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.
The first game of the Finals was held on June 1, 2011 while the deciding seventh game was held on June 15, 2011.
The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games in the Finals to capture their first Stanley Cup championship since 1972.
- Washington Capitals, Southeast Division and Eastern Conference regular season champions: 107 points
- Philadelphia Flyers, Atlantic Division champions: 106 points (44 regulation + overtime wins)
- Boston Bruins, Northeast Division champions: 103 points
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 106 points (39 regulation + overtime wins)
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 103 points
- Montreal Canadiens: 96 points (44 wins)
- Buffalo Sabres: 96 points (43 wins)
- New York Rangers: 93 points
- Vancouver Canucks, Northwest Division and Western Conference regular season champions; Presidents' Trophy winners: 117 points
- San Jose Sharks: Pacific Division champions, 105 points
- Detroit Red Wings: Central Division champions, 104 points
- Anaheim Ducks: 99 points (47 wins)
- Nashville Predators: 99 points (44 wins)
- Phoenix Coyotes: 99 points (43 wins)
- Los Angeles Kings: 98 points
- Chicago Blackhawks: 97 points
With 95 points, the Dallas Stars tied a record set by the 2006–07 Colorado Avalanche for the team with the highest season point total that failed to make the playoffs.
(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) New York Rangers
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 although the Rangers were only able to score eight goals in this series, losing it in five games.
Washington won the series 4-1.
(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres
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 the series 4-3.
(3) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Montreal Canadiens
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 profession 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.
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. The February 9th game in which Boston won 8–6 featured six fights, a goalie fight and a total of 187 penalty minutes.
The NHL did not suspend Chara for the hit, however the Montreal police opened a criminal investigation into the incident.
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.
On April 10, 2011, the scheduled date of the French-language Canadian federal election debate between party leaders was changed from April 14th to April 13th so it would not conflict with game one of the series.
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, 2011.
Boston won the series 4-3.
(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning
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.
To start the series, Penguins goaltender Marc-André 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 the series 4-3.
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Chicago Blackhawks
The Vancouver Canucks entered the playoffs as the Western Conference regular season champions and Presidents' Trophy winners, earning 117 points.
The Chicago Blackhawks 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. 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, 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 the series 4-3.
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Los Angeles Kings
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.
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 the series 4-2.
(3) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Phoenix Coyotes
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.
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 the series 4-0.
(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Nashville Predators
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.
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.
Nashville won the series 4-2.
(1) Washington Capitals vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning
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 the series 4-0.
(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (3) Boston Bruins
(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (3) Boston Bruins 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 won the first three games of the 2010 series.
However, Philadelphia rallied to win the final four games, and became the third team in NHL history to win a series by coming back from a 3–0 series deficit.
In the 2011 series, Philadelphia was not able to repeat that feat, as Boston swept Philadelphia out of the playoffs to move to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1992.
This series featured some goaltending trouble for Philadelphia because Boston outscored Philadelphia 20–7 in four games.
Brian Boucher started the first three games, but he 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.
Boston won the series 4-0.
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (5) Nashville Predators
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.
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 the series 4-2.
(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (3) Detroit Red Wings
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.
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 the series 4–3.
(3) Boston Bruins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning
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 the series 4–3.
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (2) San Jose Sharks
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.
Vancouver won the series 4–1.
|David Krejci||Boston Bruins||25||12||11||23||+8|
|Henrik Sedin||Vancouver Canucks||25||3||19||22||–11|
|Martin St. Louis||Tampa Bay Lightning||18||10||10||20||–8|
|Daniel Sedin||Vancouver Canucks||25||9||11||20||–9|
|Patrice Bergeron||Boston Bruins||23||6||14||20||+15|
|Brad Marchand||Boston Bruins||25||11||8||19||+12|
|Ryan Kesler||Vancouver Canucks||25||7||12||19||0|
|Vincent Lecavalier||Tampa Bay Lightning||18||6||13||19||+6|
|Alexandre Burrows||Vancouver Canucks||25||9||8||17||0|
|Nathan Horton||Boston Bruins||21||8||9||17||+11|
|Michael Ryder||Boston Bruins||25||8||9||17||+8|
|Player||Team||Games Played||Wins||Losses||Shots Against||Goals Against||Goals Against Average||Save Percentage||Shutouts||Time On Ice (minutes: seconds)|
|Tim Thomas||Boston Bruins||25||16||9||849||51||1.98||.940||4||1,541:53|
|Carey Price||Montreal Canadiens||7||3||4||242||16||2.11||.934||1||455:29|
|Corey Crawford||Chicago Blackhawks||7||3||4||218||16||2.21||.927||1||435:12|
|Michal Neuvirth||Washington Capitals||9||4||5||261||23||2.34||.912||1||589:56|
|Jimmy Howard||Detroit Red Wings||11||7||4||364||28||2.50||.923||0||673:22|