National Hockey League rivalries
Rivalries in the National Hockey League have occurred between many teams and cities. Rivalries have arisen for many different reasons, the primary ones including geographic proximity, familiarity with opponents, on-ice incidents, and cultural, linguistic, or national pride.
The importance of these various factors has varied widely throughout the history of the league.
Early history 
During the earliest days of the NHL, the league was limited strictly to Central Canada, and all cities in the league were in close proximity, making for bitter rivalries all around. In addition, Montreal had two teams representing its English-French divide, as the "French" Canadiens battled the "English" Wanderers (and later the Maroons). Rivalries also existed with other leagues, such as the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. It was not until 1926 that the NHL took sole ownership of the Stanley Cup. By that time, the league began expanding into the United States, and new rivalries were created. Rapid expansion into the U.S. for a short time created a cross-town rivalry in New York City between the New York Rangers and New York Americans. The economic turmoil of the Great Depression and World War II, however, forced several teams to fold, with the result that by 1942 the NHL consisted of only 6 teams.
Original Six rivalries 
From 1942–1967, only 6 teams (the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs) played in the NHL. With so few opponents, teams played more frequently, and games were often underscored by personal rivalries between players. These personal and team rivalries lasted for many years, as the turnover rate on NHL rosters was very low. At one point or another, during this era, all the teams had animosity towards one another.
Eastern Conference 
Atlantic Division 
Battle of the Jersey Turnpike: New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers 
The rivalry between the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers is very intense in New Jersey itself, sometimes being referred to as the "Battle of the Jersey Turnpike." Devils supporters reside mostly in the northern part of the state, while the southern part is dominated by Flyers fans due to South Jersey's close proximity to Philadelphia. The Flyers practice in Voorhees Township, New Jersey, and since their Stanley Cup championships of 1974 and 1975, many members of those Cup-winning teams (as well as other Flyers alumni) have lived in South Jersey. Since the conferences were realigned and renamed prior to the 1993–94 season, the two teams have won the two highest numbers of division titles (the Devils 9, the Flyers 6). Together, the two teams' 15 division championships account for almost all of the 18 total Atlantic Division titles.
Battle of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins 
The Battle of Pennsylvania, which is the Philadelphia Flyers–Pittsburgh Penguins rivalry, began in 1967 when the teams were introduced into the NHL's "Next Six" expansion wave. The rivalry exists due to divisional alignment and geographic location, as both teams play in the state of Pennsylvania. The Flyers lead the series 138–87–30. However, the Penguins have eliminated the Flyers from the playoffs in 2008 and 2009, strengthening the rivalry. In their 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup, the rivalry strengthened with several on- and off-ice incidents, resulting in suspensions and fines. Philadelphia took a 3-0 series lead, but the heavily-favored Penguins won the next 2 games, only to lose the series to the Flyers in Game 6.
Battle of New York: New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders 
The Rangers-Islanders rivalry, also unofficially known as the "Battle of New York," is unique among New York City's major league sports, as the Rangers and Islanders are in the same conference and division, guaranteeing plenty of matchups as well as National Basketball Association's teams Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks. Major League Baseball's New York Yankees and New York Mets are in different leagues, as are the National Football League's New York Jets and New York Giants, so the only meeting opportunities are during inter-league or championship games. The games are often characterized by more fights in the stands than on the ice.
Broadway vs. Broad Street: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers 
The Flyers–Rangers rivalry is one of the most well-known. They have met 10 times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the Flyers winning 6 times, and have been division rivals since the 1974–75 season.
There is a long-standing bitter rivalry between the sports fans from New York City and Philadelphia, which are approximately two hours apart by car, also seen in the Mets–Phillies rivalry in Major League Baseball and Eagles–Giants rivalry in the National Football League. Games between the two teams at Madison Square Garden and Wells Fargo Center are often very intense, hard-hitting affairs, as each home crowd does its best to create an unfriendly, sometimes volatile atmosphere for any visiting-team fans.
Battle of the Hudson River: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers 
The Devils–Rangers rivalry, exists between two teams in the New York metropolitan area. The two teams are called "cross-river rivals." This is because Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan, where the Rangers play, is less than ten miles and across the Hudson River from the Prudential Center in downtown Newark (and previously, the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford), the home arena of the Devils. Travel between both arenas is easily accomplished by both road (usually through the Lincoln Tunnel) and rail (along the Northeast Corridor). The teams have met 6 times in the playoffs; the Rangers won 4 times.
