Looking Back at Every Sweep in Stanley Cup Final History

The Detroit Red Wings celebrate a goal during the 1998 Stanley Cup Final.
The Detroit Red Wings celebrate a goal during the 1998 Stanley Cup Final. / Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY NETWORK via

The quickest path to hoisting the oldest trophy in North American sports history? Sweeping your opponent in four games.

There have been 20 sweeps in the Stanley Cup Final since the series was expanded to a best-of-seven series in 1939. The '41 Boston Bruins were the first NHL team to do it, sending the Detroit Red Wings packing after four games.

There were five sweeps in the 1990s—the most sweeps in a decade since the 1940s—but there hasn't been a Stanley Cup Final decided in four games since the Detroit Red Wings blanked the Washington Capitals in '98.

Without further ado, here's a full breakdown of every series sweep in Stanley Cup Final history:

YEAR

MATCHUP

WINNER

1941

Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings

Bruins

1943

Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins

Red Wings

1944

Chicago Black Hawks vs. Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens

1948

Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs

1949

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings

Maple Leafs

1952

Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Canadiens

Red Wings

1960

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Canadiens

1968

St. Louis Blues vs. Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens

1969

St. Louis Blues vs. Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens

1970

Boston Bruins vs. St. Louis Blues

Bruins

1976

Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Canadiens

1977

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens

1982

New York Islanders vs. Vancouver Canucks

Islanders

1983

Edmonton Oilers vs. New York Islanders

Islanders

1988

Edmonton Oilers vs. Boston Bruins

Oilers

1992

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Penguins

1995

Detroit Red Wings vs. New Jersey Devil

Devils

1996

Colorado Avalanche vs. Florida Panthers

Avalanche

1997

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings

1998

Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals

Red Wings

1941: Boston Bruins sweep Detroit Red Wings

The third best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final series in NHL history ended in a four-game sweep. Bruins goaltender Frank Brimsek allowed just six goals in four games, and Boston edged Detroit 3–2, 2–1, 4–2 and 3–1 to win its third Stanley Cup in franchise history.

1943: Detroit Red Wings sweep Boston Bruins

Two years later, the Red Wings got their revenge. Detroit sent 16 goals past Brimsek, closing out the series with 4–0 and 2–0 shutouts. Red Wings stars Mud Bruneteau, Joe Carveth and Don Grosso all tallied three goals apiece in the series.

1944: Montreal Canadiens sweep Chicago Black Hawks

The Canadiens claimed their fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history by taking down the Chicago Black Hawks in four games. After winning the first two contests 5–1 and 3–1, Montreal edged Chicago 3–2 in Game 3 and hoisted the Stanley Cup after Toe Blake's game-winning goal in overtime gave them a 5–4 win.

1948: Toronto Maple Leafs sweep Detroit Red Wings

How does a team one-up themselves after winning the Stanley Cup in 1947? By sweeping the series the following year. The Maple Leafs, led by Harry Watson's five goals, took down the Red Wings in four games. Toronto lost just one game during the 1948 playoffs and posted a goal differential of plus-18. Domination.

1949: Toronto Maple Leafs sweep Detroit Red Wings

The Maple Leafs' dynasty of the 1940s wasn't done yet. Toronto scored exactly three goals in all four games, defeating the Red Wings 3–2, 3–1, 3–1 and 3–1 to hoist the Stanley Cup for a third straight year. Turk Broda manned the Leafs' net and surrendered just five goals in four contests.

1952: Detroit Red Wings sweep Montreal Canadiens

Detroit swept the Maple Leafs in four games in the 1952 semifinals and did the same in the Stanley Cup Final, beating Toronto 3–1, 2–1, 3–0 and 3–0 in a rather low-scoring series. Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe, Tony Leswick, Metro Prystai, Marty Pavelich and Glen Skov all tallied three points apiece in the series. It was the first of three Stanley Cups that Hall of Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk would win in Detroit.

1960: Montreal Canadiens sweep Toronto Maple Leafs

After six sweeps in the first 14 best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final series, there was an eight-year gap between sweeps in a stretch that featured two Game 7s. The Canadiens crushed the Maple Leafs in 1960, however, outscoring them 15–5 to hoist their fifth straight Stanley Cup, a streak that still stands as the most consecutive titles for a single team in NHL history.

1968: Montreal Canadiens sweep St. Louis Blues

The NHL expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967, but that didn't stop the Canadiens from punching their ticket to another Stanley Cup Final. The St. Louis Blues—one of those six expansion franchises—put up quite the fight but lost all four games in heartbreaking fashion by one goal, losing 3–2, 1–0, 4–3 and 3–2. Two of those four games went into overtime.

