, WNBA

Baseball: MLB (NL+AL), NAPBBP, Union Association, American Association

*For baseball before the World Series (1903, 1905-present), I counted championships for which team won the pennant for that year. All World Series before 1903 were considered exhibitions, so I did not count them.

Hockey: NHL, WHA, PCHA, WCHA

Soccer (Football): MLS, NWSL (plus predecessors WPS and WUSA)

States with the most championships

Out of the 50 states and D.C., only 26/51 (50.98%) have one at least one championship in any of these five sports. The top four states of New York, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania 223 championships. All other states and D.C. combined have 268.

Out of New York’s 66 championships, the Yankees have 27 (40.90%) of them. In fact, the Yankees alone have more World Series titles than all but six states (counting NY minus the Yankees total) have fewer total championships across these five sports.

States with the most professional championships

Below is a table showing the number of championships each state has won in each sport. The states with N/A never had a team in that sport in any of the above leagues mentioned.

State Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer Total
Alabama 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Alaska N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Arizona 5 3 1 0 N/A 9
Arkansas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
California 14 20 18 3 9 64
Colorado 5 0 0 2 1 8
Connecticut 0 0 0 0 N/A 0
Delaware N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A 0
Florida 11 3 2 1 0 17
Georgia 0 0 1 0 0 1
Hawaii N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Idaho N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Illinois 12 7 13 6 1 39
Indiana 1 7 N/A N/A N/A 8
Iowa 0 0 0 N/A N/A 0
Kansas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Kentucky 0 1 1 N/A N/A 2
Louisiana 1 0 N/A N/A N/A 1
Maine N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Maryland 7 1 6 N/A 0 14
Massachusetts 5 17 22 6 0 50
Michigan 10 6 5 11 N/A 32
Minnesota 0 10 2 0 0 12
Mississippi N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Missouri 2 1 16 0 4 23
Montana N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Nebraska N/A 0 N/A N/A N/A 0
Nevada 0 0 N/A 0 N/A 0
New Hampshire N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
New Jersey 0 0 0 3 1 4
New Mexico N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
New York 12 7 37 8 2 66
North Carolina 0 0 N/A 1 1 2
North Dakota N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Ohio 13 4 8 0 1 26
Oklahoma 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Oregon 0 1 N/A 0 3 4
Pennsylvania 15 4 17 7 0 43
Rhode Island 1 0 2 N/A N/A 3
South Carolina N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
South Dakota N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Tennessee 0 0 N/A 0 N/A 0
Texas 8 12 1 1 2 24
Utah N/A 1 N/A N/A 1 2
Vermont N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Virginia N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A 0
Washington 2 3 0 1 1 7
Washington D.C. 5 1 1 1 5 13
West Virginia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Wisconsin 13 4 1 N/A N/A 18
Wyoming N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0

States with three or fewer championships

Georgia: Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series (MLB)

Louisiana: New Orleans Saints 2009 Super Bowl (NFL)

Kentucky: Kentucky Colonels 1975 ABA Champions (ABA), Louisville Colonels 1890 pennant winners (AA)

Utah: Utah Stars 1971 ABA Champions (ABA), Real Salt Lake 2009 MLS Cup (MLS)

North Carolina: Carolina Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup (NHL), Carolina Courage 2002 Founders Cup Champions (WUSA)

Rhode Island: Providence Steam Roller 1928 NFL Championship (NFL), Providence Grays 1879 and 1884 pennant winners (NL)

Some interesting facts from this information

  • Pennsylvania has the most football championships (15)
  • California has the most basketball championships (20)
  • California has the most soccer championships (9)
  • New York has the most baseball championships (37)
  • Michigan has the most hockey championships (11)
  • Ohio is tied for the 3rd most football championships even though a team from the state has not won since the Browns captured their last NFL Championship in 1964.
  • Rhode Island has as many or more football championships then North Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Louisiana, Indiana, and Tennessee. This is despite all these states currently having NFL teams.
  • Despite being the smallest state, Rhode Island has more championships than 31 states.
  • Maryland is the only state to have won a Grey Cup when the Baltimore Stallions won it in 1995 during the CFL’s brief expansion into America.
  • 17 states have never had a professional team in any of the five major sports.

 

Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “USA State Flag Map” by WonderWhy is licensed under CC BY-2.0

All graphs and tables made using Google Spreadsheet

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFL.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-America_Football_Conference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Football_League#1983

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grey_Cup_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArenaBowl

http://www.nba.com/history/nba-season-recaps/

http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ABA_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Basketball_League_(United_States)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WNBA_Finals

http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Association_of_Professional_Base_Ball_Players

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_League_pennant_winners

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_League_pennant_winners

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Association_(19th_century)

http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=25426

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Hockey_Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Canada_Hockey_League

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Coast_Hockey_Association

http://www.mlssoccer.com/history/mls-cup

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Women%27s_Soccer_League

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Professional_Soccer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_United_Soccer_Association

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Comparing every team’s playoff record since 2000 in the four major sports

After taking an individual look at each of the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) it is time to see how all of these team compared to each other in terms of playoff success. This article will look at the every NBA, NFL and NHL season starting with 1999-00 and every MLB season since 2000.

Playoff Appearances and totals for each sport

The graph below shows the total number of playoff appearances for all 123 franchises between the four major sports since the 2000 playoffs.

Number of playoff appearances by each team in the four major sports since 2000

Click here for larger version of the above graph

*Did not count Vegas toward NHL total for at least 5 and 9 playoff appearances in the table below since they have only played one season as a franchise.