New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins 
The Islanders and Penguins have been rivals since the 1970s. These two teams have met in the playoffs four times, with the Islanders winning the first three playoff series (the fourth playoff series is currently in progress). In 1975, the Penguins lead their playoff series against the Islanders three games to none. But the Islanders came back to win the next four games to take the series in seven games, becoming only the second team in NHL history (after the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942) to win a playoff series after trailing three games to none. In 1982, the Islanders and Penguins met in the opening round of the playoffs. The Isles were the two time defending Stanley Cup champions and appeared on their way to the second round after winning the first two games at home outscoring the Pens 15-3. But when the series moved to the Steel City, the Pens showed that they were a different team on their home ice, as they avoided elimination by winning the next two games at home, sending the series back to Long Island. At home for the 5th and deciding game, the Islanders trailed 3-1 late in the 3rd period with 5:27 to go in the game. Just as it appeared that the Islanders two year reign was going to come to an end, Mike McEwen scored to cut the Penguins lead to 3-2. Still trailing late in the period, exactly three minutes after McEwen's goal, John Tonelli scored a goal to tie the game and sent it to overtime. At 6:19 of the extra session, Tonelli scored the game winner to complete the comeback, giving the Islanders a 4-3 victory and a 3-2 series win. This scare by Pittsburgh would serve as a wake up call to the Islanders, who would lose just two more games the rest of the way en route to their third straight Stanley Cup. In 1993, the teams met the Patrick Division final. The Penguins were the two time defending Stanley Cup champions and in search of their third straight title. They had won the Presidents' Trophy with 119 points and were coming off a five game win over the New Jersey Devils in the opening round. The Islanders finished with 87 points, 32 behind Pittsburgh. They were coming off a six game win over the Washington Capitals in the opening round. But the win came at a price, Pierre Turgeon suffered a separated shoulder on a vicious check by Washington's Dale Hunter after scoring a goal late in the deciding game. The teams split the first four games before the Pens won game 5 by a score of 6-3. Faced with elimination, the Islanders won game 6 at home by a score of 7-5. In game 7, the Islanders lead 3-1 late in the third period when Ron Francis scored to cut the lead to 3-2. Then, with one minute left in the game, Rick Tocchet scored to force sudden death overtime. Then at 5:16 of overtime, David Volek, who was a healthy scratch often during the regular season, scored the series winning goal, ending the Penguins chances at a threepeat. On February 11, 2011, the Pens and Isles engaged in a vicious brawl. In the game, (which the Islanders won 9-3) the teams combined for 65 penalties, which included 15 fighting majors and 21 game misconducts, resulting in a combined total of 346 penalty minutes. The two teams met in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, with the Penguins coming out on top in six games.
Northeast Division 
Battle of Ontario: Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 
The Battle of Ontario is a rivalry between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. The teams compete in the same division and meet frequently during regular season games and Stanley Cup playoffs.
Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens 
The Bruins–Canadiens rivalry is considered "one of the greatest rivalries in North American sports," along with the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry and Bears–Packers rivalry. The two teams have played each other more times, in both regular season play and the playoffs, than any other two teams in NHL history.
As of the 2010–11 season, the Bruins have won 259 of these matches, scoring a total of 1,885 goals against the Canadiens, with the Canadiens winning 343 of them, scoring a total of 2,160 goals against the Bruins, with 103 other games between the two teams ending in ties, all before the 2004–05 NHL lockout's rule changes mandated the "shootout" format to break such tie games, going back all the way to the Bruins' first NHL season of 1924–25. In the playoffs, the two teams have met in 33 series for a total of 164 games, 10 series and some 47 more games than two other Original 6 teams, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. The two teams have faced each other 8 times in Game sevens, more times than any other opponents in NHL history.
Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres 
The Bruins and Sabres have had a strong rivalry since the 1980s, dating back to the days of the old Adams Division. The teams have met in the playoffs eight times with the Bruins winning the first five meetings in 1982, 1983, 1988, 1989, and 1992. The 1983 series was most memorable when in game 7 of the Adams Division final, Brad Park scored the winning goal at 1:52 of sudden death overtime. The Sabres would finally be victorious in 1993, when they swept the Bruins in the opening round on Brad May's famous "May Day" goal called by long time Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret. In 1999, the Sabres beat the Bruins in six games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Dallas Stars in six games on Brett Hull's controversial goal. The teams met in the opening round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Sabres who won the Northeast Division with 100 points and were seeded 3rd in the Eastern Conference were upset by the 6th seeded Bruins in six games.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa Senators 
The Sabres and Senators have had a strong rivalry since after the 2004–05 NHL lockout, when both teams were vying for the Northeast Division title. Ottawa generally had the upper hand on Buffalo during regular season games, but Buffalo usually beat them in the playoffs. The best-known game in this rivalry occurred on February 22, 2007, which included a large fight that included both goaltenders and verbal sparring between the two coaches (Buffalo won the game 6–5). The teams have met 4 times in the playoffs, with Buffalo winning three series, and Ottawa winning one. Ottawa also beat Buffalo in the final game of the 1996-1997 season to make the playoffs for the first time since entering the league.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 
The rivalry between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs is due to the close proximity of the two cites and their connection via the Queen Elizabeth Way freeway. The distance from the south end, the First Niagara Center from downtown Buffalo, New York, and the north end, the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto are 89 miles (145 kilometers) from each other. Since the 1998–99 season, both teams have played in the Northeast Division.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Buffalo Sabres 
The Canadiens and Sabres have been rivals since the Sabres joined the NHL in 1970. The teams have met in the playoffs seven times with Montreal winning in 1973, 1990, 1991, and 1993. While Buffalo came out on top in 1975, 1983, and 1998. Their 1993 playoff series would mark the one and only playoff meeting between the NHL's top two goaltenders at the time; Patrick Roy of Montreal and Grant Fuhr of Buffalo. The Canadiens swept the series by winning every game by a score 4-3 en route to their 24th and most recent Stanley Cup. In 1998, the Sabres became the first team in NHL history to complete a four game sweep of the Canadiens on Montreal ice.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens 
The Canadiens–Maple Leafs rivalry is the oldest in NHL history. From 1944–78, the two teams met each other in the playoffs 15 times, and faced off in five Stanley Cup Finals. While the on-ice competition is fierce, the Leafs-Habs rivalry is symbolic of the rivalry between Canada's two largest cities: Toronto and Montreal, and by extension its two major linguistic groups, anglophones and francophones.
