In more than a century of postseason hockey, a team has won the Stanley Cup three times in a row on only five occasions. All in an era before free agency and the salary cap. With Tampa Bay just four victories from winning their 12th consecutive series and becoming the sixth three-peat winner in NHL history, here’s a look at how the Lightning stack up against hockey’s royalty.
Consecutive series wins: 6
The story: The Maple Leafs were utterly dominant in those three postseasons, winning 24 of the 29 games they played. They never went to a Game 7 and swept the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final in back-to-back seasons. The Leafs lost in the semifinals in 1950 but came back to win a fourth Stanley Cup in 1951.
Hall of Famers: Syl Apps, Max Bentley, Turk Broda, Hap Day (coach), Ted Kennedy, Frank Mathers, Bud Poile, Harry Watson.
Consecutive series wins: 10
The story: The gold standard when it comes to repeat titles in the NHL. The Canadiens won five consecutive Stanley Cups, and none of them were particularly close. They went to Game 6 only two times in that five-year span, and finished with a flourish with back-to-back sweeps of Chicago and Toronto in the 1960 postseason. Overall, they were 40-9 in the playoffs.
Hall of Famers: Jean Beliveau, Toe Blake (coach), Butch Bouchard, Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Dickie Moore, Bert Olmstead, Jacques Plante, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard
Consecutive series wins: 6
The story: This team looks like a Hall of Fame reunion. More than half the skaters on the roster have plaques. Still, the three-peat did not come easily for the Maple Leafs. They faced four elimination games against Montreal and Detroit to complete their three-peat in 1964. After being eliminated in the semifinals in 1965 and 1966, they came back to win a fourth title in 1967.
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Hall of Famers: Al Arbour, George Armstrong, Andy Bathgate, Johnny Bower, Gerry Cheevers, Dick Duff, Tim Horton, Punch Imlach (coach), Red Kelly, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Allan Stanley
Consecutive series wins: 13
The story: If you think of a dynasty in more epic terms, this was the end of Montreal’s majestic run in the NHL. The Canadiens won the Stanley Cup 16 times in 27 years. This four-year stretch was the first to include three rounds in the postseason, with the Canadiens winning 12 series from 1976-79 and one more in 1980 before finally falling to Minnesota in seven games.
Hall of Famers: Scotty Bowman (coach), Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden, Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Rod Langway, Guy Lapointe, Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, Steve Shutt
New York, 1980-84
Consecutive series wins: 19
The story: The Islanders took a similar path to the Lightning. They had been a dominant regular-season team for several years, but struggled in the playoffs. By 1980, they were laser focused on the postseason. The most remarkable part of their four-year journey? They never once faced a Game 7 despite facing four rounds every season.
Hall of Famers: Al Arbour (coach), Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Pat LaFontaine, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, Bryan Trottier.
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