2003–04 NHL season

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2003–04 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Number of games 82
Number of teams 30
Regular season
Presidents' Trophy Detroit Red Wings
Season MVP Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Top scorer Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Playoffs
Eastern champions Tampa Bay Lightning
  Eastern runners-up Philadelphia Flyers
Western champions Calgary Flames
  Western runners-up San Jose Sharks
Playoffs MVP Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
Stanley Cup
Champions Tampa Bay Lightning
  Runners-up Calgary Flames
NHL seasons

The 2003–04 NHL season was the 87th regular season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup champions were the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the best of seven series four games to three against the Calgary Flames.

For the fourth time in eight years, the all-time record for total shutouts in a season was shattered, as 192 shutouts were recorded.[1] The 2003–04 regular season was also the first one (excluding the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season) since 1967–68 in which there was neither a 50-goal scorer, nor a 100-point scorer.[1][2] This was the final season that ABC and ESPN televised NHL games. It was also the final NHL season before the 2004–05 NHL lockout, and the final season in which games could end in ties.

League business[edit]

The schedule of 82 games was revamped. The thirty teams played 82 games in a revamped format that increased divisional games from 5 to 6 per team (24 total), conference games from 3 to 4 (40 total), and decreased inter-conference games to at least one per team, with three extra games (18 in total).

The alternating of uniforms was changed. For the first season since the 1969–70 season, teams would now wear their dark jerseys at home and light uniforms away.

The Phoenix Coyotes moved to a new arena in Glendale, Arizona after playing their first seven seasons at America West Arena.

Regular season[edit]

The 2003–04 season was one overhung by concern over the expiry of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement. It would lead to the cancellation of the league's games for the entirety of the next season. During the entire season, Commissioner Gary Bettman and Players Association head Bob Goodenow waged a war of words with no agreement being signed.

On September 26, just before the season was to begin, young Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley crashed his Ferrari in suburban Atlanta. The passenger, Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder, was killed. Heatley himself was badly injured and eventually charged with vehicular homicide. The entire NHL thus began the season in mourning.

Going into the season the two favorites were the Ottawa Senators in the east, who had won the Presidents' Trophy and come within a win of the Stanley Cup finals the year before; and the Colorado Avalanche in the west, who despite losing legendary goaltender Patrick Roy to retirement, added both Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya to an already star-studded lineup. Neither of these teams was as successful as expected, with Ottawa finishing fifth in the conference and Colorado finishing fourth, losing the Northwest Division title for the first time in a decade when the Nordiques were still around.

The greatest disappointments were the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who, despite making it to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals the year before and adding Sergei Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal, failed to make the playoffs. Los Angeles Kings failed to make the playoffs thanks to a season ending 11 game losing streak. In the East the star-studded New York Rangers again failed to make the playoffs. The Washington Capitals, who were regarded as a contender, also stumbled early and never recovered. The end of the season saw two of the most extensive housecleanings in league history as the Rangers and Capitals traded away most of their stars and entered rebuilding mode. The Capitals dumped Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra, Sergei Gonchar, Robert Lang, and Anson Carter. The Rangers moved Petr Nedved, Brian Leetch, Anson Carter, and Alexei Kovalev.

The most surprising teams were the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference and San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference. The Lightning, who had a remarkable season with only 20 man-games lost to injury, finished atop the Eastern Conference. The Sharks, who were firmly in rebuilding mode after a disastrous 28–37–9–8 campaign the last season, came second in the Western Conference and won the Pacific Division.

Two other teams that did better than expected were carried by surprising young goaltenders. The Calgary Flames ended a seven-year playoff drought backed by the solid play of Miikka Kiprusoff. The Boston Bruins won the Northeast Division by a whisker over the Toronto Maple Leafs with the help of eventual Calder Memorial Trophy winner Andrew Raycroft.

Goaltending was also the story of the Presidents' Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings as the return from retirement of legend Dominik Hasek bumped Curtis Joseph to the minor leagues. At the same time long time back up Manny Legace put up better numbers than both veterans and won the starting job in the playoffs.

