The last time a Canadian team hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup was in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings. Since then, the country whose national sport is hockey has watched American team after American team win the top prize. Any hope of that drought ending this season fittingly lies in the hands of the Canadiens, the only one of the seven NHL clubs from north of the border to qualify for the playoffs this season, after four made it in 2013.
The neighbors to the north started out well, and it appeared as if as many as five Canadian teams could make the playoffs. But thanks to flameouts by the Maple Leafs and Canucks as well as underachieving seasons by the Senators and Jets (the Flames and Oilers weren’t expected to be competitive), it’s been another disappointment for Canada.
There have been some close calls. In 1994, the Canucks lost the Finals in seven games to the Rangers, and excluding the 2005 lockout, from 2004-2007, a Canadian team lost in the finals all three years (’04 Flames, ’06 Oilers, ’07 Senators). In 2011, the Canucks lost in seven games to the Bruins.
So the quest to end the 20-year drought and current 0-for-5 skid in Finals falls to Montreal. You can be sure an entire nation will be rooting for one team and one team only for the next few months.
(Last week’s rankings in parentheses)
1. Bruins (1): Despite losing three of four, the Bruins still own a three-point lead on the Blues in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
2. Avalanche (3): Could have the Jack Adams winner (Patrick Roy), the Calder Trophy winner (Nathan MacKinnon) and Vezina Trophy winner (Semyon Varlamov) on the strength of their remarkable turnaround. They’re also one win away from tying the franchise record for victories in a season (52).
3. Ducks (4): Finally put things together Monday with a 3-0 win against the Canucks.
4. Blues (2): Have lost three games in a row for the first time this season and have scored two or fewer goals in nine of 11. Ryan Miller can’t be expected to keep them in every game.
5. Blackhawks (7): In three games without Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Chicago is 3-0, all against current playoff teams (Minnesota, Columbus, St. Louis).
6. Penguins (6): We get a possible playoff preview Wednesday night as the Penguins (currently No. 2 in East) host the Red Wings (currently in the first wild-card spot).
8. Rangers (9): The Rangers (8-2-1 in past 11) got two power-play goals from Brad Richards on Tuesday after the team had been in a 5-for-51 slump.
9. Canadiens (11): With 10 wins in 12 games, Montreal has all but wrapped up second place in the Atlantic Division, which likely means home ice advantage in the first round against the Lightning.
10. Wild (12): Ilya Bryzgalov was brought into Minnesota at the trade deadline as a backup plan. Well, in 10 starts, he’s 7-0-3 with three shutouts.
11. Lightning (10): They’ve got the scoring. Question is, how much time will Vezina Trophy candidate Ben Bishop miss after he was injured in Tuesday’s game?
12. Kings (8): Back-to-back 2-1 losses against the Sharks and Canucks make you remember this team ranks 26th in scoring.
13. Red Wings (15): Detroit fans can breathe easy. Their magic number is one point to clinch a playoff spot for the 23rd season in a row.
14. Flyers (13): Remember when they started the season 3-9-0? A 5-2 win against the Panthers on Tuesday clinched a spot in the playoffs for Philly.
15. Stars (16): Kari Lehtonen has done a remarkable job in net for the Stars. If they make the playoffs, they’ll also have backup Tim Thomas – a former Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner – if needed.
16. Blue Jackets (14): After a disappointing end to last season, when they fell just short of a playoff berth, Columbus earned a franchise-best 41st win Tuesday and has breathing room in the wild-card race.
18. Coyotes (17): Earned a point after tying the Blue Jackets with 15 seconds left in regulation Tuesday. Not getting two could cost them as they battle the Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
19. Devils (19): The 1-0 loss to the Flames Monday was a virtual dagger. The Devils are five points behind the Blue Jackets with three games remaining.
20. Senators (22): Ales Hemsky has four goals and 16 points in 17 games since being acquired from the Oilers.
21. Predators (21): Hung in the playoff picture until game No. 79. Really could use a scorer or two for next season.
22. Maple Leafs (20): A team with high expectations had one of the biggest collapses this season and won’t be in the playoffs.
23. Canucks (23): Four losses in five games and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008 got GM Mike Gillis fired Tuesday. Will John Tortorella be next?
24. Jets (25): Struggled all season to break the .500 mark but could never really get over the hump. Guess it’s only fitting they’re 35-35-10.
25. Flames (27): They’ve won three in a row, allowing a combined two goals, and haven’t mailed it in. Take Tuesday’s 1-0 win against the Devils: Karri Ramo was spectacular with 31 saves for his second career shutout.
26. Hurricanes (24): Fifth straight season with no playoffs for the ‘Canes. Changes will be made this offseason.
27. Islanders (26): Injuries aside, this was a huge disappointment for the Islanders coming off of last season’s success. They managed 13 wins in 41 home games, their worst total in a non-strike-shortened season since they had 12 in 2000-01.
28. Oilers (29): It seems as if the Oilers always win the draft lottery, so don’t be surprised if they get the top pick again in June’s draft.
29. Panthers (28): Failed again Tuesday to win consecutive games, something they haven’t done since Jan. 20- 21.
30. Sabres (30): Currently on their eighth losing streak of four games or more.
Source : http://nypost.com/2014/04/09/nhl-power-rankings-why-cant-canada-win-a-cup/