BLUES END NHL’S LONGEST WAIT WITH FIRST STANLEY CUP IN 52-YEAR HISTORY
The St. Louis Blues won Game 7 in Boston to claim the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 52-year history and become the first team in the NHL’s expansion era to win a championship after ranking last place in the overall League standings at any point after its 30th game of the season.
* The milestone victory came in the franchise’s 51st season of competition, ending the NHL’s longest wait for a team to win its first Stanley Cup (previous: 44 seasons, Los Angeles Kings).
* St. Louis ranked last overall through games played Jan. 2 (15-18-4, 34 points), posting the League’s best record from Jan. 3 onward – vying for the Central Division title on the final day of the regular-season.
* St. Louis became the first team from any of the four major North American sports leagues to win a title after occupying last place overall in the league standings after one-quarter or more of the season’s games (since 1967-68). In fact, they are the only team in that span to even qualify for the league’s championship series/game after ranking last overall.
* The Blues (No. 12 in NHL) became the second team to win the Stanley Cup after finishing the regular season ranked 12th place or lower, joining the 2012 Kings (No. 13 in NHL).
* The Blues’ Cup victory came in their 42nd playoff appearance, 72nd playoff series and following their 391st playoff game – all the most in NHL history before winning the Cup for the first time.
LOOKING BACK AT THE 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
The 2019 Stanley Cup Final was a rematch 49 years in the making, between two franchises that have made more playoff appearances in the expansion era than any other clubs (Boston: 44; St. Louis: 42). A look back at 63 days of playoff hockey:
* The Stanley Cup Final was tied or within one goal for 74.7% of total playing time (316:34 of 423:51).
* This was the 17th Stanley Cup Final to require a Game 7 and first in eight years.
* Overall, there were six Game 7s in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs – one shy of the most in a single postseason (7 in 1994, 2011 and 2014).
* Since 1987 when all rounds became best-of-seven, 22 of 32 Stanley Cup winners have won at least one Game 7 along the way – including an active seven-year streak.
* This was the 16th time in the last 20 years that the Stanley Cup Final required at least six games. There has not been a single sweep in the Final during that span nor has there been consecutive years without at least a six-game series.
* The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs had 82.9% of possible games played (87 of 105), with 10 of 15 series requiring at least six games. In the six postseasons under the division-focused format, 84.3% of potential playoff games have been played (531 of 630).
* The division-focused playoff format also has produced 87.3% of possible games in the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final (110 of 126) – up from 78.6% in the final six years of the previous format (99 of 126 from 2008-2013).
* St. Louis played 26 games this postseason to match the NHL record achieved by four other teams. Three of the five instances have come under the current playoff format (also 2015 Lightning and 2014 Kings).
* The Blues also matched the NHL record for road wins in a single postseason and became the fifth road team ever to win Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final.
* This was the first postseason in NHL history to feature multiple Game 7 wins by teams that trailed by two or more goals (San Jose and Carolina, both in the First Round).
* The last team to clinch a playoff spot was the first through to the Second Round as Columbus became the first team in NHL history to sweep a best-of-seven series in the opening round against the team with the best regular-season record.
* All four Wild Card teams advanced past the opening round for the first time ever, marking the first postseason in NHL history in which all division winners were eliminated in the opening round. It also marked the first time ever that the top team from each conference was knocked out in round one. Two of those Wild Card teams – Columbus and Carolina – set franchise records for single-game attendance.
* There were 17 overtime contests this postseason (87 GP; 19.5%) – seven more than the entire 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (10 of 84 GP; 12%).
* St. Louis advanced to the Conference Finals by winning the third Game 7 to require overtime of the 2019 playoffs – the most ever in one playoff year.
* The Blues earned 10 of their 16 victories by a one-goal margin – including two in the Final – two shy of the most in one playoff year. Overall, 49.0% of playoff games since 2014 have been decided by a one-goal margin (260 of 531) – the highest such percentage of any playoff format.