Of note is the fact that the Nashville Predators made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They put up a valiant effort but were unable to overcome the Hockey Hall of Fame-bound roster of the Red Wings in the first round.

The regular season ended controversially, when in March 2004, Canucks' Todd Bertuzzi performed an infamous hit that seriously injured Avalanche's Steve Moore, forcing the latter to retire.

Final standings[edit]

Detroit Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

For rankings in conference, division leaders are automatically ranked 1–3. These three, plus the next five teams in the conference standings, earn playoff berths at the end of the season.

Eastern Conference[edit]

Atlantic Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA PTS
1 3 Philadelphia Flyers 82 40 21 15 6 229 186 101
2 6 New Jersey Devils 82 43 25 12 2 213 164 100
3 8 New York Islanders 82 38 29 11 4 237 210 91
4 13 New York Rangers 82 27 40 7 8 206 250 69
5 15 Pittsburgh Penguins 82 23 47 8 4 190 303 58

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Northeast Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 2 Boston Bruins 82 41 19 15 7 209 188 104
2 4 Toronto Maple Leafs 82 45 24 10 3 242 204 103
3 5 Ottawa Senators 82 43 23 10 6 262 189 102
4 7 Montreal Canadiens 82 41 30 7 4 208 192 93
5 9 Buffalo Sabres 82 37 34 7 4 220 221 85

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Southeast Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA PTS
1 1 Tampa Bay Lightning 82 46 22 8 6 245 192 106
2 10 Atlanta Thrashers 82 33 37 8 4 214 243 78
3 11 Carolina Hurricanes 82 28 34 14 6 172 209 76
4 12 Florida Panthers 82 28 35 15 4 188 221 75
5 14 Washington Capitals 82 23 46 10 3 186 253 59

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Eastern Conference[4]
R Div GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 Z- Tampa Bay Lightning SE 82 46 22 8 6 245 192 106
2 Y- Boston Bruins NE 82 41 19 15 7 209 188 104
3 Y- Philadelphia Flyers AT 82 40 21 15 6 209 188 101
4 X- Toronto Maple Leafs NE 82 45 24 10 3 242 204 103
5 X- Ottawa Senators NE 82 43 23 10 6 262 189 102
6 X- New Jersey Devils AT 82 43 25 12 2 213 164 100
7 X- Montreal Canadiens NE 82 41 30 7 4 208 192 93
8 X- New York Islanders AT 82 38 29 11 4 237 210 91
8.5
9 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 37 34 7 4 220 221 85
10 Atlanta Thrashers SE 82 33 37 8 4 214 243 78
11 Carolina Hurricanes SE 82 28 34 14 6 172 209 76
12 Florida Panthers SE 82 28 35 15 4 188 221 75
13 New York Rangers AT 82 27 40 7 8 206 250 69
14 Washington Capitals SE 82 23 46 10 3 186 253 59
15 Pittsburgh Penguins AT 82 23 47 8 4 190 303 58

Divisions: AT – Atlantic, NE – Northeast, SE – Southeast

Z- Clinched Conference; Y- Clinched Division; X- Clinched Playoff spot


Western Conference[edit]

Central Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 1 Detroit Red Wings 82 48 21 11 2 255 189 109
2 7 St. Louis Blues 82 39 30 11 2 191 198 91
3 8 Nashville Predators 82 38 29 11 4 216 217 91
4 14 Columbus Blue Jackets 82 25 45 8 4 177 238 62
5 15 Chicago Blackhawks 82 20 43 11 8 188 259 59

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Northwest Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA PTS
1 3 Vancouver Canucks 82 43 24 10 5 235 194 101
2 4 Colorado Avalanche 82 40 22 13 7 235 198 100
3 6 Calgary Flames 82 42 30 7 3 200 176 94
4 9 Edmonton Oilers 82 36 29 12 5 221 208 89
5 10 Minnesota Wild 82 30 29 20 3 188 183 83