Southeast Division 
Battle of the Sunshine State: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers 
The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are both teams located within the state of Florida along Interstate 75, representing different geographical areas within the state. The two teams have played in the same division since 1993 (Atlantic Division from 1993–98 and Southeast Division since 1999). Despite the Lightning outperforming the Panthers in many ways, including winning the Stanley Cup, the Panthers hold a dominating series record of 55-28-10-7, the best record the Panthers have against any team in the NHL. These two teams have never faced each other in the playoffs.
New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins 
This is an original six rivialry dating back to the late 30's. These team met ten times in the playoffs and all New York and Boston teams have a fierce rivalry
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals 
The Pittsburgh Penguins–Washington Capitals rivalry is an inter-division rivalry. In total, the two teams have met eight times in the playoffs. Despite trailing in 7 of the 8 series, Pittsburgh has won all but the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals where they were heavily favored. The teams first met in the 1991 Patrick Division Finals, when the Penguins defeated the Capitals in 5 en route to capturing the Stanley Cup. The rivalry was intense during the early 2000s when the Penguins beat the Capitals in the first round in consecutive seasons (1999–00, 2000–01). More recently, with the drafting and emergence of Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in Washington, and Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, the rivalry has heated up again, with controversial comments that Alexander Semin made about Crosby in the media and physical altercations taking place between Ovechkin and Malkin during games. One of the best series to date between the teams was the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which the Capitals took a 2-0 series lead before letting it go once again to be downed in 7 games, ending with a 6-2 Game 7 loss at Verizon Center. The two teams faced off at the 2011 NHL Winter Classic hosted in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field, with the Capitals emerging victorious 3-1.
The rivalry will become an intradivisional rivalry starting in the 2013-14 season, when the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins will be realigned into the same division as six other teams.
Western Conference 
There are significantly fewer major rivalries in the NHL's Western Conference, due to that conference being much younger (the conference as a whole was created in 1967, and only two of the conference's teams–Chicago and Detroit–predate the conference's creation) and its teams generally are, geographically speaking, spread much farther apart than those on the East Coast.
Central Division 
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings 
The Blackhawks–Red Wings rivalry is the most intense in the Central Division. It has existed since 1926–27 and continued from the Original Six days into the present. These two clubs have faced each other in more regular season games than any other two clubs in NHL history, except for the total number of regular season and playoff matches between the Bruins and Canadiens. The rivalry will become an interconference rivalry beginning in the 2013-14 season, as the Detroit Red Wings will move to the Eastern Conference.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues 
The Blues–Blackhawks rivalry features the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. Since 1970, the two teams have been in the same division together. It is the most intense rivalry in terms of penalty minutes and fighting. At the height of the rivalry throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, it was common to go to a Chicago vs. St. Louis game and see a brawl break out. The rivalry cooled somewhat in the 2000s, but is likely to heat back up in the 2010s, especially if both teams remain good, and if the NHL implements its potential radical realignment plan. This plan could potentially mean a return to the division playoffs setup of the 1980s and 1990s which also is considered the height of the Blackhawks-Blues rivalry.
Northwest Division 
Battle of Alberta: Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers 
The Battle of Alberta is the bitter rivalry between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. The two teams are based in the cities of Edmonton, the provincial capital of Alberta and Calgary, the province's largest city. Most often it is used to describe sporting events between the two cities, although this is not exclusive as the rivalry predates organized sports in Alberta.
Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks 
The rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames has its roots in the stark geographic, political, and economic differences between Vancouver and Calgary, the two largest cities in Western Canada. The two cities are separated by the barrier of the Rocky Mountains, with Vancouver surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the peaks of the Coast Mountains, and forests and Calgary sitting on an expanse of flat prairie. The Rockies serve as not only a geographical barrier but a political one as well: Vancouver is a haven for the political left in Canada, strongly supportive of both the Liberal and New Democratic political parties, while Calgary has been a bastion of right-wing politics since the province of Alberta's creation and is a stronghold for the Conservative Party.
Prior to the turn of the millennium, the Canucks and Flames faced each other during the first round of postseason play in 1982, which was the first playoff series victory by the Canucks, en route to the Finals, 1983, 1984, during the Flames championship season of 1989, and 1994, with Calgary holding a 3-2 margin. The latter two series were decided in 7 games by overtime goals (Joel Otto for Calgary and Pavel Bure for Vancouver) and coincidentally both managed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals during those seasons (with Calgary winning the cup in 1989).
In the early and mid-90s, the rivalry was considered among the most intense in the NHL, with the two teams often battling for top spot in the Smythe and later Pacific Division. However, it started to fade soon afterward as both teams started to sink in the standings in the late 1990s.
It was during the 2003–04 season when the rivalry re-ignited, with the Canucks and Flames constantly battling for the top spot in the Northwest Division along with the Colorado Avalanche. When Canucks captain Markus Naslund and Flames captain Jarome Iginla developed into two of that era's greatest players, the rivalry became one of which team had the better overall leader. Between the beginning of the century and Naslund's departure from the Canucks in 2008, the spotlight would often be featured on both he and Iginla whenever the teams matched up. During the 2001–02 season, the two found themselves competing for the Art Ross Trophy for the league's highest point scorer. The following year, both players were featured in a Nike commercial promoting the rivalry between them.
