Which Teams Are In The World Cup Play Offs Can An NHL Team Win The Stanley Cup With A Losing Regular Season Record

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Can An NHL Team Win The Stanley Cup With A Losing Regular Season Record

In the modern era of the NHL with 30 teams competing for 16 playoff spots, it is unthinkable that a team could win the Stanley Cup with a losing record during the regular season. In the modern era, teams with a record better than .500 often do not make the playoffs.

Believe it or not, twice in the history of the National Hockey League, teams with a losing record have not only reached the Stanley Cup finals but taken the Cup home as league champions. It happened once during the ‘Original Six’ era and once even before that when the eight NHL teams were split into two 4-team divisions.

The first time this happened was during the 1937-38 season. At the time, the teams only played a schedule of 48 games in the league and long lost teams, the New York Americans and Montreal Maroons were still going strong. The Toronto Maple Leafs took the Canadian Division during the regular season with a record of 24 wins, 15 losses and 9 ties. The Boston Bruins ran away with the American Division with a record of 30 wins, 11 losses and 7 draws.

The Chicago Black Hawks finished third in the American Division, just two points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings with a dismal record of 14 wins, 25 losses and 9 draws. The only worst team was the Montreal Maroons who were in their last year of existence. And yet, when all was said and done, the Black Hawks were crowned Stanley Cup Champions.

The second time the situation arose was during the 1948-49 season. There were only six teams in the league and only the top four teams competed in the playoffs after the season. The Detroit Red Wings easily finished first with 75 points over the 60-game season. Boston and Montreal were second and third with 66 and 65 points and the Toronto Maple Leafs rounded out the top four with 57 points on 22 wins, 25 losses and 13 games.

Toronto went on to take their third consecutive Stanley Cup despite the weak regular season performance. This was the last time the feat was ever accomplished and will probably be the last time unless the league downsizes or changes the structure of the playoffs in the future. It should be noted that most every season during the ‘Original Six’, the fourth place time lost record during the regular season so almost every year there was a chance for a serious underdog to go home with the Stanley Cup.

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