Best Teams Ever bracket: NHL edition, championship round
Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time have their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crown a champion in each sport. The tournament will be decided by fan vote, so be sure to submit yours below! Check out the first round of voting here, the second round of voting here and the Final Four voting here. The championship round poll will close at noon ET on Tuesday.
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The NHL has been around for 100-plus years, but it’s beyond evident now that the league’s best-ever teams, existed less than a decade apart.
We’re down to our final round and, shocker, it’s the bracket’s top two seeds — the ‘85 Oilers and ‘77 Canadiens — set to duke it out for the crown. Both these clubs topped the NHL’s centennial celebration fan vote for greatest “Greatest NHL Team of All Time” a couple of years ago, and our voters have once again named these absurdly talented squads as the best we’ve ever seen.
Vote and have your say on whether the Bowman-led Habs or Gretzky-captained Oilers should be deemed the best ever.
1985 Edmonton Oilers vs. 1977 Montreal Canadiens
No. 1: 1984-85 Oilers
After crushing Bobby Orr’s 1970 Bruins, these Oilers — the best of Edmonton’s rockstar teams of the 80’s — beat out another of Edmonton’s dynasty groups, the 1987 Oilers, in Round 2. The 1985 squad overtook the Mario Lemieux-led 1992 Penguins in the semifinals, preventing an all-Scotty Bowman clash in the championship.
The 1985 Edmonton Oilers repeated as Stanley Cup champions and produced three major award winners in a record-breaking regular season. Wayne Gretzky won his sixth straight Hart Trophy and fifth consecutive Art Ross Trophy with 73 goals and 208 points, while also establishing the current postseason scoring record with 47 points in 18 games. Defenseman Paul Coffey won his first of three Norris trophies and Jari Kurri won the Lady Byng, while also matching the playoff record for goals in a single postseason with 19.
No. 2: 1976-77 Canadiens
The Scotty Bowman-led team responsible for one of the all-time great regular seasons in NHL history — and the best version of the Canadiens’ 70s dynasty squads — had their way with the Cup-less 1996 Red Wings in Round 2 after crushing the 2010 Blackhawks in the first round. The semis saw these Habs have their way with the 1983 islanders to get here.
En route to their second straight Cup, and fourth of six total championships in the 1970’s for Montreal, the Habs posted an absurd 60-8-12 record in the regular season before steamrolling their way through the playoffs with a 12-2 mark. Ken Dryden became just the fifth NHL goalie ever to post four shutouts in a single postseason, while Guy Lafleur — with nine goals and 26 points — took home playoff MVP honors.
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