Last underdog to win the Cup?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by arrbez, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. arrbez

    arrbez bad chi

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    There's been lots of unexpected finalists lately, but they never win the cup unless they're facing another equally unexpected finalist (Car-Edm, Tam-Cal). Otherwise it's either been a blowout (Det-Was, Col-Fla), or two excellent teams that were both seen as legit contenders all along (NJD-Dal, NJD-Col).

    When was the last time the clear underdog won the cup?
     
  2. Russeltown

    Russeltown Registered User

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    Montreal in 1986
     
  3. hexrae

    hexrae Registered User

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    89 Flames:dunno:
     
  4. Czech Your Math

    Czech Your Math Registered User

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    Good, tough question!

    No clear answer that I see.

    '89 Calgary: Won President's Trophy and led league in GF/GA ratio.

    '86 Montreal: Held edge in GF/GA ratio over Calgary (1.18 to 1.12) and almost equal in points (87 to 89), while playing in tougher division (all teams .500 or better).

    Some other possible post-expansion "upsets":

    '95 New Jersey
    -argument for: Beat Detroit, who had 70 points to win President's Trophy, compared to 52 for NJ, and a 1.54 GF/GA ratio to 1.12 for NJ. Beat three solid teams on road to finals (57-61 points).
    -argument against: It was a lockout-shortened season, and the previous season NJ had the second-most points in the league before losing a classic series to Rangers in ECF. Detroit hadn't even made a run to WCF in the years before '95.

    '90 Edmonton
    -argument for: Beat Boston, who won the President's Trophy with 101 points to Oilers' 90, while having a 1.25 GF/GA ratio to Oilers' 1.12.
    - argument against: Edmonton had just beaten Boston for the Cup two years earlier, albeit with Gretzky's help. They had a pretty easy road to Cup in '90, beating three teams with 88 points or less.

    '80 Islanders
    - argument for: Beat Philadelphia, who won President's Trophy (116 points to 91 for NYI) and had 1.29 GF/GA ratio to 1.14 for Isles. Also beat Boston (105 points) and Buffalo (110 points) in playoffs.
    - argument against: The previous season, Isles won President's Trophy and advanced farther in playoffs than Flyers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2007
  5. Pfft

    Pfft Registered User

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    The result of the 1995 Finals was supposed to be a foregone conclusion.
     
  6. Muttley*

    Muttley* Guest

    This is your winner.

    Regardless of of it being a shortened season and what happened the year before, when a "Mickey Mouse" team beats an Original 6, storied franchise filled with well- known superstars, it certainly qualifies as an underdog winning the Cup.
     
  7. jamiebez

    jamiebez Registered User

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    That's the one I thought of, too. That was supposed to be a sweep the other way.

    I think the lockout-shortened season really skewed expectations, though. We didn't get a chance to see the teams perform over a full season.
     
  8. Pwnasaurus

    Pwnasaurus Registered User

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    Yeah...the Expos were leading the NL East!
     
  9. Ofuzz

    Ofuzz Registered User

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    The 95 Devils were the first one's to pop into my head. I remember looking forward to finally see the Wings win the cup again and then to have it be over so quickly, it was a shock. I don't remember too many people predicting the Devils winning that series.

    The '74 final when the Flyers beat the Bruins was a huge upset strictly for the fact that all the '67 expansion franchises hadn't been fully excepted by the establishment as a legitimate threat to win the Cup yet. That was big. But the question was the most recent upset. The '95 Devils certainly fits the bill.
     
  10. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    2 years later, the Red Wings played the reverse role. The Flyers were supposed heavy favorites against the Wings, and we all know what happened.
     
  11. Czech Your Math

    Czech Your Math Registered User

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    I don't know what the actual odds were, but from what I remember it was supposed to be a fairly even final series. I think it was more surprising that it was a lopsided series, than Detroit winning. Maybe the media promoted the Flyers more, since they had the "next one" in Lindros. I do recall a perception that Detroit wouldn't be able to handle the size and toughness of the Flyers.

    Philadelphia had 103 points to Detroit's 94, so they may have been favorite, but Detroit beat Colorado (President's Trophy, defending SC champs) in WCF, who was a much better team than any of the other teams beaten by either Philly or Detroit.

    They did each face some teams in the playoffs with star players:

    Detroit
    - St. Louis (Hull, MacInnis, Fuhr, Pronger, Turgeon)
    - Anaheim (Selanne, Kariya)
    - Colorado (Roy, Sakic, Forsberg, C. Lemieux)

    Philadelphia
    - Pittsburgh (Lemieux, Jagr, Francis)
    - Buffalo (Hasek)
    - Rangers (Gretzky, Messier, Leetch, Richter, Robitaille)
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2007
  12. ck26

    ck26 Alcoholab User

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    Question to the world ... what was a better piece of coaching, matching up Lidstrom and Murphy against the Legion of Doom, or the New Jersey trap?
     
  13. ScaredStreit

    ScaredStreit Registered User

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    Tampa not expected for finals? 1st in East, 1nd in NHL-if that's an unexpected team-what do you consider expected?
     
  14. NOTENOUGHBREWER

    NOTENOUGHBREWER Registered User

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    St Louis was too short. They didnt have a French goalie. They had horrible D.

    Thats just some of the things I remember people saying about them.
     
  15. arrbez

    arrbez bad chi

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    Because up untill that point, winning the South-East meant nothing. You can look back in hindsight now, but how many people had them winning the cup from the get-go? Not many, I bet.
     
