1. 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-5)
The 2012-13 NHL season almost didn’t happen. Players like Patrick Kane were playing hockey overseas for teams in different leagues to stay in hockey shape for the 2014 NHL season.
2012-13 was a shortened season due to the NHL lockout. In late December, the NHLPA and NHL came to an agreement and the teams were allowed to get back to practice.
Little did anyone know, this season would be one for the ages. The player that benefited the most was Marian Hossa. Hossa was knocked out against the Coyotes in their playoff matchup the season prior and was still recovering. He needed the extra time off to rest and he came back firing on all cylinders.
The Blackhawks started off 21-0-3. The longest streak in NHL history to start a season without losing in regulation. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. That season was fun from the beginning.
The Chicago Blackhawks would win the Presidents’ Trophy and start the playoffs on home ice against the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks would beat the Wild in five games.
In the second round, the Blackhawks went down 3-1 in the series. The Blackhawks would bounce back and win the series in overtime of Game 7.
Brent Seabrook became Mr. Overtime with the game-winning goal. Seabrook would also have another game-winning goal in overtime in the 2014 playoffs, which we will touch on in a bit.
The Blackhawks would face the L.A. Kings and win the series in five games. They would go on to face the red-hot Boston Bruins. The Bruins were fighting for the city of Boston after the terrorist attacks on April 15th, 2013. Boston was down 4-1 in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs with under 10 minutes left. They would come back and win this game.
During the Eastern Conference Finals, Tuukka Rask would only give up two goals while sweeping Pittsburgh. There were a lot of nerves going into Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
In Game 1, the Blackhawks won 4-3 after Boston blew a lead. Boston would win Game 2 in Chicago and Game 3 in Boston. The series looked almost over. If the Blackhawks lost in Game 4, it would be almost impossible to come back.
Brent Seabrook would score the game-winning goal in overtime to tie up the series. In Game 5, the Blackhawks would win 3-1 and take the series lead going into Boston.
Through 58 minutes of play, Boston led 2-1 in Game 6. With 1:16 remaining in the third period, Bryan Bickell scored to tie the game. 17 seconds later, Dave Bolland scored the Stanley Cup game-winning goal.
This would be one of the craziest seasons ever. The Blackhawks played such great hockey only losing 12 regular-season games in the lockout-shortened season.
It would be interesting to see what they would have done through a full 82-game season. We will never know, but what I do know is, the 2012-13 squad will go down as the best Chicago Blackhawks team ever.