These two teams met again during the first round of the 2004 postseason, and, just like in 1989 and 1994, the series-winning goal was scored in overtime in game seven, this time by Calgary's Martin Gélinas (who incidentally was a member of the 1994 Canucks team that reached the Stanley Cup Finals). The Flames advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first Canadian team to reach that far since the 1994 Canucks. However, unlike 1989, but alike Vancouver in 1994, they were defeated by the Lighting and New York Rangers respectively in 7 games.
The subsequent trade by Vancouver for netminder Roberto Luongo in June 2006 gave the Canucks a capable opponent to Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, who has already established himself as one of the top goalies in the NHL. Players from both teams bring out their best when they play against each other, resulting in games of high entertainment value. In addition to the duel between Luongo and Kiprusoff, matchups between former Vancouver defenceman Willie Mitchell and Flames captain Jarome Iginla were also noteworthy.
|Year||Where they met in playoffs||Result of series||Result of playoffs|
|1982||Smythe Division Semifinals||Van 3, Cal 0||Vancouver swept by the Islanders in Cup Finals|
|1983||Smythe Division Semifinals||Cal 3, Van 1||Calgary beaten by the Oilers in the Smythe Final in 5 games.|
|1984||Smythe Division Semifinals||Cal 3, Van 1||Calgary beaten by the Oilers in the Smythe Final in 7 games.|
|1989||Smythe Division Semifinals||Cal 4, Van 3||Calgary wins Cup.|
|1994||Western Conference Quarterfinals||Van 4, Cal 3||Vancouver loses to the Rangers in Cup Finals, which like the series against Calgary, went 7 games.|
|2004||Western Conference Quarterfinals||Cal 4, Van 3||Calgary loses to Tampa Bay in Cup Finals, which like the series against Vancouver, went 7 games.|
Pacific Division 
Freeway Face-Off: Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings 
The term Freeway Face-Off refers to a series of games played between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. The series takes its name from the massive freeway system in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, the home of both teams; one could travel from one team's arena to the other simply by traveling along Interstate 5. The term is akin to the Freeway Series which refers to meetings between the Los Angeles area baseball teams.
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings 
The rivalry between the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area NHL teams began as a result of the 1967 NHL Expansion, which established both the Los Angeles Kings and the California Golden Seals. At the time, the Kings and Seals were the only two NHL teams located west of the Mississippi River (the St. Louis Blues were located on that river), and thus were created for each other to both reduce the amount of travel each team would need to do and to gain a foothold on the West Coast, previously the province of the borderline-major Western Hockey League, of which the Seals had previously been a member. The Seals were a historically unsuccessful team and left the Bay Area in 1976; the team ceased to exist when it merged with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978.
The Kings–Sharks rivalry started in 1991, when the San Jose Sharks were spun off from the North Stars and effectively reborn under the Seals' previous ownership. This rivalry really kicked things off, with defeating the Wayne Gretzky era Los Angeles Kings 4-0 on April 28, 1995 destroyed any hope of a Kings' Campbell championship repeat. The Kings didn't get a definitive win over the Sharks until the 2002–03 season, when the Kings' victory on February 17, 2003 at the Staples Center ended the Sharks hope of making the playoffs. The Kings and Sharks met again in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs . This was the first time that all 3 California NHL Teams made the playoffs. The Sharks were the 2nd seed and the Kings were the 7th seed. The Sharks would eliminate Los Angeles in 6 games with Joe Thornton scoring the OT goal that eliminated the Kings. In the 2011–12 NHL season, the teams competed for the last 2 seeds in the west with the Sharks ultimately securing the 7th seed while LA went into the 8th seed. San Jose would be eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the first round while LA would steamroll their way to their first Stanley Cup in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. The two teams will face each other again at the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks 
The Ducks–Sharks rivalry has been going since 1993 when the Ducks came into existence. The rivalry got even more heated when the two faced each other in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Ducks won the series 4-2. In a 2012 Geico advertisement featuring NHL rivalries, a Sharks fan and his dog and a Ducks fan and her dog are shown.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks 
The rivalry has become more heated in recent years, given three straight years of playoffs series between these teams. The first seeds of the rivalry began with the re-alignment of the NHL in 1974, placing both teams in the newly-formed Smythe Division. For two years, they battled each other for top spot and in 1977, they went down to the wire for the last playoff spot, which Chicago won on a tiebreaker by virtue of having more wins at season's end.
The two teams met in the playoffs for the first time in the 1982 Campbell Conference Finals, which is best remembered for a mock surrender by then-Canucks coach Roger Neilson over what he deemed questionable officiating in Game 2, which began the Towel Power tradition in Vancouver and elsewhere in the NHL. Vancouver prevailed in the series four games to one, but only to lose to the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals 4–0.
