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2004 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs for the National Hockey League began on April 7, 2004, following the 2003–04 regular season. The playoffs ended with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup with a seven-game series win over the Calgary Flames on June 7. It was Tampa Bay's first Stanley Cup championship. It was the Flames' third final appearance, losing to the Montreal Canadiens in 1986 and beating the Canadiens in the 1989 rematch. These playoffs ended up being the last playoff tournament until 2006 due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout that resulted in the cancellation of the following season. The 16 qualified teams, eight from each conference, played best-of-seven games for Conference Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals. The winner of each conference proceeded to the Stanley Cup Finals. The format was identical to the one introduced for the 1999 playoffs. These playoffs marked the first time the Nashville Predators qualified, being in their sixth season in the NHL. This would be the last time that all eastern Canadian teams would make the playoffs together until 2013. This was the last time until 2019 that both Southern California teams, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, missed the playoffs.

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2011 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 13, 2011, after the conclusion of the 2010–11 NHL regular season. The first game of the Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins was held on June 1, and Boston went on to capture their first Stanley Cup championship since 1972 (sixth overall) in the deciding seventh game on June 15.The Canucks made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. The Detroit Red Wings increased their post-season appearance streak to twenty seasons, the longest active streak at the time. This was the most recent time that the Buffalo Sabres made the playoffs; as of 2022, they hold the all-time record for longest playoff appearance drought. This was also the last time that the Florida Panthers missed the playoffs during their 10-season drought, which was previously the all-time longest drought from the tournament. For the first time in NHL history, all three California-based teams, the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Ducks, made the playoffs. San Jose went on to the Western Conference final, marking the fifth time in eight seasons that a California-based team did so.This season marked the only time that all six division champions advanced to the second round, as the NHL has since reverted to a four-division alignment. For the first time in the history of major professional sports in North America, two different teams came back from a 3–0 deficit to tie a series, with the Chicago Blackhawks forcing game seven against the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, and the Detroit Red Wings doing the same against the San Jose Sharks in the second round (both lost). Previously, only the 1975 New York Islanders came back from two 3–0 series deficits in the same season (winning one).

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2012 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 11, 2012, after the conclusion of the 2011–12 NHL regular season, and ended on June 11, with the Los Angeles Kings defeating the New Jersey Devils in six games to win their first Stanley Cup title. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, having recorded a 1.41 goals against average, was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. The Vancouver Canucks made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners for the second consecutive year with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. The Detroit Red Wings increased their postseason appearance streak to twenty-one seasons, the longest active streak at the time. The Florida Panthers returned to the postseason to end a record-breaking 10-season drought from the playoffs that began with the 2000 Stanley Cup playoffs. This was also the first time that the Buffalo Sabres missed the playoffs during their active playoff appearance drought; as of 2022, they have surpassed Edmonton and Florida's shared record for longest playoff appearance drought in league history. This was the first year since 1996 in which no Canadian-based teams advanced past the first round. It marked the first time since 2004 in which none of the previous year's conference finalists (Boston Bruins, Vancouver, Tampa Bay Lightning, and San Jose Sharks) advanced past the first round. After clinching a postseason spot in their 81st game of the regular season, the Kings became the first eighth-seeded team to win the Stanley Cup in NHL history (and the second eighth seed to reach the Cup Finals after the 2005–06 Edmonton Oilers). Their postseason began with an elimination of the Vancouver Canucks, who became the third Presidents' Trophy-winning team in the last four seasons to be eliminated in the first round.

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2021 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs was the playoff tournament of the National Hockey League (NHL). The playoffs began on May 15, 2021, and concluded on July 7, 2021, with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning their second consecutive and third overall Stanley Cup in franchise history, defeating the Montreal Canadiens four games to one in the Stanley Cup Finals. The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin a few days after the 2020–21 regular season, but they began four days prior to the end of the regular season after the Vancouver Canucks had eleven games postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak.The league returned to the traditional 16-team playoff format with all series being best-of-seven, after using a 24-team format in 2020 due to the regular season being cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to cross-border travel restrictions imposed by the Government of Canada, the league temporarily realigned this season into four divisions with no conferences. Consequently, the first two rounds of the playoffs featured intra-divisional matchups, with the higher seeded teams receiving home-ice advantage in those rounds. In the Stanley Cup Semifinals, the four remaining teams (one from each division) were reseeded based on their regular season records. Both semifinal winners advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. After initially stating that the Campbell and Wales trophies would not be awarded this season, the league decided in June 2021 that the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights would play for the Campbell Bowl and the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning would play for the Wales Trophy.Although it was initially unknown whether the Canadian teams that qualified for the playoffs would be able to play in their home arenas after the second round, on June 6, it was announced that those teams would be allowed to play in their home arenas for the remainder of the playoffs. In order to complete the playoffs in Canada, the League applied for a cross-border travel exemption with the Public Health Agency of Canada. Prior to the announcement, there were some ideas of the Canadian team playing in a neutral NHL city in the US after the second round.The Colorado Avalanche made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e.

