2011 Stanley Cup playoffs

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Logo for the 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.[1] The first game of the Finals was held on June 1, while the deciding seventh game was held on June 15.[2]

The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games in the Finals to capture their first Stanley Cup championship since 1972. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during the playoffs. Bruins forward David Krejci lead all playoff scorers with 23 points in 25 games.

Playoff seeds[edit]

After the regular season, the standard 16 teams qualified for the playoffs. The Vancouver Canucks were the Western Conference regular season champions and the Presidents' Trophy winners with the best record in the NHL at 117 points. The Washington Capitals earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference with 107 points. This is the first time in sports history that all California teams have made the playoffs in the same year. It also marked the first year since 1996 that the New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs, ending a 13-year playoff streak.[3][4]

Eastern Conference[edit]

  1. Washington Capitals, Southeast Division champions, Eastern Conference regular season champions – 107 points
  2. Philadelphia Flyers, Atlantic Division champions – 106 points (44 ROWs)
  3. Boston Bruins, Northeast Division champions – 103 points
  4. Pittsburgh Penguins – 106 points (39 ROWs)
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning – 103 points
  6. Montreal Canadiens – 96 points (41 ROWs)
  7. Buffalo Sabres – 96 points (38 ROWs)
  8. New York Rangers – 93 points

Western Conference[edit]

  1. Vancouver Canucks, Northwest Division champions, Western Conference regular season champions, Presidents' Trophy winners – 117 points
  2. San Jose Sharks, Pacific Division champions – 105 points
  3. Detroit Red Wings, Central Division champions – 104 points
  4. Anaheim Ducks – 99 points (43 ROWs)
  5. Nashville Predators – 99 points (38 ROWs, 4 points head-to-head vs. Phoenix, +25 goal differential)
  6. Phoenix Coyotes – 99 points (38 ROWs, 4 points head-to-head vs. Nashville, +5 goal differential)
  7. Los Angeles Kings – 98 points
  8. Chicago Blackhawks – 97 points

Playoff bracket[edit]

In each round, the highest remaining seed in each conference is matched against the lowest remaining seed. The higher-seeded team is awarded home ice advantage. In the Stanley Cup Finals, home ice is determined based on regular season points. Thus, the Vancouver Canucks have home ice advantage in this year's Finals. Each best-of-seven series follows a 2–2–1–1–1 format: the higher-seeded team plays at home for games one and two (and games five and seven, if necessary), and the lower-seeded team is at home for games three and four (and game six, if necessary).

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
1  Washington 4     1  Washington 0  
8  NY Rangers 1     5  Tampa Bay 4  

2  Philadelphia 4 Eastern Conference
7  Buffalo 3  
    5  Tampa Bay 3  
  3  Boston 4  
3  Boston 4  
6  Montreal 3  
4  Pittsburgh 3   2  Philadelphia 0
5  Tampa Bay 4     3  Boston 4  

  E3  Boston 4
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W1  Vancouver 3
1  Vancouver 4     1  Vancouver 4
8  Chicago 3     5  Nashville 2  
2  San Jose 4
7  Los Angeles 2  
  1  Vancouver 4
  2  San Jose 1  
3  Detroit 4  
6  Phoenix 0   Western Conference
4  Anaheim 2   2  San Jose 4
5  Nashville 4     3  Detroit 3  
  • 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.

Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) New York Rangers[edit]

The Washington Capitals entered the playoffs as the Eastern Conference regular season champions, earning 107 points. The New York Rangers qualified for the postseason as the eighth seed with 93 points. This was the sixth playoff series between the two franchises; Washington had won three of the previous five meetings between these teams. The two teams had previously met in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, in which the Capitals defeated the Rangers in seven games. In the regular season series, the Rangers held a 3–1–0 record, winning the last three games by a combined score of 15–1,[5][6] although the Rangers were only able to score eight goals in this series, losing it in five games.