Although the Blackhawks swept the Canucks in the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals, it was not until the 2008–09 season where the rivalry was once again renewed. This was highlighted by the Canucks' Ryan Kesler accusing then-Blackhawk winger Andrew Ladd of being a "coward" after an on-ice hit. With Chicago eliminating Vancouver in the second round of the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 (and won the Stanley Cup in the later season), the teams met for the third straight year in the first round of the 2011 playoffs where the Canucks finally defeated Chicago 4–3. In this series, the Canucks took a 3–0 series lead, but after a hit by Canucks forward Raffi Torres on Hawks defenceman Brent Seabrook in Game 3 (which brought Hawks captain Jonathan Toews to say, "It's just concrete evidence of how much we dislike that team, and it's added motivation to our situation"), only to lose the next 3 games. In Game 7, the Blackhawks tied it in the final minutes shorthanded, sending the game to overtime. In overtime, Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows intercepted a clearing attempt by Blackhawks defenceman Chris Campoli and scored on a slapshot to win the series for the Canucks, en route to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The rivalry took onto new heights before the 2011–12 NHL season began, with the Blackhawks' Dan Carcillo calling out the Canucks' Maxim Lapierre at a press conference upon his signing in Chicago. This would be followed by a comment by the Blackhawks' Dave Bolland on Chicago radio, referring to Daniel and Henrik Sedin as the Sedin "Sisters", which prompted Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault to fire back by suggesting that Bolland has an "IQ the size of bird seed and a face only a mother can love." Bolland later recanted his comments. The teams' mutual hatred took a wrong turn after Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith was suspended 5 games after elbowing Daniel Sedin in the head at the United Center in Chicago on March 21, 2012. The following season, Canucks forward Jannik Hansen was suspended for one game following a game between the two teams on February 20, 2013, when Marián Hossa of the Blackhawks was hit in the back of the head by the forearm of Hansen and had to be helped off the ice. Alain Vigneault stated Hossa was unintentionally hit, as Hansen was reaching for a high puck, while Jonathan Toews believed "it's pretty evident that he wasn't reaching for the puck or anything."
Battle of Quebec: Montreal Canadiens vs. Quebec Nordiques 
The Battle of Quebec is the nickname for a former NHL rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques. The rivalry lasted from 1979–80–1994–95. The teams played against each other five times in the NHL playoffs, and the Canadiens won three of the series. One meeting, in 1984, resulted in the Good Friday Massacre, a game in which multiple brawls happened. The Battle of Quebec extended to politics, in which the Canadiens and Nordiques became symbols for rival parties, and beer distribution, as the teams were both owned by competing breweries.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 
While the Toronto-Montreal rivalry is one of the most famous in sport, the rivalry with the Red Wings was no less intense. This rivalry dates to the 1920s. As of 1997, they had had twenty-three playoff meetings, five in the finals. So fierce was the rivalry that when the Rangers reached the finals against Detroit in 1950, but could not play in their home rink, Madison Square Garden, because the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were in town, they arranged to play home games in Toronto, whose fans hated the Wings. The rivalry heightened to a fever pitch due to an incident in the 1950 playoffs when Detroit's young star, Gordie Howe, mistimed a check on Toronto's Ted Kennedy and fell head-first into the boards, suffering severe injuries and needed emergency surgery to save his life. While Kennedy was exonerated by the NHL, Detroit management and fans accused him of deliberately injuring Howe. The result was a violent playoff series and increased animosity between the teams. The teams' proximity to each other — Toronto and Detroit are approximately 380 kilometres (240 mi) apart — and a number of shared fans (particularly in markets such as Windsor, Ontario) added to the rivalry. After the Leafs moved to the Eastern Conference in 1998, they faced each other less often, and the rivalry was more often found in the stands than on the ice.
The rivalry will become an intradivisional rivalry for the first time in fifteen seasons in the 2013-14 season when the Red Wings move into the Eastern Conference, sharing their division with the Maple Leafs. The 2014 NHL Winter Classic will be played between the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on January 1, 2014.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings 
The Kings–Oilers rivalry began more or less the instant the Oilers began playing in the NHL in the 1979 season. Among the first year Oilers' players was a young Wayne Gretzky, who instantly challenged for the Art Ross Trophy against the Kings' Marcel Dionne. In the end, Gretzky and Dionne were tied with 137 points, but the award was given to Dionne, who had two more goals (53 vs. Gretzky's 51). It should be noted that Gretzky played 79 games to Dionne's 80. Gretzky remarked during a press conference at which the scoring title was awarded to Dionne that he had been taught "that an assist was good as a goal."
The two teams would not meet in the playoffs until the 1981–82 season. That season, Gretzky shattered the NHL record for points in a season with 212 (92 goals and 120 assists). The Oilers also jumped to the top of their division despite playing in their third NHL season and had the third best record in the league. The Kings, after a fairly impressive 1980–81 season, slumped to having the fifth worst record in the 21 team NHL. They only made the playoffs, being fourth in the same division as the Oilers, because the Colorado Rockies had an even worse record in their last season there. This set the stage for the top-seeded, heavily-favored Oilers to meet in the first round against the Kings. After a two-game split in Edmonton, Game 3 in Los Angeles began with a commanding Oilers 5–0 lead after two periods. But in a miraculous comeback, the Kings managed to tie it at 5 in the third period, scoring the tying goal with 5 seconds left on a two-man advantage. The Kings won 6–5 in overtime. This game is often referred to as the Miracle on Manchester. The Oilers struck back in Game 4 to send it back to Edmonton for Game 5. However, Game 5 was no contest, which saw the Kings jump to a 2-0 lead and went on to win the game 7-4 in front of a shocked Edmonton crowd.
For the next two seasons, the Kings missed the playoffs, while the Oilers learned from their mistakes and competed in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1983 and won their first Stanley Cup in 1984. Both finals were played against the Islanders. The teams finally met again in 1985, but this time the Oilers swept the Kings in three games, two of which went to overtime. The Oilers would go on to win their second straight Stanley Cup. They met again in 1987 under a new best-of-7 playoff format for the first round. With the departure of aging superstar Marcel Dionne and the emergence of Luc Robitaille, Steve Duchesne, and Jimmy Carson as emerging stars for the Kings, Los Angeles would surprise the Oilers with a game 1 victory in Edmonton, but momentum for the Kings would be short lived as the Oilers responded with a 13-3 win for game 2, followed by three high scoring games where the Oilers would score just three goals more than the Kings over their three wins to clinch the series 4-1; and just like their 1985 meeting, once again the Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup. In 1988, the Kings continued to be blown out of the first round, but this time by the Calgary Flames, while Gretzky led the Oilers to another Stanley Cup.
