Most frequent NHL playoff series between same teams

In the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins will meet for the 33rd time in the playoffs. That is by far the record for the number of playoff series between the same two teams. Montreal and Boston boast one of the best rivalries in sports, so the 33rd edition of their playoff rivalry should be just as good as the others. The NHL has had many frequent battles in the playoffs. Not surprisingly, most of the frequent battles involve Original Six teams. The top seven most frequent battles have been between Original Six teams. Here is a look at the five most frequent.

1. Montreal and Boston - 33

The two teams have met 32 previous times before 2011, and Montreal has a clear edge. Boston won the first series between the two teams in 1929. Montreal got their revenge the following year in the final series. Montreal holds a 24-8 edge overall. They eliminated Boston 18 meetings in a row between 1943 and 1987. The Bruins won four in a row in the early 1990s. They have met in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals four times since 2002, with Montreal winning three times. Boston won the most recent series in 2009.

2. Toronto and Detroit - 23

The former conference rivals have met 23 times, with Toronto holding a 12-11 edge. They last met in 1993, well before Toronto moved to the Eastern Conference. The Maple Leafs won that series. They have met in a total of seven Stanley Cup Finals, with the Maple Leafs winning six of those.

3. Montreal and Chicago - 17

The two teams last met in the playoffs in 1976. The Canadiens hold an overall edge of 12-5, including winning all five meetings between the two teams in the Stanley Cup Finals. Chicago last eliminated the Canadiens in 1962. Montreal has won the last five meetings. The two teams now play in opposite conferences, meaning they will both have to reach the Stanley Cup Finals to meet again.

4. Montreal and Toronto - 15

It is somewhat surprising that this series isn't more frequent. The Canadiens have beaten the Maple Leafs eight times while the Maple Leafs have won this series seven times. Now rivals in the Eastern Conference, the two teams last met in 1979, when Montreal swept Toronto. They did the same the previous year. The teams first met in 1918, and Toronto is one of the few teams to hold an edge over Montreal in the Stanley Cup Finals. They hold a 4-2 edge there, most recently winning in 1967.

5. Detroit and Chicago - 15

This is a big series between two bitter rivals. The teams have met 15 times, with the Blackhawks holding an 8-7 edge. The most recent series happened in 2009, when the Red Wings eliminated Chicago in the Western Conference Finals. With the power of both teams, it seems likely they will meet many more times in the playoffs. While Chicago has more series wins, the Red Wings hold an edge in victories 35-29.

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Updated Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011