Stanley Cup champs take the long road

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:36 PM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C. - You keep hearing it over and over in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

A team needs a short series at some point if they’re going to win the Cup, a four-game sweep or five-game series to cut down on the wear and tear and keep some gas in the tank to go all the way.

With four teams in the Eastern Conference up 3-1 going into Thursday night’s games, that’s probably on the minds of players, officials and fans.

So, just for fun, during a layover in Philadelphia on the way here from Montreal, I went back and looked at the last 13 Stanley Cup finals to see which team had won the Cup.

Going by the prevailing logic, you would think it’s the team playing the fewer games.

In those 13 finals, the team playing MORE games won eight Stanley Cups, three times they were tied and only two times did the team playing fewer games at the end of the final win the Cup.

The team playing more games has won the all the Cups since the lockout:

2009: Pittsburgh, 24 games; Detroit, 23.

2008: Detroit, 22 games; Pittsburgh, 20.

2007: Anaheim, 21 games; Ottawa 20.

2006: Carolina, 25 games; Edmonton 24.

The odds of winning the Cup actually favour the team playing more games.

HEAR AND THERE: The Caps are up 3-1 against the Canadiens despite having Alexander Semin go stealth. He got an assist on a goal by Alex Ovechkin in Game 4 (the puck actually rolled off his stick and hit the stick of a Montreal player before going to Ovechkin), but he stook a really dumb too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. “He definitely hasn’t shown the hockey world how well he can play when he’s on top of his game and I don’t know what the reason is,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau. “I know he wants to win and he wants to do well, it just hasn’t transferred into points and successful scoring opportunities.”...Canadiens defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron is minus-8 in the series, 317th and worst of any player in the playoffs...Boudreau doesn’t usually reveal his starting goaltender, but said Semyon Varlamov will start in nets Friday night, as if that’s a surprise...Ovechkin was getting some grief on the message boards for snowing the kid standing on the ice between the benches holding a Canadiens flag before Game 4. It was probably a thrill for the kid, who’s now a star on YouTube...Canadiens defenceman Jaroslav Spacek will miss his second-straight game. He remained in Montreal because of a virus.


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