The entire sports world was shocked on August 9, 1988 upon the announcement of the Oilers trading Gretzky along with Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley, to the Kings for two rising young players (Jimmy Carson and Martin Gélinas), three first-round draft picks, and $15 million.
Gretzky led the Kings in the 1988–89 season to vast improvements. For the first time, the Kings had a better season record than Edmonton, finishing second in the Smythe Division over the third place Oilers. This also led to another first round match up between them. This time, it was the Kings, with Gretzky, against the Oilers, with the Kings having home ice advantage for the first time in a playoff series for them since 1981. In their 1989 playoff meeting, the Oilers first took command of the series and jumped ahead 3–1. But Los Angeles answered back with 3 straight wins to win the series against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The Kings had nothing left for the next series and would be swept out of the first round by the eventual 1989 Stanley Cup Champions the Calgary Flames. The 1989-90 season saw the Oilers regroup and finish second in the Smythe Division while the Kings finished fourth, and thus had face the defending champion Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs. Once again the Kings would pull off a major upset in the first round only to be swept by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Oilers, who were seeking revenge for the previous year. In the 1990-91 season, the Kings finished first in their division for the first time in their history, and were heavy favorites as Stanley Cup contenders. However, they struggled in the playoffs, defeating the lowly Canucks in six games in the first round, but once again losing in six games to the Oilers in the second round in a series that saw four games go into overtime, two in double overtime. The 1991-92 NHL season saw the Kings again finish above the Oilers in the Smythe Division, only to stumble in the first round and see the Oilers once again eliminate the Kings out of the playoffs in six games.
After the 1990–91 season, the rivalry died down as players from the Oilers moved to other teams. Jari Kurri and Charlie Huddy rejoined Gretzky on the Kings and went on a run to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Canadiens 4–1. Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Adam Graves, Craig MacTavish, and others moved to the Rangers and go on a Stanley Cup winning run in 1994, which was the last hurrah for the great Edmonton team of the 1980s. In that series, Messier became the first to captain two teams to the Stanley Cup, something Gretzky couldn't do with the Kings the year before. The Kings afterwards faced hard times, winning only one playoff series between 1993 and 2012, and would not win the Stanley Cup until 2012.
The rivalry will become an intradivisional rivalry in the 2013-14 season, when the Oilers move into the same division as the Kings and five other teams.
Battle of New England: Boston Bruins vs. Hartford Whalers 
The rivalry was first started before the two teams ever met on the ice when the Bruins "blocked" the WHA merger in 1979 because "the Whalers were in their territory". They first played each other in the 1979-80 season with the Bruins flourishing against the season while the "expansion" Whalers were awful that year. They played the Bruins twice in the playoffs in 1990 and 1991, the Bruins won both times. The rivalry got to a heating point when Cam Neely and Ulf Samuelsson would fight on a regular occasion. It got to a point where Samuelsson hit Neely in the knees in the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Samuelsson was traded to the Penguins earlier that season. At the Hartford Civic Center, usually when the Bruins won, the Whalers fans would fight Bruins fans on Ann St in Downtown Hartford. The rivalry ended in 1997 when the Whalers relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Detroit Red Wings 
The groundwork for the Avalanche–Red Wings rivalry was laid well before Denver even had an NHL franchise, during games between Detroit and Quebec. Once the Nordiques moved to Denver, the small rivalry still existed. Also, in a regular season game between Detroit and Montreal, the Wings scored on Patrick Roy 9 times, leading to Roy demanding a trade. Roy was eventually traded to Colorado and became a huge factor in the rivalry.
The rivalry was largely predicated on the competitiveness of both teams in the late '90s and early 2000s. From 1996–2002, the teams met in five playoff series, three times in the Western Conference Finals. Out of those seven seasons, the teams combined to win five Stanley Cups and four Presidents' Trophies. From 1995–2003, both teams, along with the Devils, reigned exclusively as Stanley Cup champions, except in 1999, which was won by the Dallas Stars (the Devils beat the Red Wings in 1995, the Avalanche beat the Devils in 2001).