Sport At least 1 Playoff App. At least 5 Playoff App. At least 9 Playoff App.
MLB 30/30 (100%) 16/30 (53.33%) 5/30 (16.66%)
NBA 30/30 (100%) 30/30 (100%) 21/30 (70%)
NHL 31/31 (100%) 26/30* (86.67%) 20/30* (66.67%)
NFL 32/32 (100%) 24/32 (75%) 8/32 (25%)

The table below shows the only five teams to have at least 15 playoff appearances since 2000, as well as the Yankees who have the most of any MLB team. While the next table shows all of the teams who have two or fewer playoff appearances.

Team Sport # of Playoff Appearances
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19
Detriot Red Wings NHL 16
San Jose Sharks NHL 16
New England Patriots NFL 15
Dallas Mavericks NBA 15
New York Yankees MLB 14

*The NBA teams with the fewest playoff appearances are the Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New York Knicks with six each.

*Vegas has only played one season. After them, the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets have the fewest in the NHL with three appearances.

Team Sport # of Playoff Appearances
Buffalo Bills NFL 2
Kansas City Royals MLB 2
Milwaukee Brewers MLB 2
San Diego Padres MLB 2
Seattle Mariners MLB 2
Toronto Blue Jays MLB 2
Vegas Golden Knights* NHL 1
Miami Marlins MLB 1
Cleveland Browns NFL 1

Jetpack

Best and worst performing playoff teams since 2000 by game

Out of the 123 teams, only 12 (4 NFL, 4 MLB, 3 NBA 1 NHL) have won at least 60% of there playoff games. In contrast, 13 (8 NFL, 3 MLB, 2 NHL) have won less than 30% of them.

Team Sport # of Playoff App Win % (record)
New England Patriots NFL 15 73% (27-10)
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 71% (22-9)
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 68.1% (77-36)
Baltimore Ravens NFL 10 65.2% (15-8)
Vegas Golden Knights NHL 1 65% (13-7)
Miami Marlins MLB 1 64.7% (11-6)
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 63.8% (97-55)
Chicago White Sox MLB 3 63.2% (12-7)
New York Giants NFL 8 62.5% (10-6)
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 62.1% (123-75)
San Fransico Giants MLB 7 61.5% (48-30)
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 12 60% (15-10)

*Lowest NBA team is the Denver Nuggets at 34.4% win percentage (22-42 record in 10 playoff appearances).

Team Sport # of Playoff App Win % (record)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 29.4% (5-12)
Miami Dolphins NFL 5 28.6% (2-5)
Washington Redskins NFL 5 28.6% (2-5)
Blue Jackets NHL 4 23.8% (5-16)
Dallas Cowboys NFL 7 22.2% (2-7)
Cincinnati Reds MLB 3 22.2% (2-7)
Minnesota Twins MLB 7 21.4% (6-22)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 14.3% (1-6)
Kansa City Chiefs NFL 7 12.5% (1-7)
Cincinnati Bengals NFL 7 0% (0-7)
Detroit Lions NFL 4 0% (0-4)
Buffalo Bills NFL 2 0% (0-2)
Cleveland Browns NFL 1 0% (0-1)

The graph below shows the winning percentage of every single team in this time frame by playoff game.

Percentage of playoff games won in 4 major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) since 2000 playoffs (2000 season for MLB, 1999-00 season for other sports)

Click here to view the larger version of this graph

Team with the most and least total games won in each sport

Team Sport # of Playoff App Games Won Win % (Record)
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 148 59% (148-103)
New England Patriots NFL 15 27 73% (27-10)
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 112 56.3% (112-87)
New York Yankees MLB 14 69 53.1% (69-61)
Team Sport # of Playoff App Games Won Win % (Record)
Cincinnati Bengals NFL 7 0 0% (0-7)
Charlotte Hornets NBA 6 14 36.8% (14-24)
Blue Jackets NHL 4 5 23.8% (5-16)
Detroit Lions NFL 4 0 0% (0-4)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 5 29.4% (5-12)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 1 14.3% (1-6)
Buffalo Bills NFL 2 0 0% (0-2)
Cleveland Browns NFL 1 0 0% (0-1)

Best and worst performing playoff teams by series

Since the NFL does not have playoff series, this next section will only focus on MLB, NBA and NHL teams in terms of their playoff series success. While the NBA and NHL have four rounds of playoff series, MLB only has three. For MLB I did not count the play-in wild-card games towards series wins/losses.

The next two tables below show every team that has won at least 65% of there playoff series and won less than 20% of there playoff series.

Team Sport # of Playoff App Series Win % (record)
Miami Marlins MLB 1 100% (3-0)
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 83.3% (5-1)
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 81% (17-4)
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 78.9% (30-8)
Carolina Hurricanes NHL 4 75% (9-3)
Vegas Golden Knights NHL 1 75% (3-1)
San Fransico Giants MLB 7 73.3% (11-4)
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 72.4% (21-8)
Chicago Blackhawks NHL 10 69.6% (16-7)
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 68.1% (32-15)
Miami Heat NBA 14 67.6% (23-11)
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 67.6% (23-11)
Team Sports # of Playoff App Series Win % (record)
Denver Nuggets NBA 10 16.7% (2-10)
Milwaukee Bucks NBA 10 16.7% (2-10)
Minnesota Twins MLB 7 14.3% (1-6)
Oakland Athletics MLB 8 12.5% (1-7)
New York Islanders NHL 7 12.5% (1-7)
Atlanta Braves MLB 9 11.1% (1-8)
Washington Nationals MLB 4 0% (0-4)
Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 4 0% (0-4)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 0% (0-3)
Cincinnati Reds MLB 3 0% (0-2)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 0% (0-2)
Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 3 0% (0-1)

The chart below shows every MLB, NBA and NHL team’s winning percentage by series.

Percentage of playoff series won by MLB, NBA and NHL since 2000

Click here to view larger version of above graph

*Did not count Vegas toward NHL total for at least 5 and 9 playoff series since they have only played one season as a franchise.

