The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 14, 2010, after the 2009–10 NHL regular season and ended on June 9, 2010, with the Chicago Blackhawks defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in six games to win their fourth championship and their first since 1961. Blackhawks center and team captain Jonathan Toews was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player.
This NHL post-season was noted for the unexpected playoff successes of two teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens who were the seventh and eighth seeds in their conference and were tied for points. The Flyers became the third NHL team to win a seven game series after being down 3–0 (the others being the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders). The Flyers went on to play in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, losing to Chicago. Meanwhile, the Canadiens became the first eighth-seeded team in NHL history to win a series against the first-seeded team after being down 3–1 in a series, when they beat the Washington Capitals in the first round. After upsetting the defending Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, the Canadiens became the first eighth-seeded team to compete in the Eastern Conference Finals since the current playoff format was implemented in 1994.
Previously, only the eighth-seeded 2006 Edmonton Oilers had accomplished a similar feat, winning the 2006 Western Conference Finals. As a result of the Canadiens having the eighth seed, the Flyers became the first seventh-seed to have home-ice advantage in the conference finals since the current playoff format was instituted. During the 2010 playoffs, 18 games went to overtime.
After the regular season, the standard of 16 teams qualified for the playoffs. The Washington Capitals were the Eastern Conference regular season champions and the Presidents' Trophy winners with the best record at 121 points.
The San Jose Sharks earned first place and the first seed in the Western Conference with 113 points.
- Washington Capitals, Southeast Division champions, Eastern Conference regular season champions, and President's Trophy winners: 121 points
- New Jersey Devils, Atlantic Division champions: 103 points
- Buffalo Sabres, Northeast Division champions: 100 points
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 101 points
- Ottawa Senators: 94 points
- Boston Bruins: 91 points
- Philadelphia Flyers: 88 points (41 wins)
- Montreal Canadiens: 88 points (39 wins)
- San Jose Sharks, Pacific Division champions and Western Conference regular season champions: 113 points
- Chicago Blackhawks, Central Division champions: 112 points
- Vancouver Canucks, Northwest Division champions: 103 points
- Phoenix Coyotes: 107 points
- Detroit Red Wings: 102 points
- Los Angeles Kings: 101 points
- Nashville Predators: 100 points
- Colorado Avalanche: 95 points
(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens
The Washington Capitals entered the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winner, earning the NHL's best regular season record with 121 points.
The Montreal Canadiens qualified for the post-season as the eighth seed with 88 points.
This was the first playoff series between the two franchises and only the second time the Caps faced a Canadian team in the playoffs.
Jose Theodore was facing one of his former clubs. Montreal's difference in the series is the fifth largest point differential (33 points) for a lower-seeded team beating a higher-seeded team in playoff history.
It is also the first time an eight-seeded team has come back against a number one seed after being down 3–1 in the series.
Montreal won the series 4-3.
(2) New Jersey Devils vs. (7) Philadelphia Flyers
The New Jersey Devils entered the playoffs as the second seed in the Eastern Conference after winning the Atlantic Division with 103 points.
The Philadelphia Flyers earned the seventh seed with 88 points, winning the tiebreaker over Montreal on total wins (41 to 39).
The two franchises met in the playoffs for the first time since the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2004, having previously met in the 2000 and 1995 Eastern Conference Finals.
Philadelphia won the series 4-1.
(3) Buffalo Sabres vs. (6) Boston Bruins
The Buffalo Sabres entered the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference after winning the Northeast Division with 100 points. The Boston Bruins earned the sixth seed with 91 points.
The last meeting between the two franchises took place in the 1999 Eastern Conference Semifinal, which the Sabres won 4–2.
The turning points in the series were the injury to Thomas Vanek in game two, the Sabres blowing a two goal lead in game four and losing in double overtime, and the waiving of an automatic suspension against Bruins captain Zdeno Chara after game five.
Boston won the series 4-2.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Ottawa Senators
The Pittsburgh Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champions, entered the playoffs as the fourth-overall seed in the Eastern Conference with 101 points.
The Ottawa Senators earned 94 points during the regular season to finish fifth-overall in the Eastern Conference.
This was the third time in four years the Senators met the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, with Ottawa winning the series 4–1 in 2007 and Pittsburgh sweeping the series in 2008 (the Senators did not qualify for the playoffs in 2009).
Pittsburgh won the series 4-2.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (8) Colorado Avalanche
The San Jose Sharks entered the playoffs as the regular season Western Conference champions, with 113 points.
The Colorado Avalanche earned 95 points to clinch the eighth playoff seed in the Western Conference.
The franchises previously faced each other in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2004 in which the Sharks won 4–2. The Avalanche played the first playoffs after the retirement of Joe Sakic.
San Jose won the series 4-2.
(2) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (7) Nashville Predators
The Chicago Blackhawks entered the playoffs as the second-overall seed in the Western Conference, having clinched the Central Division title with 112 points.
The Nashville Predators qualified for the playoffs after missing the playoffs the previous season for the first time in four years, clinching the seventh seed with 100 points. This was the first time these two franchises met each other in the playoffs.
Nashville's Game 1 victory in Chicago was the franchise's first-ever road playoff win.
They had previously lost each of their previous games: three times in 2004 and 2008 against Detroit and twice each in 2006 and 2007, both against San Jose.
Chicago won the series 4-2.
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings
The Vancouver Canucks entered the playoffs as the third overall seed in the Western Conference, having clinched the Northwest Division title with 103 points.
