2003–04 NHL season

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The 2003–04 NHL season was the 87th regular season of the National Hockey League. The thirty teams played 82 games in a new format that increased divisional games from 5 to 6 per team (30 total), conference games from 3 to 4 (32 total), and decreased inter-conference games to at least one per team, with three extra games (18 in total). The Stanley Cup winners were the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the best of seven series 4–3 against the Calgary Flames. This was the first season since the 1969–70 season that teams would wear their dark jerseys at home. For the fourth time in eight years, the all-time record for total shutouts in a season was shattered, as 192 shutouts were recorded. The 2003–04 regular season was also the first one (excluding the lockout-shortened regular season of 1994–95) since 1967–68 in which there was neither a 50-goal scorer, nor a 100-point scorer.

This was the final season that ABC and ESPN televised NHL games. It was also the final NHL season before the 2004–05 NHL lockout, and the final season in which games could end in ties.

Regular season[change | edit source]

Final standings[change | edit source]

Red-shaded team won the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

Orange-shaded team clinched the other conference.

Yellow-shaded teams clinched the other four divisions.

Green-shaded teams clinched the remaining ten playoff berths.

Numbers in brackets indicate position in conference. Division leaders are automatically ordered 1–3. These three, plus the next five teams in the conference standings, earn playoff berths at the end of the season.

Eastern Conference[change | edit source]

Atlantic Division W L T OTL GF GA PTS
Philadelphia Flyers (3) 40 21 15 6 229 186 101
New Jersey Devils (6) 43 25 12 2 213 164 100
New York Islanders (8) 38 29 11 4 237 210 91
New York Rangers (13) 27 40 7 8 206 250 69
Pittsburgh Penguins (15) 23 47 8 4 190 303 58
Northeast Division W L T OTL GF GA PTS
Boston Bruins (2) 41 19 15 7 209 188 104
Toronto Maple Leafs (4) 45 24 10 3 242 204 103
Ottawa Senators (5) 43 23 10 6 262 189 102
Montreal Canadiens (7) 41 30 7 4 208 192 93
Buffalo Sabres (9) 37 34 7 4 220 221 85
Southeast Division W L T OTL GF GA PTS
Tampa Bay Lightning (1) 46 22 8 6 245 192 106
Atlanta Thrashers (10) 33 37 8 4 214 243 78
Carolina Hurricanes (11) 28 34 14 6 172 209 76
Florida Panthers (12) 28 35 15 4 188 221 75
Washington Capitals (14) 23 46 10 3 186 253 59

Western Conference[change | edit source]

Central Division W L T OTL GF GA PTS
Detroit Red Wings (1) 48 21 11 2 255 189 109
St. Louis Blues (7) 39 30 11 2 191 198 91
Nashville Predators (8) 38 29 11 4 216 217 91
Columbus Blue Jackets (14) 25 45 8 4 177 238 62
Chicago Blackhawks (15) 20 43 11 8 188 259 59
Northwest Division W L T OTL GF GA PTS
Vancouver Canucks (3) 43 24 10 5 235 194 101
Colorado Avalanche (4) 40 22 13 7 236 198 100
Calgary Flames (6) 42 30 7 3 200 176 94
Edmonton Oilers (9) 36 29 12 5 221 208 89
Minnesota Wild (10) 30 29 20 3 188 183 83
Pacific Division W L T OTL GF GA PTS
San Jose Sharks (2) 43 21 12 6 219 183 104
Dallas Stars (5) 41 26 13 2 194 175 97
Los Angeles Kings (11) 28 29 16 9 205 217 81
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (12) 29 35 10 8 184 213 76
Phoenix Coyotes (13) 22 36 18 6 188 245 68

Scoring leaders[change | edit source]

Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay 82 38 56 94
Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta 81 41 46 87
Joe Sakic Colorado 81 33 54 87
Markus Naslund Vancouver 78 35 49 84
Marian Hossa Ottawa 81 36 46 82
Patrik Elias New Jersey 82 38 43 81
Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa 77 32 48 80
Cory Stillman Tampa Bay 81 25 55 80
Robert Lang Washington / Detroit 69 30 49 79
Brad Richards Tampa Bay 82 26 53 79