Sport At least 1 Series Won At least 5 Series Won At least 10 Series Won
MLB* 26/30 (86.67%) 12/30 (40%) 4/30 (13.33%)
NBA 30/30 (100%) 20/30 (66.67%) 11/30 (36.67%)
NHL 29/31 (93.54%) 22/30 (73.33%) 14/30 (46.67%)

The first table shows the top team in the MLB, NBA, and NHL in terms of playoff series won. Meanwhile, the next table shows the bottom teams in each of these sports in terms of series won.

Team Sport # of Playoff App Series Won Series % (Record)
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 23 67.6% (23-11)
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 30 78.9% (30-8)
St. Louis Cardinals MLB 12 15 60% (15-10)
Team Sport # of Playoff App Series Won Series % (Record)
Charlotte Hornets NBA 6 2 25% (2-6)
Minnesota Timberwolves NBA 6 2 25% (2-6)
New Orleans Pelicans NBA 7 2 22.2% (2-7)
Denver Nuggets NBA 10 2 16.7% (2-10)
Milwaukee Bucks NBA 10 2 16.7% (2-10)
Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 4 0 0% (0-4)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 0 0% (0-3)
Washington Nationals MLB 4 0 0% (0-4)
Cincinnati Reds MLB 3 0 0% (0-2)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 0 0% (0-2)
Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 3 0 0% (0-1)

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Playoff sweeps

In the time frame of this article, these have been a total of 116 playoff sweeps between the NBA (53), NHL (31) and MLB (32). Eight of the 91 teams in these three sports have accounted for 46 (41.07%) of these sweeps.

Team Sport # of Playoff App # of Sweeps # of times Swept
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 10 2
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 7 2
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 7 3
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 5 0
Anaheim Ducks NHL 12 5 1
Detroit Red Wings NHL 16 4 1
Miami Heat NBA 14 4 2
Boston Red Sox MLB 9 4 3

On the opposite side of the spectrum, only ten teams have been swept at least three times. However, no NHL has been swept more than two times. These ten teams account for 36 (31.03%) of these sweeps.

Team Sport # of Playoff App # of times Swept # of Sweeps
Memphis Grizzlies NBA 10 5 0
Toronto Raptors NBA 10 4 0
Atlanta Hawks NBA 10 4 0
Portland Trail Blazers NBA 12 4 0
Detroit Pistons NBA 10 4 1
Chicago Cubs MLB 6 3 0
Minnesota Twins MLB 7 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB 5 3 1
Los Angeles Angels MLB 7 3 1
Boston Red Sox MLB 9 3 4

The table below compares sweeps in each sport, as well as how many teams have yet to sweep or be swept.

Sport Teams to sweep opp Teams to be swept
Teams neither sweep or been swept
MLB 19/30 19/30 5/30
NBA 18/30 24/30 2/30
NHL 17/31 23/31 3/31

Conference Championships and Championships

The table below shows how each sport compares in terms of what percentage of there teams have appeared in a conference championship, championship and won a championship.

Sport Conf. Champ App. Champ App. Champ Won
MLB 26/30 (86.67%) 19/30 (63.33) 12/30 (40%)
NBA 26/30 (86.67%) 13/32 (40.62%) 8/32 (25%)
NHL 28/31 (90.32%) 21/31 (67.74%) 11/31 (35.48%)
NFL 23/32 (71.87%) 19/32 (59.37%) 12/32 (37.5%)

Between the 123 teams in the four major sports, only 17 have appeared in at least five conference championship games. The New England Patriots led the way with 12 appearances and eight wins.

Team Sport Conf Champ. App Won Lost
New England Patriots NFL 12 8 4
San Antonio Spurs NBA 9 5 4
St. Louis Cardinals MLB 9 4 5
New York Yankees MLB 8 4 4
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 7 7 0
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 6 5 1
Miami Heat NBA 6 5 1
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 6 4 2
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 6 3 3
Philadelphia Eagles NFL 6 2 4
Boston Celtics NBA 6 2 4
Detroit Pistons NBA 6 2 4
Boston Red Sox MLB 5 3 2
Chicago Blackhawks NHL 5 3 2
Anaheim Ducks NHL 5 2 3
Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 5 2 3
Los Angeles Dodgers MLB 5 1 4

There have also been ten teams to appear in multiple conference championship games without losing one with the Los Angeles Lakers being an impressive 7-0. On the flipside, there have been ten teams to appear in multiple conference championship games and not win one.

Team Sport Conf Champ. App Won Lost
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 7 7 0
Golden State Warriors NBA 4 4 0
San Francisco Giants MLB 4 4 0
New Jersey Devils NHL 4 4 0
New York Giants NFL 3 3 0
Seattle Seahawks NFL 3 3 0
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 2 0
Boston Bruins NHL 2 2 0
Texas Rangers MLB 2 2 0
Los Angeles Rams NFL 2 2 0
Team Sport Conf Champ. App Won Lost
Minnesota Vikings NFL 3 0 3
Phoenix Suns NBA 3 0 3
Buffalo Sabres NHL 2 0 2
Houston Rockets NBA 2 0 2
Jacksonville Jaguars NFL 2 0 2
New York Jets NFL 2 0 2
Montreal Canadiens NHL 2 0 2
Seattle Mariners MLB 2 0 2
St. Louis Blues NHL 2 0 2
Toronto Blue Jays MLB 2 0 2

