Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four

7 Worst NHL Playoff Chokes of All Time

After watching the biggest choke in NHL Playoff history by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, we were reminded of some of the all-time postseason failures in hockey history. While few will ever reach the unfortunate mark set by Tampa Bay, some of these might compare.

7. 2012-13 Toronto Maple Leafs

The 2012-13 Toronto Maple Leafs fell to a 3-1 series deficit through the first four games of their series against the Boston Bruins. The Leafs battled back to tie the series at 3-3, and went to Boston to try to complete the comeback. They were up 4-1 in Game 7 with a little over nine minutes left in the third period. The Leafs were on their way to the second round, until they weren't. The Bruins scored three goals in the last nine minutes of the third period and forced the game to overtime, where they would score and win the series 4-3. 

6. 2000-01 Ottawa Senators

The 2000-01 Ottawa Senators ended the regular season in second place in the Eastern Conference, and were set for a battle of Canada against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators were the overwhelming favorite heading into the first round series, and were expected to get by the Leafs easily. The exact opposite happened, as the Maple Leafs swept the Senators in four games, taking two games in overtime as well. The Maple Leafs would lose in seven games in the next round to the New Jersey Devils.

5. 1941-42 Detroit Red Wings

Back in 1942, the Detroit Red Wings battled the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, and to that point in history there had not been a team to overcome a 0-3 deficit. However, there is a first for everything, and the Toronto Maple Leafs came back and won the Stanley Cup in Game 7.

4. 2013-14 San Jose Sharks

The 2013-14 San Jose Sharks dominated the Los Angeles Kings early in the series, outscoring them 13-5 through the first two games. They then went to LA and stole a game in overtime to go up 3-0 in the series. The Kings regathered themselves and dominated for the next four games, outscoring the Sharks 18-5, and won the series in seven games. The Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup that year, and it all started with the Sharks choking in round one.

3. 2002-03 Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings were the second best team in the West in 2002-03, and faced the Anaheim Ducks in the first round. The betting odds for Detroit to win that series was -850 before the series began, making them the heavy favorites. As for on the ice, it was all Anaheim when it counted. The Ducks swept the Red Wings, and every game was decided by one goal, and two went to overtime. Detroit was unable to end games well, and were upset in round one.

2. 2009-10 Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins took a strangle hold of their second round series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, dominating the first three games. With a chance to finish the sweep in Game 4 in overtime, all the momentum shifted in Philly's favor as they scored the overtime goal. From that point on, it was all Flyers, and they climbed out of the 3-0 hole to win the series 4-3 in seven games, and went on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

1. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning

The 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning ended the regular season with 128 points and tied the single season win record at 62 wins. Their expectations were nothing less than winning the Stanley Cup, much less getting out of the first round. They began the series with three quick goals in the first period of Game 1, and collapsed under pressure and lost Game 1 4-3. After that, it was all downhill from there, and lost in four games to the Columbus Blue Jackets.