The Los Angeles Kings qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2002, clinching the sixth seed with 101 points.
The two franchises met for the first time since the 1993 Smythe Division Final in which the Kings won 4–2.
Vancouver won the series 4-2.
(4) Phoenix Coyotes vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings
The Phoenix Coyotes qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2002, finishing the regular season with 107 points (the most in franchise history) and entered the playoffs as the fourth-overall seed in the Western Conference.
The Detroit Red Wings, making their 19th straight playoff appearance, earned 102 points during the regular season to finish fifth overall in the Western Conference.
Phoenix and Detroit faced each other in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 1998 playoffs, with the Red Wings defeating Phoenix 4–2.
The franchises also met in the 1996 Western Conference Quarterfinals with the Red Wings defeating the Winnipeg Jets 4–2 after which the Winnipeg franchise moved to Phoenix.
Detroit won the series 4-3.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens
This was the second time that Montreal and Pittsburgh have met in the playoffs. The only previous playoff series between Montreal and Pittsburgh was the 1998 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal in which the Canadiens defeated the Penguins 4–2.
Game seven was the last game ever to be played at Mellon Arena (the Penguins' home rink) since the start of the franchise as the Canadiens dethroned the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins.
Incidentally, the Canadiens were the winners of the first game played against the Penguins at Mellon Arena in 1967. The Penguins moved into the Consol Energy Center starting the next season.
Montreal won the series 4-3.
(6) Boston Bruins vs. (7) Philadelphia Flyers
This was the first time the franchises have met in the playoffs since 1978, when the Bruins defeated the Flyers 4-1 in the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
Boston and Philadelphia had previously met in the Semifinals in 1976 and 1977. The Flyers won the first of those matchups, 4-1, with Boston sweeping in 1977.
Philadelphia and Boston also met in the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals in which Philadelphia won 4–2 to become the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup.
Philadelphia came back from a 3–0 deficit to win the series 4–3, becoming the third NHL team to achieve this feat, and the first since the 1975 New York Islanders.
In the final game of this series, Philadelphia also came back from a 3–0 goal deficit to win game seven by a score of 4–3.
The Bruins lost game seven on a Flyers power-play goal as a result of a too many men penalty.
Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe said that "watching the Bruins blow a series on a too-many-men penalty is like watching the 2010 Red Sox lose a one-game playoff on a homer hit by a guy named Bucky."
The collapse as a result of the penalty brought back memories of the 1979 Stanley Cup semi-finals when they lost to their bitter rivals (and eventual champions), the Montreal Canadiens.
Philadelphia won the series 4-3.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings
The Sharks and the Red Wings last faced off in the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals in which Detroit won 4–2.
There have been two other series between these franchises in the mid-1990s, with each team winning one.
San Jose won the series 4-1.
(2) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (3) Vancouver Canucks
This is the third second-round series between Vancouver and Chicago under the current playoff format.
Vancouver and Chicago competed in the Western Conference Semifinals the previous year with the Blackhawks winning the series 4–2. In 1995, the Blackhawks swept the series.
Chicago won the series 4-2.
(7) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens
This was the first ever conference final contested by the seventh and eighth seeds. The Canadiens and the Flyers both earned 88 points in the regular season, but Philadelphia's greater number of victories gave them the higher seed.
There were five previous meetings between Montreal and Philadelphia, including the 1976 Stanley Cup Finals.
Their last meeting was in the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals which Philadelphia won 4–1.
Philadelphia won the series 4–1.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (2) Chicago Blackhawks
This was the first ever playoff series between the Sharks and the Blackhawks.
There were four games between these two teams during the regular season, with Chicago leading San Jose three games to one. This was the only sweep of the entire playoffs.
Chicago won the series 4–0.
|Daniel Briere||Philadelphia Flyers||23||12||18||30||+9|
|Jonathan Toews||Chicago Blackhawks||22||7||22||29||-1|
|Patrick Kane||Chicago Blackhawks||22||10||18||28||-2|
|Mike Richards||Philadelphia Flyers||23||7||16||23||-1|
|Patrick Sharp||Chicago Blackhawks||22||11||11||22||+10|
|Claude Giroux||Philadelphia Flyers||23||10||11||21||+7|
|Ville Leino||Philadelphia Flyers||19||7||14||21||+10|
|Michael Cammalleri||Montreal Canadiens||19||13||6||19||-6|
|Sidney Crosby||Pittsburgh Penguins||13||6||13||19||+6|
|Johan Franzen||Detroit Red Wings||12||6||12||18||+8|
|Player||Team||Games Played||Wins||Losses||Shots Against||Goals Against||Goals Against Average||Save Percentage||Shutouts||Time on Ice (minutes: seconds)|
|Michael Leighton||Philadelphia Flyers||13||8||3||371||31||2.46||.916||3||757:13|
|Brian Boucher||Philadelphia Flyers||12||6||6||298||27||2.47||.909||1||655:37|
|Jaroslav Halak||Montreal Canadiens||18||9||9||562||43||2.55||.923||0||1,013:24|
|Evgeni Nabokov||San Jose Sharks||15||8||7||407||38||2.56||.907||1||889:51|
|Tuukka Rask||Boston Bruins||13||7||6||409||36||2.61||.912||0||829:03|
|Antti Niemi||Chicago Blackhawks||22||16||6||645||58||2.63||.910||2||1,321:51|
|Jimmy Howard||Detroit Red Wings||12||5||7||387||33||2.75||.915||1||720:26|