Every team to win multiple championships

Team Sport Playoff App Champ App. Champ Record Game record
New England Patriots NFL 15 8 5-3 5-3
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 7 5-2 23-15
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 5 4-1 19-10
Miami Heat NBA 14 5 3-2 15-14
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 4 3-1 15-7
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 4 3-1 14-11
San Francisco Giants MLB 7 4 3-1 15-8
Boston Red Sox MLB 9 3 3-0 12-2
Chicago Blackhawks NHL 10 3 3-0 12-6
New York Yankees MLB 14 4 2-2 13-11
New Jersey Devils NHL 12 4 2-2 13-13
St. Louis Cardinals MLB 12 4 2-2 10-12
Detroit Red Wings NHL 16 3 2-1 11-7
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 12 3 2-1 2-1
New York Giants NFL 8 3 2-1 2-1
Baltimore Ravens NFL 10 3 2-0 2-0
Los Angeles Kings NHL 10 3 2-0 8-3

Every team with one championship

Team Sport Playoff App Champ App Champ Record Game Record
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 5 1-4 7-19
Seattle Seahawks NFL 12 3 1-2 1-2
Dallas Mavericks NBA 15 2 1-1 6-6
Boston Celtics NBA 14 2 1-1 7-6
Indianapolis Colts NFL 14 2 1-1 1-1
Anaheim Ducks NHL 12 2 1-1 7-5
Boston Bruins NHL 12 2 1-1 6-7
Philadelphia Eagles NFL 11 2 1-1 1-1
Detroit Pistons NBA 10 2 1-1 7-5
Denver Broncos NFL 9 2 1-1 1-1
Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 9 2 1-1 6-7
Los Angeles Rams NFL 6 2 1-1 1-1
Philadelphia Phillies MLB 5 2 1-1 6-5
Houston Astros MLB 5 2 1-1 4-7
Carolina Hurricanes NHL 4 2 1-1 5-7
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 2 1-1 7-5
Green Bay Packers NFL 13 1 1-0 1-0
Washington Capitals NHL 13 1 1-0 4-1
Colorado Avalanche NHL 10 1 1-0 4-3
Los Angeles Angels NFL 7 1 1-0 4-3
New Orleans Saints NFL 7 1 1-0 1-0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL 6 1 1-0 1-0
Chicago Cubs MLB 6 1 1-0 4-3
Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 5 1 1-0 4-3
Chicago White Sox MLB 3 1 1-0 4-0
Miami Marlins MLB 1 1 1-0 4-2

Teams with no championship

Team Sport Playoff App Champ App Champ Record Game Record
Brooklyn Nets NBA 9 2 0-2 2-8
Carolina Panthers NFL 7 2 0-2 0-2
Detroit Tigers MLB 5 2 0-2 1-8
Texas Rangers MLB 5 2 0-2 4-8
New York Mets MLB 4 2 0-2 2-8
San Jose Sharks NHL 16 1 0-1 2-4
Philadelphia Flyers NHL 14 1 0-1 2-4
Indiana Pacers NBA 14 1 0-1 2-4
Ottawa Senators NHL 13 1 0-1 1-4
Nashville Predators NHL 11 1 0-1 2-4
New York Rangers NHL 11 1 0-1 1-4
Vancouver Canucks NHL 11 1 0-1 3-4
Oklahoma City Thunder NBA 11 1 0-1 1-4
Philadelphia 76ers NBA 10 1 0-1 1-4
Orlando Magic NBA 9 1 0-1 1-4
Los Angeles Dodgers MLB 9 1 0-1 3-4
Dallas Stars NHL 9 1 0-1 2-4
Atlanta Falcons NFL 8 1 0-1 0-1
Calgary Flames NHL 7 1 0-1 3-4
Tennessee Titans NFL 7 1 0-1 0-1
Edmonton Oilers NHL 5 1 0-1 3-4
San Francisco 49ers NFL 5 1 0-1 0-1
Cleveland Indians MLB 5 1 0-1 3-4
Tampa Bay Rays MLB 4 1 0-1 1-4
Arizona Cardinals NFL 4 1 0-1 0-1
Chicago Bears NFL 4 1 0-1 0-1
Oakland Raiders NFL 4 1 0-1 0-1
Colorado Rockies MLB 3 1 0-1 0-4
Vegas Golden Knights NHL 1 1 0-1 1-4

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Sources and Info: (All sources not listed here linked/mentioned in the article)

Featured Image: Featured Image: “Sports” by Charly W. Karl is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/index.htm (Used to get playoff information for each team)

https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/

https://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/index.html

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/

https://www.printyourbrackets.com/winning-percentage-calculator.php (Used to find win percentage for each team)

Used Google Spreadsheet to make charts and tables

 

Every NHL team’s playoff record since the 1999-00 season

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%)

Jetpack

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.

Team Playoff Record
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%)

Every NHL team's playoff win percentage this century (2000-2018, by game not series)

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.

Team Series Record
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%)

Every NHL team's playoff win percentage this century (2000-2018 playoffs by series)

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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
Anaheim Ducks 5 1
Detroit Red Wings 4 1
Boston Bruins 3 0
New Jersey Devils 2 0
Chicago Blackhawks 2 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 2 1
San Jose Sharks 2 1
Tampa Bay Lightning 2 1
Nashville Predators 1 0
Toronto Maple Leafs 1 0
Vegas Golden Knights 1 0
New York Rangers 1 1
Colorado Avalanche 1 2
Los Angeles Kings 1 2
Montreal Canadiens 1 2
St. Louis Blues 1 2
Vancouver Canucks 1 2
Buffalo Sabres 0 0
Edmonton Oilers 0 0
New York Islanders 0 0
Arizona Coyotes 0 1
Calgary Flames 0 1
Carolina Hurricanes 0 1
Columbus Blue Jackets 0 1
Dallas Stars 0 1
Florida Panthers 0 1
Philadelphia Flyers 0 1
Washington Capitals 0 1
Minnesota Wild 0 2
Ottawa Senators 0 2
Winnipeg Jets 0 2