New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals 
The Islanders and Capitals were rivals through the 1980s, dating back to their days in the Patrick Division. In 1983, the two teams met in the playoffs for the first time ever. The Islanders were the three time defending Stanley Cup champions while the Capitals were in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Islanders won the series three games to one on their way to their fourth straight Stanley Cup. The next year, the two teams met again, this time they were evenly matched as the Capitals finished second in the division with 101 points, three points back of the first place Islanders. The Islanders were nearly eliminated in the opening round by their crosstown rivals, the New York Rangers, before Ken Morrow scored the overtime winner in the fifth and deciding game. Meanwhile, the Capitals had a much easier first round as they swept the Philadelphia Flyers in three straight games. Washington won the opener by a score of 3-2, but the Islanders would win the next four games to take the series in five on their way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Edmonton Oilers in five games. In 1985, the Capitals won the first two games of the series before the Islanders came back to win the next three in a row to take the series in five games. In 1986, the Capitals would finally be victorious over the Islanders in the playoffs. The Caps had their best regular season in franchise history (until 2010) when they won 50 games and recorded 107 points. In the opening round, they swept the Isles in three straight games for their first ever playoff series win over the Islanders. In 1987, the teams had one of the most memorable playoff series in NHL history. The Capitals won game one by a score of 4-3, before the Islanders won the next game 3-1 to tie the series at one win each. When the series shifted to New York, the Capitals took control winning the next two games by scores of 2-0 and 4-1 to take a three games to one series lead. Luckily for the Islanders, the opening round of the playoffs was expanded to a best of seven. The Isles won game 5 in Washington by a score of 4-2 and game 6 at home 5-4, sending the series back to the Capital Centre for the seventh and deciding game. In game 7, the Caps jumped out to a 1-0 lead near the end of the first period on a goal by Mike Gartner. In the second, New York got on the board when Patrick Flatley scored at 11:39 to tie the game at 1. Late in the period, Grant Martin scored to give the Caps a 2-1 lead after two periods of play. Then, at 14:37 of the third period, Bryan Trottier scored to tie the game at 2. No one in attendance at the Cap Centre or watching at home on TV knew it yet, but the game had not yet reached it's halfway point. In overtime, the two goaltenders, Kelly Hrudey for New York and Bob Mason for Washington went at it save for save, stopping every scoring chance the other team had. Finally, after three scoreless overtimes, Pat LaFontaine scored the winner at 8:47 of the fourth overtime period, giving the Islanders a 3-2 victory and a 4-3 series win. Six years later in 1993, the teams met once again, the Capitals finished second in the division with 93 points, six points ahead of the Islanders. Washington won the opener by a score of 3-1, before the Islanders won the next three games, all in overtime, including a pair in double OT to take a 3-1 series lead. Washington won game five to stave off elimination, but in game six, the Islanders won 5-3 to take the series in six. But, the win came at a price as Pierre Turgeon suffered a shoulder injury of a vicious check by Washington's Dale Hunter after scoring a goal to put the game and series out of reach. As a result, Hunter was suspended for the first 21 games of the 1993-94 season.
The rivalry will become an intradivisional rivalry in the 2013-14 season when the Islanders and the Capitals are realigned into the same division.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks 
The Red Wings defeated the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in their first game ever (7-2 at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, 1993), and frequent playoff matches between the two teams created much animosity between the fanbases. Detroit swept Anaheim in the franchise's first two series (the Western Conference Semifinals in 1997, where the Red Wings went on to win the Cup, and the first round in 1999), and the Ducks afterwards beat the Red Wings en route to two Stanley Cup Finals - the first round in 2003, and the 2007 Western Finals, where the Ducks later became league champions. The next time both teams faced each was a violent seven game series in the Western Semifinals 2009, won by the Red Wings. In the last season before the realignment that will separate the franchises by sending Detroit to the East in 2013-14, the teams had their last encounter in the playoffs, where the 2-seed Ducks still got defeated by the Red Wings in seven games.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Edmonton Oilers 
The Oilers and Jets both started their existence in the World Hockey Association in 1972. There, the Jets dominated the Oilers winning the Avco Cup three times, while the Oilers were not playoff contenders. But, when they joined the NHL in 1979 (along with the Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers), the tables were turned, thanks to a 18 year old from Brantford, Ontario named Wayne Gretzky. From 1983 to 1989, the Oilers and Jets met in the playoffs five times, the Oilers won every one of the them, losing only one game out of the 19 games played between the two on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988; with the Oilers winning the Stanley Cup in the latter four years. But, when Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, the Jets thought they got the upper hand on Edmonton. When they met in the first round of the 1990 playoffs, the Jets took a commanding 3 games to 1 series lead, But, the Oilers fought back to take the next three games and the series in seven. This served as a wake up call to Edmonton, they would lose just three more games the rest of the way en route to their fifth Stanley Cup championship in seven years, and their first without Gretzky. While the rivalry ended in 1996 when the Jets left Winnipeg to became the Phoenix Coyotes, in 2011 another Winnipeg Jets team begun play with the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers, and the hostile atmosphere during their only confrontation in the 2011-12 season - a 5-3 victory by the Oilers at Winnipeg's MTS Centre - was considered a renewal.
See also 
- Inline citations
- Howe, Barbara J.; Fleming, Dolores A.; Kemp, Emory L. (1997). Houses and homes: exploring their history. Rowman Altamira. p. 102. ISBN 0-7619-8929-3.
- "Philadelphia Flyers Head-to-Head Results". Hockey-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
- "It's Philly vs. the Burgh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 11, 2008. p. B1.
- Mandel, Ken (April 18, 2008). "Wagner downplays Mets–Phils rivalry". MLB.com. Mets.MLB.com. Retrieved June 4, 2012. "Philadelphia fans hate New York fans and New York fans [hate Philadelphia fans]...Eagles fans and Giants fans don't get along, and Flyers supporters haven't been known to break bread with those wearing Rangers jerseys."
- Waldstein, David (April 4, 2004). "Mets Can't Even Pick a Good Fight". The Star-Ledger. p. Sports.9. "You've got the proximity, a natural rivalry between the cities, and there are fans of both clubs in Jersey."
- Mucha, Peter (January 5, 2001). "A City's Hopes Fly High on the Wings of Eagles". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. A1. "New York teams—the Mets, Rangers, Giants and Knicks—rank among Philadelphia's most loathed rivals."
- Kimelman, Adam (March 4, 2011). "Garden memories special for van Riemsdyk". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- Zinser, Lynn (December 13, 2008). "Rangers Dig Themselves a Hole, and Devils Push Them In". New York Times. p. D5.
