The 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 13, 2016 and ended on June 12, 2016 with the Pittsburgh Penguins defeating the San Jose Sharks four games to two in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals.
For only the second time in league history (after 1970), none of the NHL's Canadian-based teams, seven in total, qualified for the postseason.
The Washington Capitals made the playoffs as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the most points (i.e. best record) during the regular season.
The Detroit Red Wings increased their consecutive post-season appearance streak to 25 seasons, the longest current streak and the third-longest streak in NHL history.
For the fourth time in six years, all three California-based teams made the playoffs in the same season and for only the second time ever, both Florida-based teams made the playoffs in the same season.
In addition, for the second season in a row and only the fifth time since joining the league in 1979, all four former WHA teams (the Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche) missed the playoffs.
For the first time since 2006, and only the third time in league history, all Original Six teams (three in total) who made the playoffs were eliminated in the first round. The New York Islanders won their first post-season series since the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs, ending the second longest post-season win drought in NHL history.
For the seventh consecutive season and eleventh out of thirteen seasons, a team from California was in the Western Conference Final.
For the first time since 2002, no team lost in a four-game sweep in a playoff series.
The following teams qualified for the playoffs:
- Florida Panthers
- New York Islanders
- New York Rangers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Washington Capitals
- Anaheim Ducks
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Dallas Stars
- Los Angeles Kings
- Minnesota Wild
- Nashville Predators
- San Jose Sharks
- St. Louis Blues
- Florida Panthers, Atlantic Division champions: 103 points
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 97 points
- Detroit Red Wings: 93 points
- Washington Capitals, Metropolitan Division champions, Eastern Conference regular season champions, Presidents' Trophy winners: 120 points
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 104 points
- New York Rangers: 101 points
- New York Islanders: 100 points
- Philadelphia Flyers: 96 points
- Dallas Stars, Central Division champions, Western Conference regular season champion: 109 points
- St. Louis Blues: 107 points
- Chicago Blackhawks: 103 points
- Anaheim Ducks, Pacific Division champions: 103 points
- Los Angeles Kings: 102 points
- San Jose Sharks: 98 points
- Nashville Predators: 96 points
- Minnesota Wild: 87 points
- (A1) Florida Panthers vs. (WC1) New York Islanders
The Florida Panthers finished first in the Atlantic Division, earning 103 points. The New York Islanders finished as the Eastern Conference's first wild-card, earning 100 points. This is the first meeting between these two teams. Florida won two of the three games during this year's regular season series.
This is the first time that a Stanley Cup playoff series is played at the Barclays Center. The series contains the two teams with the longest playoff win drought in the league (the Islanders have not won a series since 1993 and the Panthers since 1996).
The Islanders defeated the Panthers in six games and won a playoff series for the first time since 1993.
In Game 1, John Tavares scored a goal and two assists for the Islanders in a 5–4 win.
In Game 2, Roberto Luongo recorded 41 saves in a 3–1 win to help the Panthers tie the series. The Islanders came back from a two-goal deficit in the second period to win Game 3 in overtime on Thomas Hickey's wrist shot.
In Game 4, Jaromir Jagr had an assist to reach 200 points overall in the playoffs. The Panthers won the game 2–1. Games 5 and 6, both ended in double-overtime with identical scores of 2–1 and New York winning both games.
In Game 6, Tavares scored the first New York goal with 54 seconds left in the third period to send the game into overtime.
In the second overtime, Tavares scored his second goal and the series winner.
- (A2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (A3) Detroit Red Wings
The Tampa Bay Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division, earning 97 points. The Detroit Red Wings earned 93 points to finish third in the Atlantic.
This is the second meeting between these teams; their only previous meeting was in last year's Eastern Conference First Round which Tampa Bay won in seven games. The teams split their four game regular season series this year.
The Lightning defeated the Red Wings in five games.
In Game 4, Kucherov had two goals and an assist and Jonathan Drouin assisted on all 3 goals scored by Tampa Bay in a 3–2 win.
In the final game of the series, Alex Killorn scored with 1:43 left in the third period to give the Lightning a 1–0 lead and the series win.
- (M1) Washington Capitals vs. (WC2) Philadelphia Flyers
The Washington Capitals earned the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's best regular season team with 120 points. The Philadelphia Flyers finished as the Eastern Conference's second wild-card.
This is the fifth meeting between these teams; with both teams splitting the four previous series. They last met in the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals which Philadelphia won in seven games. These teams split this year's four-game regular season series.
The Capitals defeated the Flyers in six games.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby shut out the Flyers in Game 1, stopping all 19 shots he faced in a 2–0 win.
