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Canada won’t have a Team in 2016 NHL Playoffs

All Seven Canadian Teams Eliminated from Playoff Contention

NHL

When most people think of the country of Canada, hockey is one of the first things that comes to mind. The passion the country has for the sport is similar to that of America with football, England with soccer, and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with baseball. Not only does Canada have passion for the sport of hockey, they’re also pretty darn good at it.

Canada is the two-time defending gold medalist at the Winter Olympics (2010 and 2014). They also have a record 16 gold medals in the IIHF World Juniors Championship and have the second-most gold medals in IIHF World Championship history with 25.

However, at the NHL level, the teams that are based in Canada have not had anywhere near the same success in the last two decades.

A Canada-based team has not won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens did it back in 1993. This year, that drought will continue.

For the first time since 1970, no team from Canada will qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The nation’s best, and last, chance was eliminated last night when the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 in a shootout, knocking out the Ottawa Senators from playoff contention.

The Senators currently have the best record for a Canadian team with 79 points, but fell to 10 points behind the Flyers for the final wild card spot with five games to go in their season (Philadelphia holds a game in hand on Ottawa).

The Canadiens hold the second-best record of the Canadians teams with 76 points. However, they are probably the most disappointing of the bunch.

Montreal started the 2015-16 season 9-0-0, setting a franchise record for most consecutive wins to start a season. However, an injury to goaltender, and defending league MVP, Carey Price that never healed properly seemed to be what doomed the Canadiens. The team has gone 26-36-6 since that hopeful looking start.

This is sure hard to swallow for the entire country. Last season, five of the seven Canadian teams made the playoffs. This season, five of those teams are part of the six worst teams in the NHL. What may make matters worse for Canada is that it is another year where the Stanley Cup won’t be won by a Canadian team.

The Canadiens hold the record for most Stanley Cups won (24), but, again, haven’t won one since 1993. The last Canadian team to come close to wining a Cup was the Vancouver Canucks in 2011 when they lost in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins.

Since that Montreal win in 1993, Canadian teams have had five chances to win the Cup (1994, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011). Four of those five teams lost in Game 7 (the Senators lost in five games in 2007). 2016 will mark the 22nd straight playoff year that the Stanley Cup will reside in the United States, which must feel like an eternity for Canadians.

One thing, though, Canada may want to look forward to this spring is to see if the Toronto Blue Jays can make it back to the postseason after a trip to the ALCS last season now that Opening Day is about a week away. That should be able to hold them down until September, at least, when the World Cup of Hockey returns in September.

Photo Credit: S.Yume/via flickr.com

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