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
Pittsburgh Penguins 14 10 6 4
New Jersey Devils 12 6 4 4
Chicago Blackhawks 10 5 5 3
Detroit Red Wings 16 9 4 3
Anaheim Ducks 12 7 5 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 9 6 5 2
Los Angeles Kings 10 4 3 2
Carolina Hurricanes 4 3 3 2
Boston Bruins 12 6 2 2
San Jose Sharks 16 11 4 1
Philadelphia Flyers 14 7 4 1
New York Rangers 11 7 3 1
Colorado Avalanche 10 6 3 1
Ottawa Senators 13 6 3 1
Dallas Stars 9 5 2 1
Washington Capitals 13 7 1 1
Nashville Predators 11 5 1 1
Vancouver Canucks 11 5 1 1
Calgary Flames 7 2 1 1
Edmonton Oilers 5 2 1 1
Vegas Golden Knights 1 1 1 1
Montreal Canadiens 11 6 2 0
St. Louis Blues 12 5 2 0
Buffalo Sabres 6 3 2 0
Toronto Maple Leafs 8 4 1 0
Minnesota Wild 9 3 1 0
Arizona Coyotes 5 1 1 0
Winnipeg Jets 3 1 1 0
New York Islanders 7 1 0 0
Columbus Blue Jackets 4 0 0 0
Florida Panthers 3 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
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 3-1 14-11
New Jersey Devils 4 2-2 13-13
Chicago Blackhawks 3 3-0 12-6
Detroit Red Wings 3 2-1 11-7
Los Angeles Kings 2 2-0 8-3
Anaheim Ducks 2 1-1 7-5
Boston Bruins 2 1-1 6-7
Tampa Bay Lightning 2 1-1 6-7
Carolina Hurricanes 2 1-1 5-7
Washington Capitals 1 1-0 4-1
Colorado Avalanche 1 1-0 4-3
Calgary Flames 1 0-1 3-4
Edmonton Oilers 1 0-1 3-4
Vancouver Canucks 1 0-1 3-4
Dallas Stars 1 0-1 2-4
Nashville Predators 1 0-1 2-4
Philadelphia Flyers 1 0-1 2-4
San Jose Sharks 1 0-1 2-4
New York Rangers 1 0-1 1-4
Ottawa Senators 1 0-1 1-4
Vegas Golden Knights 1 0-1 1-4

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Sources and Info: (All sources not listed here linked/mentioned in the article)

Featured Image: “Stanley Cup Playoffs” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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)

 

NHL Draft: Who selects the No. 1 pick and from where?

The 56th NHL Draft is taking place tonight. For the third time in franchise history, the Buffalo Sabres will select the top pick in the draft, assuming they don’t trade the pick away. However, what does history have to say about who most often selects the first overall pick and from where?

Which teams have most often had the No. 1 pick?

The Montreal Canadiens have selected the No. 1 pick the most times out of any NHL franchise, having done so five times. This is despite the fact that the last time they selected the top pick was in the 1980 NHL Draft. The Edmonton Oilers have moved up the list quickly, with all four of their No. 1 selections coming this decade (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015).

Teams to never select the No. 1 pick: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights.

Number of times each team selected the No. 1 overall pick

*The Arizona Coyotes only No. 1 selection came when they were the Winnipeg Jets in 1981.

*One of the New Jersey Devils No. 1 selections came when they were the Colorado Rockies in 1979.

*Both of the Winnipeg Jets No. 1 selections came when they were the Atlanta Thrashers (1999 and 2001).

All three of the Dallas Stars No. 1 selections came when they were the Minnesota North Stars (1978, 1983 and 1988).

*Three of the Colorado Avalanche’s No. 1 selections came when they were the Quebec Nordiques (1989, 1990 and 1991).

What amateur/professional leagues have produced the most No. 1 picks?

From 1963 to 1978, the NHL Amateur Draft allowed for any amateur player under 20 to be drafted. Due to the absorption of teams from the rival WHA (World Hockey Association) the draft rules were changed in 1979 so that players who had previously played professionally could be drafted by teams. That year the draft’s name was changed to be the NHL Entry Draft.

Click here for larger version of pie chart below

AmateurProfessional Leagues that produced No. 1 overall picks in the NHL Draft

American College/High School Players

Only two players have been taken No. 1 overall and played NCAA Divison 1 hockey (Highest level of American College Hockey). They were Joe Murphy (Michigan State Spartans) who was taken in the 1986 draft and Rick DiPietro (Boston University Terriers) who was taken in the 2000 draft.

Brain Lawton is the only player to be taken No. 1 overall out of an American high school. He was drafted in 1983 after playing for Mount St. Charles High School in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Overseas League Players

Russia: In 2001 when IIya Kovalchuk was selected he was playing in Vysshaya Liga (RUS-2), the second-highest league in the country. Alexander Ovechkin was taken in 2004 from the Russian Superleague League (RSL), now know as the KHL, the highest league in the country.

Sweden: In 1989 when Mats Sundin was selected he was playing in HockeyAllsvenskan (SWE-2), the second-highest league in the country.

Czech Republic: In 1992 when Roman Hamrlik was selected he was playing in the Czechoslovak First Ice Hockey League, now known as the Czech Extraliga.

Switzerland: In 2016 when Auston Matthews was selected he was playing in the National League (NLA), the highest league in the country.

What amateur/professional teams have produced the most No. 1 picks?

The London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) have had the most players of any team taken No. 1 with five. These players are Rick Green (1976), Rob Ramage (1979), Rick Nash (2002), Patrick Kane (2007) and John Tavares (2009).

Team League # of players
London OHL 5
Cornwall OHL 2
Ottawa OHL 2
Sarnia OHL 2
Windsor OHL 2
Halifax QMJHL 2
Montreal QMJHL 2
Rimouski QMJHL 2
Prince Albert WHL (formerly WCHL) 2
Regina WHL (formerly WCHL) 2

Where are No. 1 picks born?

