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Canada’s Stanley Cup jinx extends to its 25th season as Leafs are eliminated

Last Tuesday, the Maple Leaf became the third and final Canadian team to be dumped out of the opening round of the 2018-19 Stanley Cup playoffs. The loss continues a losing streak of Canadian teams dating back to 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens squad of that year won the Cup.

This year makes it the 25th NHL season, which means many NHL players were either not yet born or not old enough to recall the last time a Canadian team hoisted the Stanley Cup.

Just like last season, the Boston Bruins exploited the home ice well, defeating Toronto 5-1 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final on Tuesday night. With that result, the Maple Leafs joins the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames among the early post-season exits. The Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers did not make the playoffs.

Before Maple Leafs’ spirited fight this season, a few Canadian teams have attempted to break the Stanley Cup curse in the past with Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary each making it as far as Game 7 in the Finals of the competition before being eliminated. Ottawa also qualified for a final series, but this season makes it the eighth year running that two American teams will compete for the coveted trophy.

The only time after 1993 that an American team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup was the 2004/05 season which was scrapped due to a lockout.

Canada’s fortunes reached its lowest ebb in 2016 when none of the country’s seven teams qualified for the Cup playoffs.

But at the commencement of this season’s playoffs, it looked like the jinx would finally be broken. Calgary qualified for the post-season, coming off as the top team in the Western Conference.

While Toronto and Winnipeg struggled in the final stage of the regular season, the Jets qualified via the playoffs after a Western Conference final appearance last season.

Also, the Leafs had strength in depth with John Tavares an addition to a team already boasting top players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

But it still turned the same old story for Canada’s NHL teams in the end. Calgary were bested by Colorado in five games after they had shutout the Avalanche in the series opener. Winnipeg lost three times at home against St. Louis and lost the series in six games. The Leafs fought hard, but after failing to close out the series at home in game 6, they lost in seven to Boston for the second consecutive season, and the third time in the last seven years.

Canada’s team will now wait until next season to try again to win the elusive cup after a 26-year dry spell. bookmakers believe Winnipeg, Toronto, and Calgary are safe bets to the post-season. Montreal is also tipped to join the trio, after a vastly improved season this year in which they contested for a playoff spot until the second to last day of the regular-season.

With an exciting assembly of young talents like Quinn Hughes (to be drafted) and Elias Pettersson, nhl betting punters are also banking on Vancouver to make a good showing next season and get into the playoffs too.  As for the Edmonton Oilers, many observers are of the view the team is simply punching below its weight and hope Connor McDavid will finally be able to get them back into the post-season.

But not so much may be expected from Ottawa which has had a horrible time on and off the ice, as the team continues its rebuilding process.

So, for every Canadian hockey fan out there, the wait for one of their NHL teams to bring home the iconic trophy continues. Hopefully, the bad spell ends next year and we all can taste the glory of a Stanley Cup triumph since 1993 in Canada!

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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