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Pacific Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 2 San Jose Sharks 82 43 21 12 6 219 183 104
2 5 Dallas Stars 82 41 26 13 2 194 175 97
3 11 Los Angeles Kings 82 28 29 16 9 205 217 81
4 12 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 82 29 35 10 8 184 213 76
5 13 Phoenix Coyotes 82 22 36 18 6 188 245 68

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Western Conference[4]
R Div GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 P- Detroit Red Wings CE 82 48 21 11 2 255 189 109
2 Y- San Jose Sharks PA 82 43 21 11 2 255 183 104
3 Y- Vancouver Canucks NW 82 43 24 10 5 235 194 101
4 X- Colorado Avalanche NW 82 40 22 13 7 236 198 100
5 X- Dallas Stars PA 82 41 26 13 2 194 175 97
6 X- Calgary Flames NW 82 42 30 7 3 200 176 94
7 X- St. Louis Blues CE 82 39 30 11 2 191 198 91
8 X- Nashville Predators CE 82 38 29 11 4 216 217 91
8.5
9 Edmonton Oilers NW 82 36 29 12 5 221 208 89
10 Minnesota Wild NW 82 30 29 20 3 188 183 83
11 Los Angeles Kings PA 82 28 29 16 9 205 217 81
12 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim PA 82 29 35 10 8 184 213 76
13 Phoenix Coyotes PA 82 22 36 18 6 188 245 68
14 Columbus Blue Jackets CE 82 25 45 8 4 177 238 62
15 Chicago Blackhawks CE 82 20 43 11 8 188 259 59

Divisions: CE – Central, PA – Pacific, NW – Northwest

P- Clinched Presidents Trophy; Y- Clinched Division; X- Clinched Playoff spot


Playoffs[edit]

Note: All dates in 2004.

The 2004 playoffs were considered to be wide open, with no clear favorite. All of the top teams had weaknesses. Tampa Bay and Boston were both young teams with no history of recent postseason success. Detroit, Ottawa, Colorado, and Philadelphia all had major questions in goal. New Jersey was marred by injuries to Scott Stevens and Brian Rafalski, while Vancouver was missing the suspended Todd Bertuzzi.

The first-round Eastern Conference matchups were notable for the number of heated rivalries. The Ottawa Senators met the Toronto Maple Leafs for the fourth time in five years in the always passion-filled Battle of Ontario. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens met in a resumption of the most common of all NHL playoff series, and one which the Canadiens have thoroughly dominated, including an upset win two years prior. The Philadelphia Flyers also played a hated division rival in the New Jersey Devils. The only non-rivalry was the Tampa Bay-New York Islanders series.

The West saw the resumption of the Vancouver-Calgary rivalry, which had been somewhat dormant as the Flames made the playoffs for the first time since 1996. In a less passionate but still interesting matchup, Detroit played division rival Nashville (whom they had struggled against during the regular season) in Nashville's first ever franchise visit to the playoffs. San Jose met the St. Louis Blues, while the always difficult four-five matchup saw Colorado and Dallas meet.

The Calgary Flames - a sixth seed - defeated the Canucks, the Red Wings and the Sharks to become the first Canadian team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals in ten years, since the Canucks lost to the Rangers in 1994. They faced the Tampa Bay Lightning - who defeated the Islanders in five, swept the Canadiens and defeated the Flyers in seven games.

Stanley Cup Finals[edit]

The Lightning beat the Flames in the Stanley Cup Finals 4 games to 3. With the Flames having a 3–2 series lead and the series going back to Calgary for Game 6, with the Stanley Cup in the building and with the game tied 2–2 in the third, Martin Gelinas of the Flames (who scored the series winning goals in the Flames three previous series) appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal. Gelinas redirected a pass towards the Tampa net using his skate that was kicked out by Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. It appeared that before Khabibulin kicked the puck out, it had already crossed the goal line.[5] The play was not reviewed. To this day, many Flames fans argue that the puck was in.[citation needed] The game eventually went into double overtime where Lightning winger and former Flame Martin St. Louis scored the overtime winner and broke the hearts of Flames fans everywhere. The Lightning went on to win Game 7 by a score of 2–1 and captured their first championship in franchise history. Brad Richards with 12 goals and 26 points won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Calgary vs. Tampa Bay
Date Away Home  
May 25 Calgary 4 1 Tampa Bay
May 27 Calgary 1 4 Tampa Bay
May 29 Tampa Bay 0 3 Calgary
May 31 Tampa Bay 1 0 Calgary
June 3 Calgary 3 2 Tampa Bay OT
June 5 Tampa Bay 3 2 Calgary 2OT
June 7 Calgary 1 2 Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay wins series 4–3 and Stanley Cup