Leading goaltenders[change | edit source]

Note: GP = Games Played; Mins = Minutes Played; W = Wins; L = Losses: OT = Overtime Losses; GA = Goals Allowed; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals Against Average

Player Team GP Mins W L T GA SO SV GAA
Martin Brodeur New Jersey 75 4554 38 26 11 154 11 .917 2.03
Marty Turco Dallas 73 4359 37 21 13 144 9 .913 1.98
Ed Belfour Toronto 59 3444 34 19 6 122 10 .918 2.13
Tomas Vokoun Nashville 73 4221 34 29 10 178 3 .909 2.53
Dan Cloutier Vancouver 60 3539 33 21 6 134 5 .914 2.27

Stanley Cup Playoffs[change | edit source]

Note: All dates in 2004.

The 2004 playoffs were considered to be wide open with no clear favourite. All of the top teams had weaknesses. Tampa Bay and Boston were both young teams with no history of recent postseason success. Detroit, Ottawa, Colorado, and Philadelphia all had major questions in goal. New Jersey was marred by injuries to Scott Stevens and Brian Rafalski, while Vancouver was missing the suspended Todd Bertuzzi.

The first-round Eastern Conference matchups were notable for the number of heated rivalries. The Ottawa Senators met the Toronto Maple Leafs for the fourth time in five years in the always passion-filled Battle of Ontario. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens met in a resumption of the most common of all NHL playoff series, and one which the Canadiens have thoroughly dominated, including an upset win two years prior. The Philadelphia Flyers also played a hated division rival in the New Jersey Devils. The only non-rivalry was the Tampa Bay-New York Islanders series.

The West saw the resumption of the Vancouver-Calgary rivalry, which had been somewhat dormant as the Flames made the playoffs for the first time since 1996. In a less passionate but still interesting matchup, Detroit played division rival Nashville (whom they had struggled against during the regular season) in Nashville's first ever franchise visit to the playoffs. San Jose met the St. Louis Blues, while the always difficult four-five matchup saw Colorado and Dallas meet.

The Calgary Flames, a sixth seed, defeated three straight division champions, the Canucks, the Red Wings and the Sharks to become the first Canadian team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals in ten years, since the Canucks lost to the Rangers in the Finals in 1994. They faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, who defeated the Islanders in five, swept the Canadiens and defeated the Flyers in seven games.

The Flames and the Lightning battled hard in the Stanley Cup Finals, eventually pushing the series to seven games. By game 5, the Flames took the 3–2 series lead back to Calgary, and in game six, a puck appeared to have gone into the net, which would have made the game 3–2, but the goal light did not go on, the referee did not signal that a goal had been scored, and play went on, no goal counted. Extensive replays showed the play was inconclusive. The Lightning would win the game in double overtime, and go on to win the Stanley Cup with a 2–1 win in game seven, with two goals from Ruslan Fedotenko. Brad Richards, with a team-high 25 points in the playoffs, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Playoff bracket[change | edit source]

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
                                     
1  Tampa Bay 4  
8  NY Islanders 1  
  1  Tampa Bay 4  
  7  Montreal 0  
2  Boston 3
7  Montreal 4  
  1  Tampa Bay 4  
Eastern Conference
  3  Philadelphia 3  
3  Philadelphia 4  
6  New Jersey 1  
  3  Philadelphia 4
  4  Toronto 2  
4  Toronto 4
5  Ottawa 3  
  E1  Tampa Bay 4
  W6  Calgary 3
1  Detroit 4  
8  Nashville 2  
  1  Detroit 2
  6  Calgary 4  
2  San Jose 4
7  St. Louis 1  
  2  San Jose 2
Western Conference
  6  Calgary 4  
3  Vancouver 3  
6  Calgary 4  
  2  San Jose 4
  4  Colorado 2  
4  Colorado 4
5  Dallas 1  

Conference Quarterfinals[change | edit source]

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals[change | edit source]

