Ten NHL had 100 points or more, but only one of them made it to the Stanley Cup finals. The regular season featured close races for first place in three of the six divisions and for the top spot and first seed in both conferences.
In the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning led with 106 points in a race that was in doubt until the final game. The Boston Bruins were right behind them with 104 points, while the Toronto Maple Leafs finished with 103, the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning had 102 apiece, and the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers each had 101.
The Detroit Red Wings finished atop the Western Conference with 109 points, five ahead of the San Jose Sharks. In the conference's Northest Division, the Vancouver Canucks edged the Colorado Avalance, 101 points to 100.
The first round of the playoffs went along with the seeding, with two exceptions: in the East, the Bruins were eliminated by an old nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens, and the sixth-seeded Calgary Flames upset the third-seeded Canucks in the West.
The Flames kept right on going, knocking off the top-seeded Red Wings in the semifinals and the second-seeded Sharks in the conference championship series. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay won its way through to the Stanley Cup finals by sweeping the Canadiens and taking a tough-seven game series over the Flyers.
Calgary went ahead, 3-2, in the finals by winning Game 5 in overtime at Tampa Bay. But the Flames couldn't close it out at home, losing 3-2 in the second overtime. The series then went back to Tampa Bay for the seventh game and the Lightning pulled out a 2-1 win.
It was a particularly sweet victory for Tampa captain Dave Andreychuk. Like Ray Bourque with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, Andreychuk was on a Stanley Cup winner for the first time in a 22-season career. Interestingly, Andreychuk and Bourque had been teammates with the Boston Bruins, and both were traded to Colorado late in the 1999-2000 season. However, Andreychuk spent the following season with the Buffalo Sabres, missing out on Colorado's championship season.