Out of the 55 players that have been selected No. 1 in the NHL draft, 40 (72.72%) of them were born in Canada. Brian Lawton was the first non-Canadian player to be taken No. 1 in the 1983 draft. From that draft onwards 20 of the players taken No. 1 overall have been Canadian, while 15 have been non-Canadian.

World Map.png

 

Non-Canadians taken No. 1 overall by place of birth

America: Brian Lawton (1983), Mike Modano (1988), Bryan Berard (1995), Rick DiPietro (2000), Erik Johnson (2006), Patrick Kane (2007), Auston Matthews (2016)

Russia: IIya Kovalchuk* (2001), Alexander Ovechkin* (2004), Nail Yakupov (2012)

*Both were born back when Russia was part of the Soviet Union.

Czech Republic: Roman Hamrlik* (1992), Patrik Stefan* (1999)

*Both were born back when it was Czechoslovakia. They were both born in cities that are now part of the Czech Republic.

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland): Owen Nolan (1990)

Sweden: Mats Sundin (1989)

Switzerland: Nico Hischier (2017)

What provinces were Canadian players born in?

Canada

*Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) is the only No. 1 to be born in British-Columbia.

Ontario (18) and Quebec (11) dominated the provinces of Canada, having produced 29/40 (72.5%) of the countries No. 1 picks. However, considering that these two account for almost 60% of Canada’s population, it is no surprise.

Cities who have produced multiple No. 1 overall picks

There are a few cities in Canada that have managed to produce multiple No. 1 overall picks. They, along with the players from them, are listed in the table below.

City Province Player (Year Drafted)
Montreal Quebec Claude Gauthier (1964), André Veilleux (1965), Michel Plasse (1968), Mario Lemieux (1984)
Rouyn Quebec Réjean Houle (1969), Pierre Turgeon (1987)
London Ontario Joe Murphy (1986), Eric Lindros (1991)
Toronto Ontario Billy Harris (1972), Dale Hawerchuk (1981)
Windsor Ontario Ed Jovanovski (1994), Aaron Ekbald (2014)
Calgary Alberta Chris Phillips (1994), Taylor Hall (2010)
Halifax Nova Scotia Sidney Crosby (2005), Nathan MacKinnon (2013)

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Info and sources:

Featured Image: “2017 NHL Draft” by Brandon Zeman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

https://www.hockey-reference.com/draft/ (Use to note team that drafted player, as well as the league and team that picked them). For the few players with no league listed I used Google to find that information.

https://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/index.html (Used to note current teams that never had a No. 1 overall pick)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_first_overall_NHL_draft_picks (Used to find place of birth for No. 1 overall picks)

http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1965/65001.html (Used to find Andre Veilleux’s place of birth)

Map of player’s place of birth made using https://mapchart.net/

All other graphs and tables made using Google Spreadsheet in Google Docs

Looking back at the 2017-18 Stanley Cup Finals

Last night the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in a thrilling 4-3 game to clinch their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Following a decade of disappointment in the playoffs, Washington overcame all their old roadblocks on the way to winning the Cup.

The Capitals were down 2-0, having lost both games at home in the first-round against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They then survived double overtime in game three as they would go on to win four-in-a-row. Washington then defeated the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in six. After losing seven consecutive playoff series to them the Capitals finally defeated their rivals.

Then they got in a 3-2 hole against the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the Capitals won game six and then overcame their awful game seven history to take the series. After dropping game one to Vegas, Washington then won the next four games to take the series. They also managed to avoid setting up speculation that this could be there biggest blown 3-1 lead of them all by clinching last night.

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The Capitals, Ovechkin and more

With their win in their Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals are no longer on the list of expansion teams in the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) to have been playing over 40 seasons without a championship.

*Span as of before last night’s game for all teams. Capitals would have been at 43 seasons if they would have lost the Stanley Cup Finals.

Sport Team Span
MLB Texas Rangers 57 seasons
NFL Atlanta Falcons 52 seasons
NFL Cincinnati Bengals 50 seasons
NHL St. Louis Blues 50 seasons
NBA Phoenix Suns 50 seasons
MLB Milwaukee Brewers 49 seasons
MLB San Deigo Padres 49 seasons
MLB Washington Nationals 49 seasons
NBA Los Angeles Clippers 48 seasons
NHL Buffalo Sabres 47 seasons
NHL Vancouver Canucks 47 seasons
NBA Utah Jazz 44 seasons
NHL Washington Capitals 42 seasons
NBA Denver Nuggets 42 seasons
NBA Indiana Pacers 42 seasons
NBA Brooklyn Nets 42 seasons
MLB Seattle Mariners 41 seasons

Alexander Ovechkin became only the second player (Sidney Crosby) in the last 20 seasons to score at least 15 goals in the playoffs. He also joined Wayne Gretzky as the oldest player to accomplish this. Overall, he is only the 16th player (21st occurrence) in NHL history to score at least 15 goals in the playoffs.

Player (Age) Team Year Games Played Goals Goals per game
Sidney Crosby (21) Penguins 2008-09 24 15 0.63
Alex Ovechkin (32) Capitals 2017-18 24 15 0.63
Wayne Gretzky (32) Kings 1992-92 24 15 0.63

Ovechkin also passed John Druce for the most goals scored by a Capitals player in a single playoff run. He is also only the second Russian to ever win the Conn Smythe Trophy, joining Evgeni Malkin. Also, he is the first Russian Captain and only the fifth non-Canadian Captain to lead his team to win the Stanley Cup.

Of course, Ovechkin got plenty of help from his teammates, most notably from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby. With his 20 assists in these playoffs, Kuznetsov became only the 19th player (26th occurrence) to have at least that many in NHL history.