- MacGregor, Roy (April 12, 2011). "Montreal v. Boston 'one of the greatest rivalries in sports'". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). p. S1. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- Dodd, Mike (October 12, 2004). "Here they go again...; Red Sox vs. Yankees: Bitter enemies clash with Series on line". USA Today. p. C1. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- "Boston Bruins—Canadiens rivalry". Canadiens.com. NHL.com. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- Whitmer, Michael (April 17, 2009). "It's just like old times for the fans". Boston Globe. p. C6.
- "Montreal Canadiens Head-to-Head Results". hockey-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
- Kreiser, John (April 15, 2011). "Canadiens, Bruins are NHL's longest playoff rivalry". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
- Associated Press (April 27, 2011). "Game 7s are old hat for Bruins, Canadiens". CBC Sports (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved April 27, 2011.
- Bonanno, Rocky (December 6, 2008). "Blackhawks-Red Wings has been building since 1926". NHL.com. National Hockey League. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
- Browning, William (October 13, 2010). "First person fan smack talk: Chicago Blackhawks no comparison to St. Louis Blues". Yahoo!. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- Johnson, George (October 14, 2005). "Bile back in Battle of Alberta". ESPN.com.
- "1982 NHL Playoffs Summary". Hockey-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- United Press International (April 11, 1982). "Canucks Win, 3-1; Flames Eliminated". The New York Times. p. A9.
- Canadian Press (April 12, 1982). "Canuck goalie just too much for Calgarians". The Globe and Mail. p. S3. "This is the first playoff success in the Canucks' 11-year history."
- Houston, William (May 7, 1982). "It's Canucks against Islanders". The Globe and Mail. p. S1.
- Associated Press (May 7, 1982). "Canucks Advance, 6-2; Finals Start Saturday". The New York Times. p. A20.
- "1983 NHL Playoffs Summary". Hockey-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "1984 NHL Playoffs Summary". Hockey-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- Duhatschek, Eric (April 16, 1989). "Goalie exorcises finals phantoms". Calgary Herald. p. F1.
- Kuzma, Ben (April 16, 1989). "Phew...they made it!". Calgary Herald. p. A1.
- Stewart, Monte (April 16, 1989). "Otto saves best for OT". Calgary Herald. p. F2.
- Canadian Press (May 1, 1994). "Canucks conquer Falmes in OT". Toronto Star. p. B5.
- Jamieson, Jim (May 1, 1994). "YEEEE-HAH!: Pavel buries Flames in double overtime". Vancouver Province. p. A72.
- Nike Commercial - Iginla and Naslund on YouTube
- Duhatschek, Eric (May 26, 1989). "Stanley Cup: Ours at last". Calgary Herald. p. A1.
- Yoon, Peter (December 14, 2007). "No controversy, just champions". Los Angeles Times. p. D3. "Now that we have the Freeway Faceoff between the Kings and Ducks to go along with the Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels, we need a name for this. It might be difficult to incorporate 'freeway' into it, though, since they share the same building. Maybe we could call it the 'We took the same freeway as you did to get here tipoff.' Or, 'The showdown at the intersection of the 10 and 110 freeways.'"
- Sharks gear up for California rivalry with Kings, Fox News
- San Jose Sharks' 5 Biggest Rivals in the NHL
- Cole, p. 107
- "Kesler: Ladd's 'a coward'". Web Staff. Rogers Sportsnet. January 24, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
- "Toews: Blackhawks will be motivated in Game 4". The Sporting News. April 19, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- Wharnsby, Tim (April 27, 2011). "Burrows, Canucks win Game 7 in OT". CBC Sports (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved April 27, 2011.
- Dan Carcillo Press Conference - August 8th 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Jahns, Adam L. (December 14, 2011). "Blackhawks' Bolland calls Sedin brothers 'sisters'". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
- "Blackhawks' Bolland recants comments about Sedins, Canucks". TSN.ca. The Sports Network. December 15, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
- "Canucks' Hansen suspended one game for hit on Hossa". TSN. February 20, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- Miles, Bruce (February 20, 2013). "Canucks’ Hansen suspended one game for hit on Hossa". Daily Herald. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- "The Battle of Quebec". montrealcanadiens.com. NHL.com. April 2, 2010.
- "1988 NHL Playoffs Summary". Hockey-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- Crowe, Jerry (April 13, 1988). "Calgary Is Last Stop for Kings". Los Angeles Times. p. Sports.3.
- Loewen, Gary (May 27, 1988). "Oilers sweep Bruins to win Stanley Cup". The Globe and Mail. p. A1.
- Strachan, Al (August 10, 1988). "Gretzky goes to L.A.". The Globe and Mail. p. A1.
- Cole, p. 128
- Ducks ready to ruffle feathers with Detroit Red Wings in NHL postseason ... again, Daily Bulletin
- Kulfan, Ted. "Ducks, Wings: A new rivalry? (April 29, 2009), The Detroit News
- Detroit Red Wings: 10 Most Vicious Rivals in the NHL
- Red Wings vs Ducks: The Rivalry
- Anaheim Calling's Hate Week: LA? San Jose? Whatever... I HATE DETROIT!
- Rivalry renewed, Oilers trump Jets, The Globe and Mail
- Our Tormentors Return, Winnipeg Free Press
- Cole, Stephen (2004). The Best of Hockey Night in Canada. Toronto: McArthur & Company. ISBN 1-55278-408-8.