The longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dating back to the original expansion year of the NHL, there are 11 active teams that haven’t won a Stanley Cup since their inception. The record for the longest drought ever goes to the New York Rangers, who went 54 years (1940 to 1994). But the Leafs are catching up as they haven’t won the Cup since 1967. Toronto also has the longest active playoff series win drought at 17 seasons.
Could that end this season? It definitely could. The Leafs are +675 second favorites to win the Cup on the NHL futures odds and +425 in the East. The problem is that they likely will run into the NHL-best Boston Bruins, who are +500 Cup favorites and +275 to win the East, in the conference semifinals.
Those teams just played Saturday in Boston and the Bruins won a terrific 4-3 back-and-forth affair to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this season. Matt Grzelcyk scored with 76 seconds left to help the Bruins beat Toronto for the first time in five tries since before the pandemic. The Bruins have the NHL’s best record and 70 points in 42 games — 11 points ahead of Atlantic Division rival Toronto.
In an intense atmosphere that could have served as a playoff game, shot attempts in just over 50 minutes of five-on-five play were 52-49 in the Bruins’ favor. Scoring chances were 30-29 Boston, and high-danger scoring chances were 15-14 for the Bruins.
“I think the game meant more to us than I imagined before the game,” said Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, whose first-place club is the only one yet to lose consecutively in 2022-23. “I like how we all stuck together out there. They did too. There’s players on their team that certain guys on our team don’t like, and I’m sure it’s the same way (for them). That’s what makes a rivalry. That’s why it was such a heated, good hockey game.”
Head-to-head this season, the Bruins and Leafs are deadlocked 1-1 with a combined score of 5-5. Unless the Bruins go for a dive that no one is expecting, the Leafs won’t catch them for first place in the Atlantic Division, not with an 11-point deficit and the fact the Bruins have two games in hand.
The Leafs haven’t won a playoff series since 2004. They’ve lost in the first round in six consecutive seasons. Three of their last seven first-round exits dating back to 2013 have come against the Bruins. But this might be the best Toronto team in years. The goaltending duo of Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov has been surprisingly very good. Murray won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. The Bruins and Leafs still have two more meetings left on the regular season schedule — Feb. 1 in Toronto and April 5 in Boston.
Could the Seattle Kraken win the Stanley Cup in their second NHL season? They were one of the league’s worst teams in 2021-22 as an expansion club but enter this week on an eight-game winning streak and +3300 to win the Cup.
Seattle finished a seven-game road trip on Saturday at 7-0 – no team had ever swept a road trip of at least seven games previously in history. The Kraken outscored opponents by a combined 37-15 margin since their road trip began on Jan. 3. Seattle’s +22 goal differential marked the highest by a team during a road trip of seven or more contests in NHL history, eclipsing the previous mark of +21 by Chicago during an eight-game journey (37 GF & 16 GA from Jan. 29–Feb. 13, 1995).
The eight-game overall streak is also the longest winning streak in the franchise’s two-year history, and is the second time this season the Kraken have won at least seven straight games. The first streak ran from Nov. 19 to Dec. 1.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the players to be able to do that,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “It shows the consistency and work they’ve put in from the start of this road trip.”
The Kraken are averaging 3.66 goals per game this season, which ranks third in the NHL. A year ago, they averaged 2.6 goals per game, which ranked 28th out of 32 teams.
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