1969: Montreal Canadiens sweep St. Louis Blues

The Blues fought their way to a rematch in the 1969 Stanley Cup Final, but they fell short in four games once again. Canadiens goaltender Rogie Vachon, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, held the Blues to three goals in four games, stopping 104 of the 107 shots he faced.

1970: Boston Bruins sweep St. Louis Blues

Boston snapped an 11-year drought and defeated the New York Rangers and Chicago Black Hawks to advance to its first Stanley Cup Final since 1958. The Bruins made the most of it, blowing out the Blues 6–1 in Game 1 and 6–2 in Game 2 before wrapping up the series in Games 3 and 4 at the Boston Garden. Phil Esposito led the Bruins with eight points (two goals, six assists) in the series.

1976: Montreal Canadiens sweep Philadelphia Flyers

The 1975-76 Canadiens won 58 games and tallied 127 points in the regular-season standings, the fifth-most in NHL history. They didn't mess around in the playoffs, either. Montreal swept the Black Hawks in the quarterfinals, beat the New York Islanders in five games in the semifinals and claimed its 19th Stanley Cup in franchise history after sweeping the Flyers.

1977: Montreal Canadiens sweep Boston Bruins

Different opponent, same result. The Canadiens returned to hockey's biggest stage in 1977 and once again swept their opponent, outscoring the Bruins 16–6 in the four games. Hall of Fame winger Guy Lafleur registered nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the Stanley Cup Final and won the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the most valuable player of the playoffs.

1982: New York Islanders sweep Vancouver Canucks

Founded in 1972, the Islanders won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in '80 but didn't stop there. They won it again in '81, and in '82 the Islanders earned their first Stanley Cup sweep. New York won Game 1 6–5 in overtime, and outscored the Canucks 12–5 the rest of the series to secure the three-peat.

1983: New York Islanders sweep Edmonton Oilers

Coach Al Arbour and the Islanders were back in the Stanley Cup Final in 1983, and they followed the same game plan as '82. The Islanders won all four games by multiple goals—2–0, 6–3, 5–1 and 4–2—to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup for a fourth straight year. It was the first Stanley Cup appearance for Oilers youngster Wayne Gretzky. He would be back.

1988: Edmonton Oilers sweep Boston Bruins

Gretzky must have learned what it takes in 1983 because he led the Oilers to championships in '84, '85 and '87. In '88, Gretzky tallied three goals and 10 assists to help the Oilers sweep the Bruins—but with an asterisk. Game 4 of the series at Boston Garden was delayed in the second period due to fog interfering with the game, and later suspended after the power went out. The score was tied 3–3 at the time. Game 4 was moved to Edmonton, where the Oilers won 6–3 and claimed the sweep.

1992: Pittsburgh Penguins sweep Chicago Blackhawks

The Penguins won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1991 and were back in '92 to face the Blackhawks. Pittsburgh scored twice in the third period of Game 1 to win 5–4, and edged Chicago 3–1, 1–0 and 6–5 in the final three games to finish off the sweep.

1995: New Jersey Devils sweep Detroit Red Wings

The Devils became the sixth non-Original Six team to win a championship when they swept the Red Wings in 1995. Neal Broten scored three goals and tallied three assists to lead the way for New Jersey, which closed out the series with resounding 5–2 victories in both Game 3 and Game 4.

1996: Colorado Avalanche sweep Florida Panthers

The Panthers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in just the third season in their existence, but the Avalanche—in their first season in Colorado since relocating from Quebec—spoiled the party. Patrick Roy allowed just four goals the entire series and held the Panthers scoreless for 103 minutes in Game 3, which the Avs won 1–0 in triple overtime. Joe Sakic won the Conn Smythe Trophy after tallying five points (one goal, four assists) in the series.

1997: Detroit Red Wings sweep Philadelphia Flyers

The 1996–97 Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup Final since '55, taking down the Flyers in four games—4–2, 4–2, 6–1 and 2–1. Sergei Federov led the way for Detroit's "Russian Five" with six points (three goals, three assists) in the series.

1998: Detroit Red Wings sweep Washington Capitals

The 1997–98 season marked the fourth straight Stanley Cup Final to end in a sweep. Entering the upcoming matchup between the Panthers and Oilers, there hasn't been a Stanley Cup Final sweep since. The Red Wings won the first three games of the series by one goal—2–1, 5–4 and 2–1—before winning 4–1 in Game 4 to finish off Washington.


Published |Modified
Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.