Washington won series 4–1

(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres[edit]

The Philadelphia Flyers entered the playoffs as the second seed in the Eastern Conference after winning the Atlantic Division with 106 points, winning the tiebreaker over the Pittsburgh Penguins on regulation + overtime wins (44 to 39). The Buffalo Sabres earned the seventh seed with 96 points, losing the tiebreaker to Montreal on wins (43 to 44). This was the ninth meeting of these two teams in the postseason; Philadelphia had won five of the eight previous playoff series. Their previous matchup occurred during the 2006 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, which ended with Buffalo defeating Philadelphia in six games.

The series started out with a 1–0 shutout victory for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller in game one, while Philadelphia came back to win games two and three. Miller got another 1–0 shutout victory in game four, to tie the series up 2–2. In game five, Buffalo was up 3–0 at the end of the first period, but Philadelphia scored three goals to send the game to overtime. However, Tyler Ennis of Buffalo would score the overtime winner. In game six, Buffalo looked in good position to win after being up 3–1 after the 1st period, but Philadelphia rallied back, winning the game 5–4 on Ville Leino's overtime winner. In game seven, Philadelphia went up 4–0 about 2 minutes into the third period on a goal by Ville Leino. Due to that, Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller was pulled for the first time in the series, and Philadelphia won the game by a score of 5–2, to win the series four games to three.

Philadelphia won series 4–3

(3) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Montreal Canadiens[edit]

The Boston Bruins entered the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference after winning the Northeast Division with 103 points. The Montreal Canadiens earned the sixth seed with 96 points, winning the tiebreaker over Buffalo on wins (44 to 43). One of the greatest rivalries in North American professional sports, this was the 33rd meeting of these teams in the postseason, which is the most frequent playoff series in NHL history. Montreal had a record of 24–8 against Boston in the 32 previous series played by the franchises, winning 18 straight between 1946 and 1987.[7][8] Boston had only beaten Montreal en route to winning the championship once before, in 1929. The most recent meeting of these teams in the postseason was in 2009, which ended with Boston sweeping Montreal.

During the 2010–11 season, Montreal won four of six meetings.[9] The February 9 game in which Boston won 8–6 featured six fights, a goalie fight, and a total of 187 penalty minutes.[10] The March 8 game, where the Canadiens beat the Bruins 4–1, was marred when the Bruins' Zdeno Chara checked Habs' Max Pacioretty into the glass, and the resulting injury ended Pacioretty’s season.[11] The NHL did not suspend Chara for the hit, however Montreal Police opened a criminal investigation into the incident.[12]

In this series, the Boston Bruins dropped their first two games at home, but came back to hang on to a game three victory in Montreal. In game four, Andrei Kostitsyn gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3–1 lead, which they couldn't take advantage of, falling 5–4 on an overtime goal by former Montreal Canadien Michael Ryder. Game five was sent into double overtime for Nathan Horton to win it 2–1 for Boston, but in game six, Montreal scored twice on 5-on-3 power plays and won it 2–1. Game seven was also forced into overtime, where Nathan Horton again won the game 4–3 and sent the Bruins to the second round of the playoffs. Boston became the first team to win a 7 game post-season series despite being held scoreless on the power play.[13]

On April 10, the scheduled date of the French-language Canadian federal election debate between party leaders was changed from April 14 to April 13 so it would not conflict with game one of the series.[14] Games six and seven were played back-to-back due to a Lady Gaga concert, held on April 25 at the Bell Centre, and the requirement that the first round of the playoffs end by April 27.[15]

Boston won series 4–3

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning[edit]

The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the playoffs as the fourth overall seed in the Eastern Conference with 106 points, losing the tiebreaker for the Atlantic Division title to the Philadelphia Flyers on regulation + overtime wins (39 to 44). The Tampa Bay Lightning earned 103 points during the regular season to finish fifth overall in the Eastern Conference. This was the first playoff series between these two teams.[16]