In Game 2, Holtby made 41 saves and a fluke goal by Capitals forward Jason Chimera turned to be the game-winning goal in a 4–1 win.
In Game 3, the Capitals scored a franchise record five power play goals to rout the Flyers 6–1.
The Flyers forced a sixth game after Neuvirth made 44 saves in a 2–0 win in Game 5; the Flyers were out shot 44 to 11. Nicklas Backstrom scored the only goal for the Capitals in Game 6 for his team to move onto the second round.
- (M2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (M3) New York Rangers
The Pittsburgh Penguins finished second in the Metropolitan Division, earning 104 points. The New York Rangers earned 101 points in the regular season to finish third in the Metropolitan.
This is the seventh meeting between these teams, and the third meeting in three consecutive seasons, with Pittsburgh losing the last two but winning four of the six overall.
They last met in last year's Eastern Conference First Round in which the Rangers won in five games. Pittsburgh won three of the four games during this year's regular season series.
The Penguins defeated the Rangers in five games.
In Game 5, after the Penguins' four-goal second period of which Bryan Rust had two goals and an assist, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault pulled Henrik Lundqvist, who had given up six goals on 23 shots.
The Penguins ended the series with a 6–3 victory.
It was the first time the Rangers were eliminated in the opening round since 2011, snapping a five-year advancement streak.
This was also the first playoff series in which two goaltenders on the same team played in and subsequently won their playoff debut with Jeff Zatkoff winning Game 1 and Matt Murray winning Game 3.
- (C1) Dallas Stars vs. (WC2) Minnesota Wild
The Dallas Stars finished first in the Central Division, earning 109 points. The Minnesota Wild finished as the Western Conference's second wild-card, earning 87 points.
This is the first meeting in the playoffs between Minnesota's current NHL franchise and its former NHL franchise (then known as the North Stars). Dallas won four of the five games during this year's regular season series.
The Stars defeated the Wild in six games.
Jamie Benn scored the game winner in Game 2 in a 2–1 win for the Stars to take a 2–0 lead in the series.
In Game 3, after Patrick Sharp scored two goals in the first period for the Stars, the Wild scored four consecutive goals to take the lead.
The Wild avoided elimination in Game 5 when forward Mikko Koivu scored his second goal of the game at 4:55 of the first overtime period, in a 5–4 win.
In Game 6, the Stars took a four-goal lead before the Wild attempted a late comeback by scoring three goals in under five minutes during the third period.
Alex Goligoski scored the eventual series-winner for Dallas halfway through the third period as the Stars hung on for a 5–4 victory.
- (C2) St. Louis Blues vs. (C3) Chicago Blackhawks
The St. Louis Blues finished second in the Central Division earning 107 points. The Chicago Blackhawks earned 103 points to finish third in the Central.
This is the twelfth playoff meeting between these two rivals with Chicago winning eight of the eleven previous series. Their most recent meeting was the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs in which Chicago won in six games. St. Louis won three of the five games during this year's regular season series.
The Blues defeated the Blackhawks in seven games after giving up a 3–1 series lead.
In Game 2, Patrick Kane had two assists to help the Blackhawks win 3–2, and the Blackhawks won two challenges, disallowing Vladimir Tarasenko's second goal for offside, and allowing Andrew Shaw's goal to stand.
The Blues recovered in Game 3, as Elliot made 44 saves in a 3–2 win.
Five penalties were assessed and the Blackhawks scored on the power play that followed. Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues as they won the game 4–3. Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw was given a one-game suspension and a $5,000 fine after he used a homophobic slur.
In Game 5, the Blues overcame a 3–1 deficit in the third period to send the game to overtime.
In double-overtime, Patrick Kane scored the game-winner for the Blackhawks who avoided elimination with a 4–3 win.
The Blackhawks came back from a 3–1 deficit in Game 6, scoring five goals in a 6–3 victory to force a seventh game.
In Game 7, the Blues took a two-goal lead in the first period before the Blackhawks tied the game on goals by Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw.
In the third period, Troy Brouwer scored the series-winner as the Blues advanced past the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a 3–2 win.
- (P1) Anaheim Ducks vs. (WC1) Nashville Predators
The Anaheim Ducks finished first in the Pacific Division, earning 103 points. The Nashville Predators finished as the Western Conference's first wild-card, earning 96 points.
This is the second meeting between these teams in the playoffs; their only previous series was the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals, which Nashville won in six games. Nashville won two of the three games during this year's regular season series.
For the fourth straight year, the Ducks were eliminated in a seventh game at home after having a 3–2 series lead.
In Game 2, Rinne again made 27 saves in another 3–2 win to take their first ever 2–0 series lead.
