The final four teams in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs featured the teams to win The Cup the past four years, making for something of a Tournament Of Champions. Now that the Chicago Blackhawks have won two of the past four championships, they’ve staked their claim to being considered the best team in the past five years. Here’s how the Top 10 over that span shapes up.

10. Washington Capitals

They just barely beat the New York Rangers for this spot on the list. In fact, the teams not only finished with the same number of power rankings points in my analysis, but the first tie-breaker didn’t serve to pick a winner either. Over the past four years, these two teams have squared off in the Stanley Cup playoffs four times, each eliminating the other twice. Alas, it’s the 2011 Washington Capitals team which makes the biggest difference, as that series is the only one to not go 7 games. The Caps rocked the red and eliminated the Rangers in five games that year.

Making the playoffs each of the past five years, the Capitals have three second-round exits to their credit and two first-round eliminations. One of those eliminations was to the eventual Stanley Cup champions.

9. New Jersey Devils

Though they failed to make the playoffs twice in the past five years, they were in the Stanley Cup Finals just last year. Perhaps they would be higher on the list, but the other two seasons they made the playoffs involved first-round eliminations – once to a Stanley Cup finalist that year, the other to an Eastern Conference finalist.

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8. San Jose Sharks

Each of the past five years have included post-season play for San Jose. Twice in that span they advanced to the Western Conference finals, but in those two series they won only a single game. Total. The other two campaigns held a second-round exit and two first-round exits.

7. Philadelphia Flyers

Despite missing the playoffs COMPLETELY this season, they deserve this spot in the rankings because they advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, lost to two eventual Stanley Cup Champions in other seasons, and their fourth playoff trip involved a loss to a Stanley Cup Finalist.

6. Vancouver Canucks

These guys haven’t missed the post-season in the past five years. Their resume includes a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011, and twice they’ve been eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in the preliminary rounds.

5. Detroit Red Wings

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Red Wings made the playoffs each of the past five seasons. They made the Stanley Cup Finals one of the past five seasons. They lost to the eventual champions in a preliminary round once, and only once were they eliminated in the first round. I didn’t take into account their Stanley Cup Championship following the 2008 season, or they’d probably be higher on this list.

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4. Los Angeles Kings

The 2012 Stanley Cup Champions made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, advanced to the Western Conference Finals before being eliminated this season, and add first-round exits in 2011 and 2010.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins

Adding to their 2009 Stanley Cup Championship is their Eastern Conference Finals loss this year, a second round exit in 2010 and first-round exits in 2011 and 2012. Staying in the playoffs each of the past five seasons gave them a leg-up to being in the upper half of this list. Who knows what the rankings might look like if the 2008 season was included… but the Penguins would certainly be near the top, having been a Stanley Cup Finalist that season.

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2. Boston Bruins

Though they had second-round exits in 2009 and 2010 to go with a first-round elimination in 2012, the strong parts of their resume are this season’s Stanley Cup Finals appearance and their championship victory from 2011.

1. Chicago Blackhawks

Not only did the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup twice in the five-year span, but they made the post-season each of the campaigns, having first-round eliminations in 2011 and 2012 and made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2009.

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