To start the series, Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury shut out Tampa Bay 3–0 in game one, with the Lightning responding with a 5–1 win in game two. Unfortunately for the Lightning, they dropped games three and four (game four in double overtime), only to answer with a huge 8–2 victory in Pittsburgh, forcing a game six at home that ended 4–2 in favor of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In game seven, Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim scored about five minutes into the second period. The Lightning managed to hold on to that 1–0 lead, advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Tampa Bay won series 4–3

Western Conference Quarterfinals[edit]

(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Chicago Blackhawks[edit]

The Vancouver Canucks entered the playoffs as the Western Conference regular season champions and Presidents' Trophy winners, earning 117 points. The Chicago Blackhawks, defending their 2010 Stanley Cup victory, qualified for the post-season as the eighth seed with 97 points. This was the third straight year that Vancouver has met Chicago in the playoffs. Chicago previously eliminated Vancouver in the second round in both 2009 and 2010; both of those series went to six games.[17] After losing the first three games of the series, Chicago won the next three. This was the seventh time in NHL history that a team forced a seventh game after trailing 3–0 in a playoff series.[18] However, Vancouver won the seventh game in overtime to avoid becoming the fourth team in NHL history to lose a series after taking a 3–0 series lead.

Vancouver won series 4–3

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Los Angeles Kings[edit]

The San Jose Sharks entered the playoffs as the second seed in the Western Conference after winning the Pacific Division with 105 points. The Los Angeles Kings earned the seventh seed with 98 points. This was the first meeting of these teams in the postseason.[19]

The series started out with a bang in game one, with Dany Heatley scoring only 28 seconds into the game. That game was later on won by Joe Pavelski in overtime, but a good response by the Kings in game two gave them a 4-0 shut out victory in San Jose. In game three, San Jose became the fifth team in NHL playoff history to win a game after facing a 4–0 deficit, where Devin Setoguchi of San Jose scored the game-winning goal in overtime, to make the final score 6-5. Still at home, Los Angeles lost game four by a score of 6–3. In game five, at San Jose, Los Angeles would win by a score of 3–1. However, that would not be enough, as Joe Thornton of San Jose scored the game-winning goal in overtime of game six to eliminate Los Angeles from the playoffs, in a 4-2 series win.

San Jose won series 4–2

(3) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Phoenix Coyotes[edit]

The Detroit Red Wings entered the playoffs as the third seed in the Western Conference after winning the Central Division with 104 points. This was Detroit's 20th straight appearance in the postseason. The Phoenix Coyotes earned the sixth seed with 99 points, losing tiebreakers to both the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators. This was a rematch of the previous year's first round series, in which Detroit defeated Phoenix in seven games.[20] The Red Wings had 13 different goal scorers in the series. This was the only sweep in the first round of the playoffs.

Detroit won series 4–0

(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Nashville Predators[edit]

The Anaheim Ducks entered the playoffs as the fourth-overall seed in the Western Conference with 99 points, winning tiebreakers over the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes. The Nashville Predators also earned 99 points during the regular season to finish fifth overall. They lost the tiebreaker to Anaheim by having fewer games won (44 to 47). This was the first playoff series between these two teams.[21] After making the playoffs for the sixth time in 12 seasons, Nashville moved on to the second round for the first time in franchise history.[22]

Nashville won series 4–2

Conference Semifinals[edit]

Eastern Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Washington Capitals vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning[edit]

This was the second playoff series between these two teams. Washington and Tampa Bay previously met in the first round of the 2003 playoffs, where Tampa Bay defeated Washington in six games. In the six-game regular season series between these teams, Washington won four games (including one win in a shootout). In Game 1, Sean Bergenheim, the player with the winning goal in game seven against Pittsburgh, opened the scoring for Tampa Bay, but goals from Alexander Semin and Eric Fehr put Washington up 2–1, only for Tampa Bay to regain the lead and win with Steven Stamkos's late 2nd period power play goal. Late in game two, Tampa Bay was up 2–1, when Alexander Ovechkin received a pass from behind the net to tie the game at two, but in overtime, Tampa Bay forward Vincent Lecavalier put in his second goal of the game to win it for Tampa Bay. Game three was a hard fought game for Washington, after being up 3–2 to start the third period. However, Washington would ultimately lose game three by a score of 4–3. Washington would then lose game four by a score of 5–3, to fall to Tampa Bay in a 4–0 series sweep.