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2022 Stanley Cup Finals

The 2022 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 2021–22 season and the culmination of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. The series was between the Eastern Conference and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche won the best-of-seven series, four games to two, for their third championship in franchise history. Colorado had home ice advantage in the series with the better regular season record.The series began on June 15, and concluded on June 26. With the Government of Canada allowing cross-border travel for fully vaccinated players and team personnel between Canada and the United States, the league was able to return to its usual two conference alignment and reinstate its standard playoff format that was used from 2014–2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Finals were still pushed from the usual start date in late May for the third consecutive year, this time due to a scheduled break in the regular season that coincided with the league's planned participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics, though the league's players ultimately did not participate in the Olympics. When the NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, tested positive for Covid-19, NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly, took over the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup Presentation. This was the first time since 1992 that Gary Bettman did not give the presentation.

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2022 Stanley Cup playoffs

The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs was the playoff tournament of the National Hockey League (NHL). The playoffs began on May 2, 2022, one day after the 2021–22 NHL regular season, and concluded on June 26, 2022, with the Colorado Avalanche winning their third Stanley Cup in franchise history, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to two in the Stanley Cup Finals.With the Government of Canada allowing cross-border travel for fully vaccinated players and team personnel between Canada and the United States, the league was able to return to its usual two conference, four division alignment. As a result, the standard 16-team playoff format that was used before the COVID-19 pandemic from 2014–2019 was reinstated.The Florida Panthers made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season. The Pittsburgh Penguins increased their postseason appearance streak to 16 seasons, the longest active streak in the four major North American professional sports leagues. Three of the semifinalists from the previous season (the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights) failed to qualify for the playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings ended a two-year run in which no teams from California qualified for the playoffs. All eight playoff teams from the Eastern Conference finished the season with at least 100 points, marking the first playoffs in NHL history in which all eight teams in a single conference qualified with at least 100 points. Florida's opening round series victory over the Washington Capitals was their first series win since the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals. This postseason marks the third time that the league has played 50 or more games in opening round of the playoffs since this round was changed to a best-of-seven format in 1987.

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Cale Makar

Cale Douglas Makar (born October 30, 1998) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman for the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected with the fourth overall pick by the Avalanche in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.After two seasons in the NCAA with the UMass Minutemen, Makar debuted in the NHL in the 2019–20 season, making an immediate impact and winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. In his second professional season he was nominated for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league's best defenceman, and won the Norris in the following 2021–22 season. Makar won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2022, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2022 playoffs. He has been widely cited as one of the best defencemen and best players in the modern NHL.Internationally, Makar has played for Team Canada, winning gold at the 2018 World Junior Championships.

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Stanley Cup playoffs

The Stanley Cup playoffs (French: Les séries éliminatoires de la Coupe Stanley) is an elimination tournament in the National Hockey League (NHL) consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series to determine the league champion and the winner of the Stanley Cup. Eight teams from each of the two conferences qualify for the playoffs based on regular season points totals. The final round is commonly known as the Stanley Cup Finals, which matches the two conference champions. The NHL is the only major professional sports league in North America to refer to its playoffs by the name of its championship trophy, a tradition which has arisen because the Stanley Cup is North America's oldest professional sports trophy, dating back more than two decades before the establishment of the NHL. Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated in 1892 by Lord Stanley of Preston, then–Governor General of Canada, initially as a "challenge trophy" for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. From 1893 when the first Cup was awarded to 1914, the champions held onto the Cup until they either lost their league title to another club, or a champion from another league issued a formal challenge and defeated the reigning Cup champion in a final game to claim their win. Professional teams then first became eligible to challenge for the Stanley Cup in 1906. Starting in 1915, the Cup was officially contested between the champion of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the champion of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). After a series of league mergers and folds, including the 1917 establishment of the NHL as a successor to the NHA, the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy of the NHL prior to the 1926–27 season. The NHL has always used a playoff tournament to determine its champion. The league's playoff system has changed over the years, from the NHL's inception in 1917, to when the NHL took over the Cup in 1926, to the current setup today.

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