  16. MiamiScreamingEagles

    MiamiScreamingEagles Man with No Name

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    From what I can tell, based on regular season finishes (which always doesn't tell the story), since expansion for the 1967-68 season there have been 38 NHL Finals and the team with the higher regular season point total (including 1975 and 1992 when the teams had the same point total but the eventual winner had more regular season victories) has won 29 Cups and the team with the inferior regular season point total has won 9 (1971, 1974, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1995, 1997).

    Based solely on regular season points, 1980 (25 points), 1995 (18 points), 1990 (11 points), 1983 (10 points) and 1971 (10 points) saw the largest point differential between the Cup winner and loser.

    Based on regular season finishes:
    Team with best record has won 17 Cups
    Team with second best record has won 6 Cups
    Third best record has won 2 Cups.
    Fourth best record has won 4 Cups.
    Fifth best won 3 Cups
    Sixth best won 3 Cups (winners in 1983, 1992 and 1993)
    7th best won 2 Cups (1986 and 1991 winners)
    8th best has zero
    9th best 1 Cup (New Jersey, 1995)
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2007
  17. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Don't be fooled too much by the point totals in 1980 for Philadelphia (116) and the Islanders (91). The Islanders really struggled in the first half of the season, they didn't even reach .500 until their 40th game. They had some bad injury trouble that year, most notably losing Denis Potvin, the cornerstone of their defence, for 49 games. However towards the end of the regular season they were starting to look the Islanders of the late 70s, with a healthy roster and stealing Butch Goring from L.A. at the trade deadline, they finished the year on a 12 game unbeaten streak. On the other hand, the Flyers had an amazing first half of the season with a record 35 game unbeaten streak, but as the season progressed went from being a great team to merely a good one. It got bad during the final stretch when they lost more games in March than the previous five months combined, though that may have been due to boredom from having such a big lead over the rest of the league.

    So even though there was a 25 pt difference between the two clubs, nobody really viewed it as a series the Flyers were heavily favoured to win. The only factor going against the Islanders from the media was the "stigma" of "not being able to win the big one" after being upset by lesser teams the previous two playoffs. Somewhat similar to Detroit in `97. It's something the truly great teams overcome.
     
  18. looooob

    looooob Registered User

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  19. overg

    overg Registered User

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    That's my recollection too. The pre-series analysts basically boiled it down to "can Konstantinov stop Lindros?" Those that answered no picked Philly. Those that answered yes picked Detroit. (I still think those that answered the latter were nuts. Konstantinov was one of the few guys in the league who was not afraid to charge Lindros head-on. Points for the guts, not so much for the results. Such encounters almost always ended up with Vlad knocked on his ass, if not a little loopy, with Lindros standing over him like he had just been bumped into by a pre-schooler. Dude was a physical monster, and would have wrecked Konstantinov in a 7 game series. Unfortunately for him, he was too busy swiveling his head around after being poke checked to ever even graze Lidstrom).

    The shocking thing was that there was one guy who pretty much nailed the series in his predictions. Al Strachen picked the Wings, and his reasons for doing so were damn near spot on. I don't think he called the Lidstrom on Lindros switcheroo, but otherwise his series preview could have served as a series recap. There were a few other analysts who picked the Flyers to dominate, but I think most people expected a 6 or 7 game series going either way.

    New Jersey was a pretty big underdog to Detroit in '95. The preseries hype analysis tried to spin it as left-wing-lock vs. the trap in a battle of defensive systems, but reading through the hype it was pretty clear that everyone expected the Wings' offensive skill to blow through the trap.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2007
  20. Heat McManus

    Heat McManus Registered User

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    1995 Devils. Hands down. No team since had such little confidence from the public/media going into the finals and came out on top.
     
  21. arrbez

    arrbez bad chi

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    Yeah, I forgot about them or I wouldn't have made this thread.

    And once again the New Jersey Devils ruin hockey :teach:
     
  22. Rare Jewel

    Rare Jewel Patience

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    95 devils

    93 mtl:dunno:


    89 flames
     
  23. Pksoze

    Pksoze Registered User

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    In 95 I actually thought NJ would beat Detroit. I remember watching the Chicago-Detroit series (and eeking out close wins) and I thought the Red Wings would be shocked at what type of defense they would be facing with NJ.

    But the media was on the Detroit bandwagon. I remember after NJ was up 2-0 most fans on an ESPN poll thought Detroit would still win.
     
  24. ScaredStreit

    ScaredStreit Registered User

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    Very true at that point winning Southeast really meant nothing, but if you were to look at the 01-02 season they had you could see a lot of their future stars (specifically the big three) were starting to break out, and due to them being in Tampa they never really got a lot of notice from the hockey world (ok Vinny did obviously from being a 1st overall). That and during that season they missed the playoffs, but had TONS of 1-goal game loses. Next season they improved and went to second round before losing the Cup Champs Jersey. Now that alone isn't Stanley Cup worthy but they were 2nd in the NHL, and 1st in the Eastern Seeding when they won the cup. That was back in the old scheldue so it's not like they were playing other teams more outside of their division. I agree maybe pre-season or mid-season no one had them winning the cup really. But come playoff time I think one could have made a good argument at the time.
     
  25. looooob

    looooob Registered User

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    yikes again. that's two

    you guys do know the difference between the 89 Flames and the 04 Flames, correct?

    80 54 17 9 0 117 354 226
     

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