| April 22–June 16, 1998|
Detroit Red Wings
| Buffalo Sabres
The 1998 Stanley Cup playoffs, the championship of the National Hockey League (NHL), began on April 22, 1998 following the 1997–98 regular season. The sixteen teams that qualified, eight from each conference, played best-of-7 series for conference quarterfinals, semifinals and championships, and then the conference champions played a best-of-7 series for the Stanley Cup.
The playoffs concluded on June 16 with the Detroit Red Wings winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship, defeating the Washington Capitals, who were in their very first Finals, in a four-game sweep. Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman was named playoff MVP, and awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. As of today, the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings are the last team to defend their Stanley Cup Championship.
In the Eastern Semis, the Buffalo Sabres made history as they became the first team in NHL history to complete a four-game sweep of the Montreal Canadiens on Montreal ice.
For the first time since 1969 the Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs. Also, both the Islanders and Rangers missed the playoffs in the same season for the first time.
1998 Stanley Cup playoffs Wikipedia
The following teams qualified for the playoffs:
- New Jersey Devils, Atlantic Division champions, Eastern Conference regular season champions – 107 points
- Pittsburgh Penguins, Northeast Division champions – 98 points
- Philadelphia Flyers – 95 points
- Washington Capitals – 92 points
- Boston Bruins – 91 points
- Buffalo Sabres – 89 points
- Montreal Canadiens – 87 points
- Ottawa Senators – 83 points
During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.
- Dallas Stars, Central Division champions, Western Conference regular season champions, Presidents' Trophy winners – 109 points
- Colorado Avalanche, Pacific Division champions – 95 points
- Detroit Red Wings – 103 points
- St. Louis Blues – 98 points
- Los Angeles Kings – 87 points
- Phoenix Coyotes – 82 points
- Edmonton Oilers – 80 points
- San Jose Sharks – 78 points
Game four was the last playoff game at the Great Western Forum.
This was the first and to date only playoff series between these two teams. Detroit made their twenty-first and second consecutive Finals appearance, while Washington made their first Finals appearance in their twenty-fourth season. Detroit entered this series as the defending Stanley Cup champions. As of 2016 this was the last time that the Stanley Cup was successfully defended by the previous year's champion.