Tampa Bay won series 4–0

(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (3) Boston Bruins[edit]

This was sixth playoff series between these two teams. It was a rematch of the second-round series that was played the previous year, in which Philadelphia defeated Boston in seven games. Boston swept Philadelphia out of the playoffs to move to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1992.[23] This series featured some goaltending trouble for Philadelphia; Boston outscored Philadelphia 20–7 in four games. Brian Boucher started the first three games, but was pulled in all three: he was removed from games one and three due to performance, and he was briefly removed from game two due to injury. In all, Philadelphia started three different goaltenders in the eleven games that they played in the 2011 playoffs; six of those games featured a change of goalie.[24]

Boston won series 4–0

Western Conference Semifinals[edit]

(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (5) Nashville Predators[edit]

This was the first playoff series between these two teams. It was also the first time that the Nashville Predators played in the second round of the playoffs. Vancouver and Nashville had split the four-game regular season series between them. Vancouver won this series in six games to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1994.[25] Each game in this series was decided by just a single goal (with the exception of an empty net goal scored by Vancouver in Game 4).

Vancouver won series 4–2

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (3) Detroit Red Wings[edit]

This was the fifth playoff series between these two teams. This was a rematch of the second-round series that took place the previous year, in which San Jose defeated Detroit in five games. After losing the first three games, Detroit won the next three, to force a seventh game. This was the eighth time this feat had been achieved in NHL history, the third time in the last two seasons, and the second time in the 2011 playoffs. Chicago had accomplished the same feat against Vancouver in the Quarterfinals, ultimately losing that series. Since the New York Islanders twice forced a game seven after being down 3–0 during the 1975 Stanley Cup playoffs, there had been 112 consecutive failed attempts to repeat that feat prior to the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, after which it has happened in three of the seven possible series.[26] San Jose won the seventh game by a score of 3–2 to avoid becoming the fourth team in NHL history to lose a series after taking a 3–0 series lead. It allowed them their second consecutive trip to the Conference Finals. Six of the games were decided by only one goal; the only exception was a 3–1 win for Detroit in game six, in which Darren Helm of Detroit scored an empty net goal.

San Jose won series 4–3

Conference Finals[edit]

Main article: NHL Conference Finals

Eastern Conference Final[edit]

(3) Boston Bruins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning[edit]

This was the first playoff series between these teams. Boston won three of the four games that were played in the regular season. Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin scored a goal and an assist in his first career playoff game in game one. In game two, he tied the NHL record for points by a teenager in a single playoff period with four points, two goals and two assists (held by Trevor Linden). Game seven featured remarkable discipline from both teams, as no penalties were called during the game, the first time this has happened in the playoffs in over twenty years. Boston's Nathan Horton recorded his second game-seven-winning goal in this year's playoffs, as his first was scored against Montreal in round one.

Boston won series 4–3

Western Conference Final[edit]

(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (2) San Jose Sharks[edit]

This was the first playoff series between these teams. Vancouver won three of the four games that were played in the regular season; their only loss to San Jose came in a shootout. Both Vancouver and San Jose played in a series during the 2011 playoffs (Quarterfinals and Semifinals, respectively) where each took a 3–0 series lead, only to see the opposing team win the next three games to force a seventh game. However, both won their respective seventh games to advance to the next round of the playoffs. San Jose, facing elimination in game five, held a 2–1 lead near the end of the game, until Ryan Kesler forced overtime by scoring with only 13.2 seconds left in the third period after a controversial icing call. After a scoreless first overtime, Kevin Bieksa was able to capitalize on an unexpected rebound to score the series-winning goal 10:18 into the second overtime, sending Vancouver to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994. The Canucks had previously won the Western Conference Final on May 24, 1994, 17 years to the day before this year's Conference Final win. Both games went to double overtime.[27]

