Ranking the Top 10 Stanley Cup Finals Over the Last Decade

With the Stanley Cup Finals set to begin tonight in Colorado, let’s look back at some of the best Finals matchups that transpired over the last decade.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup against the Colorado Avalanche, which should make for a thrilling series. With that in mind, there’s been plenty of memorable Stanley Cup matchups since 2012. Let’s rank them. 

1. St. Louis Blues defeat Boston Bruins 4-3 (2019)

It’s hard to top a winner take all Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals, and that’s exactly what the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins had in store in 2019. Alex Pietrangelo played a huge role for this team and later signed a massive contract with the Vegas Golden Knights after winning with the Blues. The defenseman scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 with eight seconds remaining in the first period, which saw the Blues pick up a 4-1 victory. 

2. Chicago Blackhawks defeat Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 (2015)

The Chicago Blackhawks won their second of three Stanley Cups since 2010 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015. This was the start of something special for the Lightning, but other pieces would need to be added to get them over the hump. Duncan Keith demonstrated why he was one of the best defensemen in hockey for such a long stretch in this series and won the Conn Smythe, which also saw the Hawks down the Lightning in six games. 

3. Pittsburgh Penguins defeat San Jose Sharks 4-2 (2016)

In one of the more entertaining series of the last decade, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins won their first of two consecutive Stanley Cups. The Pens doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2 in this series, where there was plenty of back and forth action. Kris Letang was a force for Pittsburgh on the backend and is still playing to that standard today after having such a significant role on the 2016 team. 

4. Chicago Blackhawks defeat Boston Bruins 4-2 (2013)

The Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in four seasons in 2013 by defeating the Boston Bruins in six games. Game 6 in this series was a rollercoaster ride, with the Blackhawks tying the game at the 18:44 mark of the third period before Dave Bolland scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal with just 59 seconds remaining. Bolland ultimately hung up the skates due to injury in 2015-16. 

5. Washington Capitals defeat Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 (2018)

Alex Ovechkin finally hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season as an expansion team. There were question marks about whether or not Ovechkin would be able to get over the hump, but he and the Caps did just that, in what made for a great matchup. What made this memorable wasn’t just the winner but the loser. It’s uncommon that an expansion team is this successful in their first year in the league; look no further than what transpired with the Seattle Kraken this season. 

6. Los Angeles Kings defeat New Jersey Devils (4-2) (2012)

The Los Angeles Kings steamrolled through their opposition ahead of the Stanley Cup Finals before defeating the New Jersey Devils in six games. This was quite the underdog story for the eighth-seeded Kings, who captured their first of two Stanley Cups this decade. Jeff Carter scored eight goals and added five assists during the run, including two goals in Game 6 against the Devils. 

7. Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Nashville Predators 4-2 (2017)

The Pittsburgh Penguins won their second straight Stanley Cup in 2017, beating the Nashville Predators 4-2. Patric Hornqvist scored the game-winning goal against his former team with just 1:35 remaining in Game 6. The Pens haven’t made it back to the Promised Land since but did manage to win three Stanley Cups with this core group of players. 

8. Tampa Bay Lightning defeat Dallas Stars 4-2 (2020)

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s run of Stanley Cup appearances started in the Covid-19 bubble in 2020. With the teams playing games in Edmonton and Toronto, the Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars in six games to kick off their tremendous run. Defenseman Victor Hedman demonstrated why he’s considered one of the best players in hockey in this series, ultimately picking up the Conn Smythe trophy for Tampa Bay. 

9. Los Angeles Kings defeat New York Rangers 4-1 (2014)

Mr. Game 7, Justin Williams led the charge for the Los Angeles Kings during the team’s playoff run, which concluded by defeating the New York Rangers in five games. This was LA’s second Stanley Cup victory over the last decade, which saw them become the first team in NHL history to win three consecutive road Game 7s in the playoffs. 

10. Tampa Bay Lightning defeat Montreal Canadiens 4-1 (2021)

The most recent Stanley Cup Finals matchup didn’t live up to the typical hype, despite seeing a Canadian team participate for the first time since 2011 when the Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks. The Lightning made quick work of the Montreal Canadiens, defeating them in five games to end their Cinderella run, recording their second straight Stanley Cup Finals victory.