Playoff bracket[edit]

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
                                     
1  Tampa Bay 4     1  Tampa Bay 4  
8  NY Islanders 1     7  Montreal 0  


2  Boston 3 Eastern Conference
7  Montreal 4  
    1  Tampa Bay 4  
  3  Philadelphia 3  
3  Philadelphia 4  
6  New Jersey 1  
4  Toronto 4   3  Philadelphia 4
5  Ottawa 3     4  Toronto 2  


  E1  Tampa Bay 4
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W6  Calgary 3
1  Detroit 4     1  Detroit 2
8  Nashville 2     6  Calgary 4  
2  San Jose 4
7  St. Louis 1  
  2  San Jose 2
  6  Calgary 4  
3  Vancouver 3  
6  Calgary 4   Western Conference
4  Colorado 4   2  San Jose 4
5  Dallas 1     4  Colorado 2  
  • During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.

Awards[edit]

The NHL Awards presentation took place in Toronto.

Presidents' Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy: Tampa Bay Lightning
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Calgary Flames
Art Ross Trophy: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Bryan Berard, Chicago Blackhawks
Calder Memorial Trophy: Andrew Raycroft, Boston Bruins
Conn Smythe Trophy: Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Kris Draper, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Jack Adams Award: John Tortorella, Tampa Bay Lightning
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils
King Clancy Memorial Trophy: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lester B. Pearson Award: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lester Patrick Trophy: Mike Emrick, John Davidson, Ray Miron
Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames;
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets;
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning;
Marek Malik, Vancouver Canucks
Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award: Dwayne Roloson, Minnesota Wild
Vezina Trophy: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
William M. Jennings Trophy: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

All-Star teams[edit]

First team   Position   Second team
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils G Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils D Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
Zdeno Chara, Ottawa Senators D Bryan McCabe, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche C Mats Sundin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning RW Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Markus Naslund, Vancouver Canucks LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers

Player statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay 82 38 56 94
Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta 81 41 46 87
Joe Sakic Colorado 81 33 54 87
Markus Naslund Vancouver 78 35 49 84
Marian Hossa Ottawa 81 36 46 82
Patrik Elias New Jersey 82 38 43 81
Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa 77 32 48 80
Cory Stillman Tampa Bay 81 25 55 80
Robert Lang Washington / Detroit 69 30 49 79
Brad Richards Tampa Bay 82 26 53 79

[6]

Leading goaltenders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; Mins = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses: OT = Overtime losses; GA = Goals allowed; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Mins W L T GA SO SV GAA
Martin Brodeur New Jersey 75 4554 38 26 11 154 11 .917 2.03
Marty Turco Dallas 73 4359 37 21 13 144 9 .913 1.98
Ed Belfour Toronto 59 3444 34 19 6 122 10 .918 2.13
Tomas Vokoun Nashville 73 4221 34 29 10 178 3 .909 2.53
Dan Cloutier Vancouver 60 3539 33 21 6 134 5 .914 2.27

Milestones[edit]

Debuts[edit]

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 2003–04 (listed with their first team):

Last games[edit]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 2003–04 (listed with their last team):

Hat tricks[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5. 
Notes
  1. ^ a b http://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_2004.html
  2. ^ http://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_1968.html
  3. ^ a b c d e f "2003-2004 Division Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "2003–2004 Standings by Conference". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBBgCRIxrtg&feature=related
  6. ^ Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2009). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book/2010. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 162. 
  7. ^ "Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Kenny Jonsson retires". NHL.com. Canadian Press. June 20, 2009. Archived from the original on June 22, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2009. 

External links[edit]