Three players for the Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf, David Perron, and Sami Vatanen, had two points in a 5–2 win in Game 5 to take a 3–2 series lead.
The Predators forced their first ever seventh game after Rinne made 26 saves in a 3–1 win. In Game 7, Rinne stopped 36 shots for the Predators in a 2–1 win to advance to the second round.
- (P2) Los Angeles Kings vs. (P3) San Jose Sharks
The Los Angeles Kings finished second in the Pacific Division, earning 102 points. The San Jose Sharks earned 98 points to finish third in the Pacific.
This is the fourth meeting between these two teams, with Los Angeles winning two of the three previous meetings. They last met in the 2014 Western Conference First Round in which Los Angeles came back from a 3–0 deficit to defeat the Sharks in seven games.
San Jose won three of the five games during this year's regular season series.
The Sharks defeated the Kings in five games.
In Game 1, Joe Pavelski scored twice including the game winner to help the Sharks win 4–3.
In Game 2, Sharks goalie (and former Kings backup goalie), Martin Jones allowed one goal on 27 shots in a 2–1 win.
Game 3 in San Jose required overtime with the game tied 1–1 after regulation time before Tanner Pearson scored the game winner for the Kings at 3:47 of the first overtime.
In Game 4, all three Sharks goals came on the power play before the Kings tried to make a comeback cutting the deficit to 3–2, but that was the final score of the game.
In Game 5, the Sharks took a 3–0 lead until the Kings scored three goals to tie the game in the second period.
Early in the third period, San Jose rookie Joonas Donskoi's second goal of the game, broke the tie to give the Sharks a 4–3 lead; Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson provided insurance goals as the Sharks ended the series with a 6–3 victory.
- (A2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. (WC1) New York Islanders
This is the second playoff meeting between these teams; their only previous series was in the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, which Tampa Bay won in five games. New York won two of the three games in this year's regular season series.
The Lightning defeated the Islanders in five games.
The Islanders took Game 1 by a score of 5–3 with two goals scored by Shane Prince.
Tyler Johnson scored two goals in a 4–1 victory for the Lightning in Game 2 to tie the series.
Games 3 and 4 both ended in overtime with Lightning victories as well as Nikita Kucherov scoring the tying goal in the third period.
In Game 3, Kucherov scored with 39 seconds left in the third period to send it to overtime. In overtime, Brian Boyle scored the game-winner for a 5–4 win.
In Game 4, Kucherov scored 7:49 into the third period to tie the game. Jason Garrison scored the game-winner for the Lightning 1:49 into overtime in a 2–1 win.
- (M1) Washington Capitals vs. (M2) Pittsburgh Penguins
This is the ninth playoff meeting between these teams, with Pittsburgh winning seven of the eight previous series. Their most recent meeting was in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, which Pittsburgh won in seven games.
Pittsburgh won three of the five games in this year's regular season series.
The Penguins defeated the Capitals in six games.
T.J. Oshie scored a hat-trick (his third goal being in overtime) in Game 1 for the Capitals in a 4–3 win.
Former Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr scored the game-winner in the third period for the Penguins to take Game 2 by a score of 2–1. Matt Murray made 47 saves for the Penguins in Game 3 for a 3–2 victory.
In Game 4, Patric Hornqvist scored the game-winner for the Penguins in overtime as well as an assist in a 3–2 win.
The Capitals avoided elimination in Game 5 with Braden Holtby stopping 30 of the 31 shots he faced in a 3–1 win.
In Game 6, Pittsburgh took a 3–0 lead with two goals from Phil Kessel before the Capitals tied the game 3–3 late in the third period.
In overtime, Nick Bonino scored the series-winner 6:32 into the first overtime period to send the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Eastern Conference Final.
- (C1) Dallas Stars vs. (C2) St. Louis Blues
This is the thirteenth playoff meeting between these teams; the two teams have split the twelve previous series. They last met in the 2001 Western Conference Semifinals, which St. Louis won in a four-game sweep. St. Louis won four of the five games in this year's regular season series.
The Blues defeated the Stars in seven games.
In Game 1, Radek Faksa scored with 4:44 left in the third period to give the Dallas Stars a 2–1 win.
In Game 2, Dallas scored two goals in the third period to tie the game 3–3 after being down 3–1.
In overtime, Blues' captain David Backes scored a power play goal to tie the series at a game a piece. Alexander Steen scored twice and Vladimir Tarasenko scored a goal and two assists to help the Blues rout the Stars 6–1 in Game 3.
Dallas scored three goals in the first period in Game 6 prompting St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock to replace Elliott who had only stopped four shots. Dallas won the game 3–2 to force a seventh game.