Tampa Bay vs. NY Islanders
Date Away Home OT Score
April 8 NY Islanders Tampa Bay 3 – 0
April 10 NY Islanders Tampa Bay 3 – 0
April 12 Tampa Bay NY Islanders 3 – 0
April 14 Tampa Bay NY Islanders 3 – 0
April 16 NY Islanders Tampa Bay OT 3 – 2
Tampa Bay wins series 4–1
Philadelphia vs. New Jersey
Date Away Home Score
April 8 New Jersey Philadelphia 3 – 2
April 10 New Jersey Philadelphia 3 – 2
April 12 Philadelphia New Jersey 4 – 2
April 14 Philadelphia New Jersey 3 – 0
April 17 New Jersey Philadelphia 3 – 1
Philadelphia wins series 4–1
Boston vs. Montreal
Date Away Home OT Score
April 7 Montreal Boston 3 – 0
April 9 Montreal Boston OT 2 – 1
April 11 Boston Montreal 3 – 2
April 13 Boston Montreal 2OT 4 – 3
April 15 Montreal Boston 5 – 1
April 17 Boston Montreal 5 – 2
April 19 Montreal Boston 2 – 0
Montreal wins series 4–3
Toronto vs. Ottawa
Date Away Home OT Score
April 8 Ottawa Toronto 4 – 2
April 10 Ottawa Toronto 2 – 0
April 12 Toronto Ottawa 2 – 0
April 14 Toronto Ottawa 4 – 1
April 16 Ottawa Toronto 2 – 0
April 18 Toronto Ottawa 2OT 2 – 1
April 20 Ottawa Toronto 4 – 1
Toronto wins series 4–3

Western Conference Quarterfinals[change | edit source]

Colorado vs. Dallas
Date Away Home OT Score
April 7 Dallas Colorado 3 – 1
April 9 Dallas Colorado 5 – 2
April 12 Colorado Dallas OT 4 – 3
April 14 Colorado Dallas 2OT 3 – 2
April 17 Dallas Colorado 5 – 1
Colorado wins series 4–1
San Jose vs. St. Louis
Date Away Home OT Score
April 8 St. Louis San Jose OT 1 – 0
April 10 St. Louis San Jose 3 – 1
April 12 San Jose St. Louis 4 – 1
April 13 San Jose St. Louis 4 – 3
April 15 St. Louis San Jose 3 – 1
San Jose wins series 4–1
Vancouver vs. Calgary
Date Away Home OT Score
April 7 Calgary Vancouver 5 – 3
April 9 Calgary Vancouver 2 – 1
April 11 Vancouver Calgary 2 – 1
April 13 Vancouver Calgary 4 – 0
April 15 Calgary Vancouver 2 – 1
April 17 Vancouver Calgary 3OT 5 – 4
April 19 Calgary Vancouver OT 3 – 2
Calgary wins series 4–3
Detroit vs. Nashville
Date Away Home Score
April 7 Nashville Detroit 3 – 1
April 10 Nashville Detroit 2 – 1
April 11 Detroit Nashville 3 – 1
April 13 Detroit Nashville 3 – 0
April 15 Nashville Detroit 4 – 1
April 17 Detroit Nashville 2 – 0
Detroit wins series 4–2

Conference Semifinals[change | edit source]

Eastern Conference Semifinals[change | edit source]

Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
Date Away Home OT Score
April 23 Montreal Tampa Bay 4 – 0
April 25 Montreal Tampa Bay 3 – 1
April 27 Tampa Bay Montreal OT 4 – 3
April 29 Tampa Bay Montreal 3 – 1
Tampa Bay wins series 4–0
Philadelphia vs. Toronto
Date Away Home OT Score
April 22 Toronto Philadelphia 3 – 1
April 25 Toronto Philadelphia 2 – 1
April 28 Philadelphia Toronto 4 – 1
April 30 Philadelphia Toronto 3 – 1
May 2 Toronto Philadelphia 7 – 2
May 4 Philadelphia Toronto OT 3 – 2
Philadelphia wins series 4–2

Western Conference Semifinals[change | edit source]