Vancouver won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals[edit]

As the Presidents' Trophy winners, the Vancouver Canucks earned home ice advantage over the Boston Bruins in the Finals. This was the first playoff series between Vancouver and Boston. Vancouver and Boston met only once in the 2010–11 regular season, on February 26. Boston won that game by a score of 3–1. This was Vancouver's third appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals; in both of their previous appearances, they lost to a team from New York. In 1982, they were swept by the Islanders. In 1994, they lost to the Rangers in seven games. This was Boston's first appearance in the Finals since their five-game loss to the Edmonton Oilers in 1990. Boston last won the Stanley Cup in 1972, when they defeated the New York Rangers in six games.

In a back-and-forth series, the Bruins triumphed in seven games. This series was marked by home team dominance, as the Canucks and Bruins each won their first three games at home. All of Vancouver's wins were close affairs at Rogers Arena: two 1–0 wins in games one and five, and a 3–2 overtime victory in game two. In Boston at the TD Garden, the Bruins buried the Canucks in an avalanche of goals, winning games three, four, and six by scores of 8–1, 4–0, and 5–2 respectively. In the seventh and deciding game, the Bruins defeated the Canucks 4–0 at Rogers Arena.

Boston won series 4–3

Player statistics[edit]


These are the top ten skaters based on points. If the list exceeds ten skaters because of a tie in points, goals take precedence, and all the tied skaters are shown.[28]

Player Team GP G A Pts +/–
Krejci, DavidDavid Krejci Boston Bruins 25 12 11 23 +8
Sedin, HenrikHenrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks 25 3 19 22 –11
St. Louis, MartinMartin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning 18 10 10 20 –8
Sedin, DanielDaniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks 25 9 11 20 –9
Bergeron, PatricePatrice Bergeron Boston Bruins 23 6 14 20 +15
Marchand, BradBrad Marchand Boston Bruins 25 11 8 19 +12
Kesler, RyanRyan Kesler Vancouver Canucks 25 7 12 19 0
Lecavalier, VincentVincent Lecavalier Tampa Bay Lightning 18 6 13 19 +6
Burrows, AlexandreAlexandre Burrows Vancouver Canucks 25 9 8 17 0
Horton, NathanNathan Horton Boston Bruins 21 8 9 17 +11
Ryder, MichaelMichael Ryder Boston Bruins 25 8 9 17 +8
Purcell, TeddyTeddy Purcell Tampa Bay Lighting 18 6 11 17 +4
Thornton, JoeJoe Thornton San Jose Sharks 18 3 14 17 -5

GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus/minus


This is a combined table of the top five goaltenders based on goals against average and the top five goaltenders based on save percentage, with at least 420 minutes played. The table is sorted by GAA, and the criteria for inclusion are bolded.[29]

Thomas, TimTim Thomas Boston Bruins 25 16 9 849 51 1.98 .940 4 1,541:53
Price, CareyCarey Price Montreal Canadiens 7 3 4 242 16 2.11 .934 1 0,455:29 455:29
Crawford, CoreyCorey Crawford Chicago Blackhawks 7 3 4 218 16 2.21 .927 1 0,435:12 435:12
Neuvirth, MichalMichal Neuvirth Washington Capitals 9 4 5 261 23 2.34 .912 1 0,589:56 589:56
Howard, JimmyJimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings 11 7 4 364 28 2.50 .923 0 0,673:22 673:22

GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; SA = Shots against; GA = Goals against; GAA = Goals against average; SV% = Save percentage; SO = Shutouts; TOI = Time on ice (minutes:seconds)


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External links[edit]

Preceded by
2010 Stanley Cup playoffs
Stanley Cup playoffs
Succeeded by
2012 Stanley Cup playoffs