The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league that is made up of 31 teams, with 24 of them located in the United States and the remaining 7 in Canada. The league is separated into two conferences – the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, with each conference further divided into divisions. The Eastern Conference is made up of the Metropolitan Division and the Atlantic Division, with the latter comprising of 8 teams – Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
As the NHL continues to expand and evolve, it’s always important to look back at the history and achievements of the league’s teams. In this article, we will focus on the Atlantic Division and take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the division’s most successful and historic seasons. From the highs of winning the Stanley Cup to the lows of missing out on the playoffs, let’s explore the journey of these teams and celebrate their championship years.
The Boston Bruins are one of the oldest and most iconic teams in the NHL, founded in 1924. They have won 6 Stanley Cup championships, with their first coming in the 1928–29 season. In recent years, the Bruins have been a dominant force in the Atlantic Division, winning the division title on numerous occasions. One of their most memorable seasons was in 2013, when they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals but ultimately fell short to the Chicago Blackhawks. However, the Bruins continued their winning ways and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2014 and the Atlantic Division title in 2017 and 2018, solidifying their position as one of the top teams in the division.
Founded in 1970, the Buffalo Sabres have been a part of the NHL for almost 50 years. Despite not yet winning a Stanley Cup, the Sabres have had successful seasons in the past, especially in the early 2000s. In the 2006–07 season, the Sabres had a record-breaking year with 53 wins and 113 points, clinching the Presidents’ Trophy. They also made it to the Eastern Conference Finals that year, but unfortunately lost to the Ottawa Senators. In 2010, the Sabres once again made it to the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round. As the Sabres continue to grow and develop, they will surely have a chance to add a Stanley Cup championship banner to their arena in the future.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most successful teams in the entire NHL, with 11 Stanley Cup championships under their belt. They have also been a dominant force in the Atlantic Division, winning the division title on multiple occasions. Perhaps their most successful season was in 2001–02, when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and went on to clinch the Stanley Cup championship against the Carolina Hurricanes. Led by the legendary captain, Steve Yzerman, the Red Wings were a force to be reckoned with and continue to be a strong team in the league.
The Florida Panthers were founded in 1993 and have since made a name for themselves in the NHL. They have won their fair share of division titles, most notably in the 1999–2000 season when they took home the Southeast Division championship. The Panthers made a deep playoff run that year but ultimately lost to the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Quarterfinals. In recent years, the Panthers have continued to be a competitive team in the division, with notable players such as Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau leading the way.
The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful team in the NHL, with a record 24 Stanley Cup championships. The team was founded in 1909 and has been a part of the league ever since. In the 2013–14 season, the Canadiens won the Atlantic Division title and went on to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but were ultimately defeated by the New York Rangers in a tight 6-game series. In the following season, the Canadiens once again clinched the division title and made it to the playoffs, but were eliminated in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Founded in 1992, the Ottawa Senators have 4 division titles and a Stanley Cup Finals appearance to their name. In the 2006–07 season, the Senators had a remarkable run, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. However, they were unable to capture the championship, losing to the Anaheim Ducks in 5 games. The Senators also made it to the playoffs in 2008 and 2017, but were eliminated in the first and second rounds, respectively.
Toronto Maple Leafs
As one of the original six teams in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a long and storied history. They have won 13 Stanley Cup championships, with their most recent one coming in 1967. Despite not winning a championship for over 50 years, the Maple Leafs have had some successful seasons in recent years. In the 2012–13 season, the team won the Northeast Division title but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. In 2016–17, the Maple Leafs made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, but were unfortunately defeated by the Washington Capitals in the first round.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning were founded in 1992 and have won 3 division titles and 2 Stanley Cup championships. In the 2003–04 season, the Lightning had a record-breaking year with a 46–22–8–6 record, winning the Southeast Division and clinching the Stanley Cup championship against the Calgary Flames. In recent years, the Lightning have continued to be a formidable team in the division, winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2019 and making it to the playoffs on numerous occasions.
The Atlantic Division of the NHL has a rich history filled with memorable seasons, from historic Stanley Cup championships to heartbreaking playoff defeats. As the league continues to grow and evolve, it’s always important to look back and celebrate the achievements of these teams. Whether they are long-standing franchises like the Boston Bruins or newer teams like the Florida Panthers, each team has left their mark on the division and the league as a whole. As fans, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for these teams and the rest of the NHL.