After not starting in the Capitals first two playoff games Holtby came in righted the ship. His biggest moment was when Washington faced elimination in games six and seven of the Lightning series. Holtby recorded shutouts in both games, his only shutouts of the season.

Other Capitals notes

Devante Smith-Pelly scored as many goals in the playoffs (7) as he did in the entire regular season.

Barry Trotz won his first Stanley Cup in his 19th season, the longest any NHL head coach has coached before winning it for the first time.

Jay Beagle became the first NHL player to win an ECHL, AHL and NHL Championship.

Lars Eller became the first player from Denmark to win the Stanley Cup.

Nathan Walker became the first Australian to win the Stanley Cup.
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The Golden Knights historic run ends

The Vegas Golden Knights when into their inaugural season projected to be one of the worst teams in the NHL by many pundits. Instead, they put together the best season ever by an expansion team in any of the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL).

This continued in the playoffs, where they went 12-3 in route to winning the Western Conference. After winning game one of the Finals, Vegas lost the next four games. It was the only time this season that they had lost four in a row.

Record Goals Scored (per game) Shots on goal per game Goals allowed (per game) Opponent shots against per game
Vegas first three rounds 12-3 43 (2.86) 31.53 27 (1.8) 33.66
Vegas in Cup Finals 1-4 14 (2.8) 31.2 20 (4) 27.2

What ultimately made the difference for the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals is that Marc-Andre Fleury’s performance nosedived. Add on to that some bad luck and they managed to have to lose four games in a row.

Record GAA Shots Against Saves Save % Shutouts
Fleury in first three rounds 12-3 1.68 33.66 31.86 0.947 4
Fleury in Cup Finals 1-4 4.09 27.2 23.2 0.853 0

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Sources and Info: (All sources not listed here linked/mentioned in the article)

Featured Image: “Alex Ovechkin 2018-05-21” by Michael Miller is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NHL_franchise_post-season_droughts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_franchise_postseason_droughts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NBA_franchise_post-season_droughts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFL_franchise_post-season_droughts

https://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/VEG/2018_games.html

Fleury’s pre-Finals performance 

https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/f/fleurma01/gamelog/2018

https://www.nhl.com/player/marc-andre-fleury-8470594?stats=splits-p-nhl&season=20172018

Tables made using Google Spreadsheet

The rarity of Cavs-Warriors IV in sports

Game one of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors tips off tonight. With that in mind, let’s take a look into the historical rareness of the same two teams meeting for a fourth consecutive season to play each other for a championship.

NBA

This is the 14th time in NBA history that the same two teams have met in the Finals for at least two consecutive seasons. The Cavaliers and Warriors are the first to ever meet three (and four) times in a row for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Teams Years Result
Minneapolis Lakers v. New York Knicks (2) 1952-53 Lakers 2-0
Boston Celtics v. St. Louis Hawks (2) 1957-58 Split 1-1
Boston Celtics v. St. Louis Hawks (2) 1960-61 Celtics 2-0
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1962-63 Celtics 2-0
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1965-66 Celtics 2-0
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1968-69 Celtics 2-0
Los Angeles Lakers v. New York Knicks (2) 1972-73 Split 1-1
Seattle Supersonics v. Washington Bullets (2) 1978-79 Split 1-1
Los Angeles Lakers v. Philadelphia 76ers (2) 1982-83 Split 1-1
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1984-85 Split 1-1
Detroit Pistons v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1988-89 Split 1-1
Chicago Bulls v. Utah Jazz (2) 1997-98 Bulls 2-0
Miami Heat v. San Antonio Spurs (2) 2013-14 Split 1-1
Cleveland Cavaliers v. Golden State Warriors (4) 2015-18 Warriors 2-1

NFL

In the NFL, there have only been eight times where the same two teams met in the Championship Game consecutive times. Since the Super Bowl era started in 1967, it has only happened once.

Teams Years Result
Chicago Bears v. New York Giants (2) 1933-34 Split 1-1
Green Bay Packers v. New York Giants (2) 1938-39 Split 1-1
Chicago Bears v. Washington Redskins (2) 1942-43 Split 1-1
Cleveland Browns v. Los Angeles Rams (2) 1950-51 Split 1-1
Cleveland Browns v. Detroit Lions (3) 1952-54 Lions 2-1
Baltimore Colts v. New York Giants (2) 1958-59 Colts 2-0
Green Bay Packers v. New York Giants (2) 1961-62 Packers 2-0
Buffalo Bills v. Dallas Cowboys (2) 1993-94 Cowboys 2-0

MLB

There have been nine times in baseball history that two teams played each other consecutive years in the World Series. However, it has only happened only since 1960 and last took place four decades ago.

Teams Years Result
Chicago Cubs v. Detroit Tigers (2) 1907-08 Cubs 2-0
New York Giants v. New York Yankees (3) 1921-23 Giants 2-1
Philadelphia Athletics v. St. Louis Cardinals (2) 1930-31 Split 1-1
New York Giants v. New York Yankees (2) 1936-37 Yankees 2-0
New York Yankees v. St. Louis Cardinals (2) 1942-43 Split 1-1
Brooklyn Dodgers v. New York Yankees (2) 1952-53 Yankees 2-0
Brooklyn Dodgers v. New York Yankees (2) 1955-56 Split 1-1
Milwaukee Braves v. New York Yankees (2) 1957-58 Split 1-1
Los Angeles Dodgers v. New York Yankees (2) 1977-78 Yankees 2-0

NHL

The NHL has seen eight teams meet at least back-to-back times to play for the Stanley Cup. However, it has only happened once in the last four decades.

