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Who is the linear Stanley Cup Champion?

It’s not entirely clear right now whether or not the National Hockey League will be able to have a full playoffs, or even a post-season of any kind. So if we’re trying to figure out who the NHL’s top squad was in 2019-20, we might need to get creative.

Taking a page from the world of boxing – where the title is on the line in every bout – we’re asking this: who would be the reigning champion if the St. Louis Blues had to defend their 2019 Stanley Cup crown in every game this season (and it potentially changed hands in every game)? We tracked the illustrious lineage of the Linear Stanley Cup.

The lineage

  1. St. Louis Blues – won Stanley Cup in June, began season as champion
  2. Washington Capitals – def. Blues on Oct. 2
    1. beat NY Islanders on Oct. 4
  3. Carolina Hurricanes – def. Capitals on Oct. 5.
  4. Columbus Blue Jackets – def. Hurricanes on Oct. 12
  5. Chicago Blackhawks – def. Blue Jackets on Oct. 18
  6. Washington Capitals (2) – def. Blackhawks on Oct. 20
    1. beat Calgary on Oct. 22
  7. Edmonton Oilers – beat Capitals on Oct. 24
  8. Florida Panthers – beat Oilers on Oct. 27
  9. Vancouver Canucks – beat Panthers on Oct. 28
  10. Anaheim Ducks – beat Canucks on Nov. 1
  11. Chicago Blackhawks (2) – beat Ducks on Nov. 3
  12. San Jose Sharks – beat Blackhawks on Nov. 5
    1. beat Minnesota on Nov. 7
    2. beat Nashville on Nov. 9
    3. beat Edmonton on Nov. 12
    4. beat Anaheim on Nov. 14
    5. beat Detroit on Nov. 16
  13. Edmonton Oilers (2) – beat Sharks on Nov. 19
  14. Los Angeles Kings – beat Oilers on Nov. 21
  15. Arizona Coyotes – beat Kings on Nov. 23
  16. Edmonton Oilers (3) – beat Coyotes on Nov. 24
  17. Colorado Avalanche – beat Oilers on Nov. 27
    1. beat Chicago on Nov. 29
    2. beat Chicago on Nov. 30
    3. beat Toronto on Dec. 4
    4. beat Montreal on Dec. 5
    5. beat Boston on Dec. 7
  18. Calgary Flames – beat Avalanche on Dec. 9
    1. beat Arizona on Dec. 10
    2. beat Toronto on Dec. 12
  19. Carolina Hurricanes (2) – beat Flames on Dec. 14
    1. beat Winnipeg on Dec. 17
    2. beat Colorado on Dec. 19
  20. Florida Panthers (2) – beat Hurricanes on Dec. 21
  21. Tampa Bay Lightning – beat Panthers on Dec. 23
    1. beat Montreal on Dec. 28
    2. beat Detroit on Dec. 29
    3. beat Buffalo on Dec. 31
    4. beat Montreal on Jan. 2
    5. beat Ottawa on Jan. 4
    6. beat Carolina on Jan. 5
    7. beat Vancouver on Jan. 7
    8. beat Arizona on Jan. 9
    9. beat Philadelphia on Jan. 11
  22. New Jersey Devils – beat Lightning on Jan. 12
  23. Toronto Maple Leafs – beat Devils on Jan. 14
  24. Calgary Flames (2) – beat Maple Leafs on Jan. 16
  25. Ottawa Senators – beat Flames on Jan. 18
  26. New Jersey Devils (2) – beat Senators on Jan. 27
  27. Nashville Predators – beat Devils on Jan. 30
  28. Vegas Golden Knights – beat Predators on Feb. 1
  29. Tampa Bay Lightning (2) – beat Golden Knights on Feb. 4
    1. beat Pittsburgh on Feb. 6
    2. beat NY Islanders on Feb. 8
    3. beat Columbus on Feb. 10
    4. beat Pittsburgh on Feb. 11
    5. beat Edmonton on Feb. 13
    6. beat Philadelphia on Feb. 15
    7. beat Colorado on Feb. 17
  30. Vegas Golden Knights (2) – beat Lightning on Feb. 20
    1. beat Florida on Feb. 22
    2. beat Anaheim on Feb. 23
    3. beat Edmonton on Feb. 26
    4. beat Buffalo on Feb. 28
  31. Los Angeles Kings (2) – beat Golden Knights on Mar. 1
    1. beat Toronto on Mar. 5
    2. beat Minnesota on Mar. 7
    3. beat Colorado on Mar. 9
    4. beat Ottawa on Mar. 11

The breakdown

Record in games with the Linear Cup on the line:

Team W L Reigns
Anaheim 1 3 1
Arizona 1 3 1
Boston 0 1 0
Buffalo 0 2 0
Calgary 4 3 2
Carolina 4 3 2
Chicago 2 4 2
Colorado 6 4 1
Columbus 1 2 1
Dallas 0 0 0
Detroit 0 2 0
Edmonton 3 6 3
Florida 2 3 2
Los Angeles 6 1 1
Minnesota 0 2 0
Montreal 0 3 0
Nashville 1 2 1
New Jersey 2 2 2
NY Islanders 0 2 0
NY Rangers 0 0 0
Ottawa 1 3 1
Philadelphia 0 2 0
Pittsburgh 0 2 0
San Jose 6 1 1
St. Louis 0 1 1
Tampa Bay 18 2 2
Toronto 1 4 1
Vancouver 1 2 1
Vegas 6 2 2
Washington 4 2 2
Winnipeg 0 1 0

As you can imagine based on their two lengthy reigns, the Lightning did well in Linear Cup games. 11 teams never had a reign with the Cup, and of those teams just two (the Rangers and Dallas) never even played in a Cup game.