Stanley Cup Champions the Year After
2013 Los Angeles Kings
The Kings' defense of their first Stanley Cup ended in the Western Conference Finals, where they fell to eventual champion Chicago in five games. By that point, the Kings, who had steamrolled to the title in 2012, looked worn out after battling through tough series vs. St. Louis and San Jose. They struggled to score as Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards fought injuries and star center Anze Kopitar slumped. Goaltender Jonathan Quick wasn't nearly as sharp as he was when he won the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy. And so the Detroit Red Wings remained the last team to repeat as Cup champions (1997, '98).
2012: Boston Bruins
After their epic march in 2011 to their first Stanley Cup since 1972, the Bruins' reign ended in an impossibly tight, hard-fought first-round series against Washington. All seven games were decided by one goal, the end coming for Boston in overtime at home when the Caps' Joel Ward scored off the rebound of a shot by Mike Knuble.
2011: Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks needed last-minute help, but made it back to the postseason in 2011, although their salary cap-induced lack of depth created few expectations of a repeat. In the first round against rival Vancouver, the Hawks fell into an 0-3 hole before staging a dramatic rally that took them into overtime of Game 7 where they were finally eliminated.
2010: Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby & Co. finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, but received what appeared to be a break when a series of early upsets left them with No. 8 seed Montreal in the second round. Their run toward a third-straight Cup final ended with a 5-2 Game 7 loss in which the upstart Habs jumped out to a four-goal lead. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scored only one goal apiece during the series.
2009: Detroit Red Wings
In 2008, Detroit celebrated its 11th Stanley Cup on Pittsburgh's home ice. A year later, the Wings won 51 games and earned the second seed in the West. A first-round sweep of Columbus, a seven-game nail-biter against eighth-seed Anaheim, and a five-game victory over Central rival Chicago set the rematch of the 2008 Cup final. Only this time, Detroit fans had to watch the celebration as the Pens returned the favor in Game 7.
2008: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks never got into synch as they tried to recapture the Cup. The biggest reason: Teemu Selanne, who scored 48 goals in 2006-07, and captain/defensive stalwart Scott Niedermayer opted not to return to the NHL...only to change their minds midway through the 2007-08 season. But the Ducks were never able to find the cohesion that was crucial to their 2007 Cup run and they bowed out in the first round, falling to fifth-seeded Dallas in six games.
2007: Carolina Hurricanes
Much like the 2011 Blackhawks, the Hurricanes took personnel losses after winning the Cup. But unlike Chicago, they weren't able to return to the postseason. The Hurricanes finished 11th in the Eastern conference minus a handful of important support players, including Mark Recchi, who scored seven goals during the Stanley Cup run.
2006: Tampa Bay Lightning
The final pre-lockout champions waited a year to defend their title, and when hockey returned, the Bolts felt the weight of the new salary cap rules. Tampa Bay lost goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and left wing Cory Stillman to free agency and finished eighth in the Eastern Conference in 2006, squeaking into the postseason before losing in the first round.
2004: New Jersey Devils
Martin Brodeur won the Vezina Trophy (top goaltender), Scott Niedermayer won the Norris (top defenseman), but the Devils still finished sixth in the East before made a quiet first-round exit at the hands of Philadelphia in five games. The Devils were among the NHL's worst power play units during their Stanley Cup season, and it ended up hurting them in that series against the Flyers: no man advantage tallies in their four losses.
2003: Detroit Red Wings
The winningest coach in NHL history, Scotty Bowman, and star goaltender Dominik Hasek both retired after Detroit's 2002 Cup. The loaded front line -- including Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman -- got another year older. And so the Wings, a year after putting an all-time great powerhouse on the ice, was swept in the first-round by Anaheim.
2002: Colorado Avalanche
The Avs kept their core together after winning the Cup, but scoring star Peter Forsberg missed the entire regular season with a foot injury. Although Detroit dominated the 2001-02 season on its way to the old silver bowl, Colorado gave the Wings all they could handle. The Avs pushed them to a decisive Game 7 in the Western Conference Final, but the Wings blitzed them 7-0 to end all hope of a repeat.
2001: New Jersey Devils
The Devils looked bound for a repeat, but flushed a three games-to-two lead to Colorado in the Cup final. They'd earned the top spot in the East and, thanks to a series of upsets, faced No. 8, 7 and 6 seeds in the playoffs. But in the end, Colorado took the last two games of the Cup final by a combined score of 7-1.
2000: Dallas Stars
A year after Brett Hull's famous foot-in-the-crease goal gave them the Stanley Cup with a triple-overtime, Game 6 victory, the Stars returned to the final. This time, they were on the losing end of a decisive multiple-overtime game. Jason Arnott goal in double OT of Game 6 gave the Devils a 2-1 win and the chalice.
1999 Detroit Red Wings (Lost in second round to Colorado)
Detroit's hopes for a three-peat were fueled by the trade deadline acquisitions of blueliners Chris Chelios and Ulf Samuelsson, forward Wendel Clark and goalie Bill Ranford, a first-place finish in the Central Division, and a sweep of Anaheim in the first round. Then the Red Wings ran out of steam against their bitter rivals, the Colorado Avalanche, who stormed back from a two-games-to-none deficit to win the next four, including three in Detroit. Ranford, who started the series in place of Chris Osgood, was strafed in a 5-3 Colorado win in Game 3 that turned the tide of the series.