Teams Years Result
New York Rangers v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1932-33 Split 1-1
Detroit Red Wings v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1948-49 Leafs 2-0
Detroit Red Wings v. Montreal Canadiens (3) 1954-56 Red Wings 2-1
Montreal Canadiens v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1959-60 Canadiens 2-0
Detroit Red Wings v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1963-64 Leafs 2-0
Montreal Canadiens v. St. Louis Blues (2) 1968-69 Canadiens 2-0
Boston Bruins v. Montreal Canadiens (2) 1977-78 Canadiens 2-0
Detroit Red Wings v. Pittsburgh Penguins (2) 2008-09 Split 1-1

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Three-peat matchups in the big four

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors meeting for a fourth straight time is truly historical among the combined histories of the four major North American sports.

It is not a surprise that the NBA was the first league to do so. Since 1980 there have been six times in the NBA two teams played each other back-to-back years for the championship. In the MLB, NFL and NHL combined it has happened twice in that same span.

Teams Sport Years Result
New York Giants v. New York Yankees MLB (3) 1921-23 Giants 2-1
Cleveland Browns v. Detroit Lions NFL (3) 1952-54 Lions 2-1
Detroit Red Wings v. Montreal Canadiens NHL (3) 1954-56 Red Wings 2-1
Cleveland Cavaliers v. Golden State Warriors NBA (4) 2015-18 Warriors 2-1

Four-peat matchups in other sports

While the Cavaliers and Warriors meeting for a four straight time is historical among the four major North American sports, how often has it happened in sports in general? I took a look at championship matchups in various other professional, Olympic and college sports to see if anything like this had occurred before.

Players/Teams Sport/Event Event Year/Span Result
USA v. Canada Hockey World Championships Met in 4 straight gold medal games 1931-34 Championships* 3-1 Canada
USA v. Soviet Union Olympic Men’s Basketball Met in 4 straight gold medal games 1952, 56, 60 and 64 Olympics 4-0 USA
S.Williams v. V.Williams Women’s Singles Tennis Met in 4 straight majors 2002 French Open to 2003 Aus Open 4-0 S. Williams
Mount Union v. Wisconsin-Whitewater Division III College Football Met in 7 straight championship games 2005-2011 4-3 Wisconsin
Djokovic v. Nadal Men’s Singles Tennis Met in 4 straight majors 2011 Wimbledon to 2012 French Open 3-1 Djokovic
Cavaliers v. Warriors NBA Met in 4 straight NBA Finals 2014-15 to 2017-18 2-1 Warriors

*The 1932 Winter Olympic’s Ice Hockey Tournament also counted as the World Championship

List of all sports/leagues checked:

Soccer: MLSWorld Cup, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League

Basketball: NBLABAG-League, WNBAEuroLeague, EuroLeague WomenFIBA World Championship

Baseball: Japan Championship Series, Baseball World Cup, World Baseball Classic

Hockey: WHAMemorial Cup Champions (CHL)KHL (Gagarin Cup)World Championships

Football: AAFC, AFL, CFL, Arena League

Tennis: Men & Women’s Singles in majors

Lacrosse: National Lacrosse League

Cricket: ICC Champions Trophy

Darts: World Professional Darts Championship

Summer Olympics: Men & Women’s Singles Tennis, Men & Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men and Women’s Soccer

Winter Olympics: Men & Women’s Hockey, Men & Women’s Curling

College Sports (Division I): Football (BCS) (Playoff) (FCS), Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s Hockey, Women’s Hockey, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer

College Sports (D II): Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s HockeyMen’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer

College Sports (D III): Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s Hockey, Women’s HockeyMen’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer

College Sports (NAIA): Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s Hockey, Men’s Soccer
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Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “SD attends NBA Finals” by James N. Mattis is licensed under CC BY-2.0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NBA_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFL_champions_(1920%E2%80%931969)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Super_Bowl_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Series_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Stanley_Cup_champions

Where preseason power rankings had the Stanley Cup Finalists

Last night, the Washington Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 to advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for only the second time in franchise history. They came back from a 3-2 series deficit in large part due to goalie Braden Holtby, who recorded back-to-back shutouts after having not had one all season.

Now, the Capitals will face the first-year Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals. Ironically, the best expansion franchise in the history of the NHL will be facing off against the franchise that was the worst expansion team in hockey history.

Another interesting note to this historical final is that it will be the first time in over a decade that one of the championship series for the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) will be contested between two teams that have never won before.

Sport Teams Season Result
NHL Senators v. Ducks 2006-07 Ducks in 5
NBA Mavericks v. Heat 2005-06 Heat in 6
NFL* Titans v. Rams 1999-00 Rams 23-16
NFL Bengals v. 49ers 1981-82 49ers 26-21
MLB Royals v. Phillies 1980 Phillies in 6

*If only counting teams with no Super Bowls (not counting NFL Championships won)

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Preseason power rankings for Cup Finals from various sports sites

Now that the Stanley Cup Finals are set, let’s take a look at where the Capitals and Golden Knights were in the preseason power rankings of various sports sites compared to the other 29 NHL teams.

Site Prediction (Caps) Prediction (Golden Knights)
BuffaloNews.com 5 31
CBS Sports 12 30
ESPN 3 31
iSportsweb.com 3 31
NBC Sports 3 29
NHL.com 4 31
Puckprose.com 7 30
Sporting News 9 31
SportsNet 11 29
The Hockey Writers 5 31
The Globe and Mail 4 16
The Grueling Truth 8 28
TSN 5 31
USA Today 17 25
ZSN 6 22
 Average rank:  6.8 28.4

Out of the 15 sites, eight (53.33%) of them had the Capitals being a top five team at the start of the 2017-18 NHL season. In contrast, seven (46.66%) had the Golden Knights being the worst team in the league. Only three of them had Vegas not finishing as one of the four worst teams in the NHL (28th or worse).

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Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “Lord Stanley” by Dave O is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

All sources for site predictions link in the table above.

Tables made using Google Spreadsheet.