Detroit vs. Calgary
Date Away Home OT Score
April 22 Calgary Detroit OT 2 – 1
April 24 Calgary Detroit 2 – 5
April 27 Detroit Calgary 2 – 3
April 29 Detroit Calgary 4 – 2
May 1 Calgary Detroit 1 – 0
May 3 Detroit Calgary OT 0 – 1
Calgary wins series 4–2
San Jose vs. Colorado
Date Away Home OT Score
April 22 Colorado San Jose 2 – 5
April 24 Colorado San Jose 1 – 4
April 26 San Jose 1 0 Colorado 1 – 0
April 28 San Jose Colorado OT 0 – 1
May 1 Colorado San Jose OT 2 – 1
May 4 San Jose Colorado 3 – 1
San Jose wins series 4–2

Conference Finals[change | edit source]

Eastern Conference
Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia
Date Away Home  
May 8 Philadelphia 1 3 Tampa Bay  
May 10 Philadelphia 6 2 Tampa Bay  
May 13 Tampa Bay 4 1 Philadelphia  
May 15 Tampa Bay 2 3 Philadelphia  
May 18 Philadelphia 2 4 Tampa Bay  
May 20 Tampa Bay 4 5 Philadelphia OT
May 22 Philadelphia 1 2 Tampa Bay  
Tampa Bay wins series 4–3
and Prince of Wales Trophy
Western Conference
San Jose vs. Calgary
Date Away Home  
May 9 Calgary 4 3 San Jose OT
May 11 Calgary 4 1 San Jose  
May 13 San Jose 3 0 Calgary  
May 15 San Jose 4 2 Calgary  
May 17 Calgary 3 0 San Jose  
May 19 San Jose 1 3 Calgary  
Calgary wins series 4–2 and
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl

Finals[change | edit source]

Tampa Bay vs. Calgary
Date Away Home  
May 25 Calgary 4 1 Tampa Bay  
May 27 Calgary 1 4 Tampa Bay  
May 29 Tampa Bay 0 3 Calgary  
May 31 Tampa Bay 1 0 Calgary  
June 3 Calgary 3 2 Tampa Bay OT
June 5 Tampa Bay 3 2 Calgary 2OT
June 7 Calgary 1 2 Tampa Bay  
Tampa Bay wins series
4–3 and Stanley Cup
Brad Richards (Tampa Bay)
wins Conn Smythe Trophy

Scoring leaders[change | edit source]

Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Brad Richards Tampa Bay 23 12 13 25
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay 23 9 15 24
Jarome Iginla Calgary 26 13 9 22
Fredrik Modin Tampa Bay 23 8 11 19
Craig Conroy Calgary 26 6 11 17
Vincent Lecavalier Tampa Bay 23 9 7 16
Keith Primeau Philadelphia 18 9 7 16
Martin Gelinas Calgary 26 8 6 14
Vincent Damphousse San Jose 17 7 7 14
Alexei Zhamnov Philadelphia 18 4 10 14

NHL awards[change | edit source]

The NHL Awards presentation took place in Toronto.

Presidents' Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy: Tampa Bay Lightning
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Calgary Flames
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Bryan Berard, Chicago Blackhawks
Calder Memorial Trophy: Andrew Raycroft, Boston Bruins
Conn Smythe Trophy: Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lighting
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Kris Draper, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Jack Adams Award: John Tortorella, Tampa Bay Lightning
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils
King Clancy Memorial Trophy: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lester B. Pearson Award: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lester Patrick Trophy: Mike Emrick, John Davidson, Ray Miron
Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames;
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers;
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning;
Marek Malik, Vancouver Canucks
Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award: Dwayne Roloson, Minnesota Wild
Vezina Trophy: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
William M. Jennings Trophy: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

All-Star teams[change | edit source]

First Team   Position   Second Team
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils G Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils D Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
Zdeno Chara, Ottawa Senators D Bryan McCabe, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche C Mats Sundin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning RW Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Markus Naslund, Vancouver Canucks LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers

First games[change | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 2003–04 (listed with their first team):

Last games[change | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 2003–04 (listed with their last team):

References[change | edit source]