- (P3) San Jose Sharks vs. (WC1) Nashville Predators
This is the third playoff meeting between these teams, with San Jose winning both previous series. They last met in the 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinals, which San Jose won in five games. Nashville won two of the three games in this year's regular season series.
The Sharks defeated the Predators in seven games.
The home team won every game in the series.
Logan Couture scored two goals in Game 1 for the Sharks in a 5–2 win.
In Game 2, Martin Jones made 37 saves for the Sharks in a 3–2 win.
In Game 4, the Predators played in their longest playoff game in Game 4 going 11:12 into triple overtime. Mike Fisher scored his second goal of the game to end overtime and tie the series with a 4–3 win.
In Game 5, Joe Pavelski scored twice for the Sharks to take a 3–2 series lead with a 5–1 win.
In Game 6, the Predators came back from an early 2–0 deficit, sending the game into overtime. In overtime, rookie Viktor Arvidsson scored the game-winner to force a seventh game in a 4–3 win.
In Game 7, Martin Jones stopped all 20 shots and Logan Couture scored a goal and two assists in a 5–0 win to send the Sharks onto the Western Conference Final.
- (M2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (A2) Tampa Bay Lightning
This is the second playoff meeting for these teams. Their only previous series was during the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, which Tampa Bay came back from a 3–1 series deficit to win in seven games. Pittsburgh last made the Conference Finals in 2013 where they were swept in four games by the Boston Bruins.
This is Tampa Bay's second consecutive Conference Finals appearance; they defeated the New York Rangers in seven games in the previous year.
Tampa Bay won all three games in this year's regular season series.
The Penguins defeated the Lightning in seven games.
In Game 1, Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop suffered a lower-body injury in the first period, requiring him to leave the game on a stretcher. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves in relief to help the Lightning win 3–1.
In Game 2, four goals were scored in the first period, two by each team), leaving the score tied going into overtime.
In Game 4, the Lightning tied the series in a 4–3 win with both Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn providing two assists each, including the game-winning goal and the team preventing a third period comeback from the Penguins.
The Penguins gave up leads of both 2–0 and 3–2 and lost in overtime when Tyler Johnson scored for the Lightning 53 seconds into the first overtime. Although Brian Boyle scored twice for the Lightning, Pittsburgh forced a seventh game after a 5–2 victory in which Crosby had a goal and an assist.
In Game 7, Bryan Rust scored both goals for Pittsburgh in a 2–1 victory to send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals for the fifth time in franchise history.
Western Conference FinalEdit
- (C2) St. Louis Blues vs. (P3) San Jose Sharks
This is the fifth playoff meeting for these teams, with both teams splitting the four previous playoff series. They last met during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs in which St. Louis won in five games.
St. Louis most recently made the Conference Finals in 2001 when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in five games. San Jose last made the Conference Finals in 2011 (where they lost in five games to the Vancouver Canucks).
San Jose won two of the three games in this year's regular season series.
The Sharks defeated the Blues in six games.
In Game 1 the Blues won 2–1 with help from goalie Brian Elliott who made 31 saves in the process.
In Game 3, Jones again shutout the Blues, blocking 22 shots; Tomas Hertl scored twice for the Sharks in their 3–0 victory at home.
The Sharks were able to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in their 25-year history after Game 6 with Joel Ward scoring the winning goal 3:01 into the third period in a 5–2 victory.
This marks the fifth postseason under NBC Sports' current 10-year contract for American television rights.
During the first round, these national telecasts will co-exist with those of regional rightsholders, after which NBC will have exclusive rights to the remaining games. This will be the second postseason under Rogers Communications' 12-year contract for Canadian television rights.
Under a time-brokerage agreement, playoff games and the Stanley Cup Finals will air on CBC, but Rogers will assume editorial control and the ownership of any advertising revenue from the telecasts.
English-language telecasts of playoff games will also air on the Sportsnet networks. In a separate sub-licensing agreement with Rogers, French-language coverage will be on TVA.
With all seven of the NHL's Canadian teams out of the playoffs, media sources have predicted that Rogers will take a massive hit in the ratings.
During the regular season, Sunday's "Hometown Hockey" saw ratings drop 34 percent while the traditional "Hockey Night in Canada" on Saturday fell 18%, culminating in the season closer on April 9th that attracted just 721,000 viewers.
Rogers has also implemented several cost-cutting measures, such as only employing three full-time play-by-play crews, and having a fourth one doing spot duty, during the first round.
In the second round, Rogers only sent a crew for games broadcast on CBC, while simulcasting NBC's feed for games aired on Sportsnet (including the Game 7's of both Western Conference series).
The Hockey News reported that Rogers saves C$100,000 per game if they simulcast another feed instead of producing their own separate broadcast.