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Vancouver Canucks Vs. Boston Bruins, And The Five Most-Traveled Stanley Cup Finals

When the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins face off in the Stanley Cup Finals this week, they'll be part of the most-traveled Cup Final series in modern history. In 1905, one team topped them.

via Wikipedia
via Wikipedia

In recent years, there's been a lot of travel during the Stanley Cup Finals. In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames traveled 2,291 miles between cities during their seven-game series, and in 2007, the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators traveled 2,355 miles city-to-city. Luckily for the Ducks, they only had to make that trip to the far East one time, winning the Cup in just five games.

But these excursions are nothing compared to some others in history, including what we're about to witness this week between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins, who will travel a whopping 2,504 miles between cities during their battle for 2011's Stanley Cup championship.

Let's take a look at the top five most-traveled battles for Lord Stanley's silver.

5. Vancouver Canucks vs. New York Rangers, 1994 -- 2,429 miles

The last time the Canucks were in the Finals, they made a pretty improbable run to get to that point. They were the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, and after falling down 3-1 to the favored Calgary Flames, all seemed lost. But then, a rally, and ultimately a double overtime Game 7 winner by Pavel Bure pushed the Canucks into the second round.

From that point, they seemed a bit like a team of destiny, knocking off No. 4 Dallas and No. 3 Toronto in the Western playoffs before matching up with the East's top seed, the New York Rangers. And of course, the Rangers were a bit of a team of destiny themselves despite the high-seed killing an Cinderella-like qualities they may have had.

The Rangers crushed the Islanders in the first round, then easily mopped up Washington in Round 2 before a hard-fought seven-gamer against the hated Devils in the Conference Finals. You can probably hear it in your head now thanks to the History Will Be Made commercial running this postseason, but in double overtime of Game 7, Stephane Matteau scored to push the Rangers to the Finals.

The '94 Finals saw the Rangers take a quick 3-1 series lead after Vancouver took Game 1 in overtime. Just like in Round 1, it seemed over for the Canucks. But then, things started to shift a bit. Wins in Game 5 and Game 6 put the Rangers on the ropes, and you know how New York gets when they can smell a team choking.

It wasn't to be, as the Rangers held off the Canucks in the third period and erased a 54-year Cup drought and Mark Messier cemented a legacy in which he'll never buy a beer in New York City again.

4. Vancouver Canucks vs. New York Islanders, 1982 -- 2,448 miles

You're noticing a trend here, aren't you? Vancouver is really far away from everything.

The '82 Canucks went head-to-head against that other New York team, the Islanders, in the midst of their dynasty in the early 80s. There's really no sense in getting into the nitty gritty on how the teams got there. Vancouver had a losing record of 30-33-17 during the regular season, but wound up finishing in second place in the Smythe Division.

The Islanders, meanwhile, were two-time defending Cup champs and had finished the regular season with 118 points, 41 better than Vancouver. They swept them up easily in four games to win their third straight Cup, and would go on to win the next season as well. In the four-straight Cup years from 1980 to '84, the Islanders only lost three Cup Finals games.

3. Los Angeles Kings vs. Montreal Canadiens, 1993 -- 2,469 miles

The last time a Canadian team won the Cup, it was also one of the most-traveled Cup Finals of all time. Led by Wayne Gretzky, the Western champion Kings put up a solid fight against favored Canadiens but ultimately couldn't topple them, as they won their record 24th Cup.

The Kings '92-'93 season very well may have been the most-traveled full season in NHL history, which makes their run to the Finals even more impressive. Not only did the Kings have the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets in their Smythe Division, they also played all Canadian teams during the postseason -- Calgary, Vancouver, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Habs.

2. Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins, 2011 -- 2,504 miles

The Canucks and Bruins will travel further from city-to-city than any other teams in modern NHL history have done during the Cup Finals. We say modern because, well, there's not a team in the Yukon.

1. Ottawa Silver Seven vs. Dawson City Nuggets, January 1905 -- 2,701 miles

We say it's 2,701 miles between Dawson City, a far-off outpost in the middle of Canada's Yukon Territory, and the Nation's Capital of Ottawa, but really, the Nuggets traveled much farther that year.

The Ottawa Hockey Club, nicknamed the Silver Seven (the namesake of SB Nation's Sens' blog, by the way) had held the Cup for a little less than a year after defeating the Montreal Victorias in March 1903 to earn it. Back then, it was a challenge trophy, meaning that the holder had to fend off fights from all comers.

The Nuggets of Dawson City wanted in, so with some funding, they made the journey south and across Canada to Ottawa. Of course, they did part of the trek by dog sled. What else would you expect? The full trip actually spanned over 4,000 miles, with the team riding bicycles, using those dog sleds, hopping on a ship and then finally hitting the rails for the final leg from Vancouver to Ottawa.

They left home in mid-December, and they got to Ottawa just in time for the first game of the best-of-three series on January 13. Asking for a reprieve after a month of traveling in the winter weather, the Ottawa club denied the request before mercilessly pummeling them into the ground, 9-2, in that Game 1.

In the second game, the most-lopsided score in Stanley Cup history, the Silver Seven destroyed the sad Nuggets from little Dawson City by a final score of 23-2. Afterwards, the Silver Seven got drunk and famously kicked the Cup into the Rideau Canal. Surely the Nuggets would have treated that prize, which they starved for a month to have just a chance at playing for, with a little love.

The team from Dawson City stuck around Ontario for a few more weeks to play some other teams (because hey, at that point, why not?). According to an unverified claim on Wikipedia, a few Nuggets players learned on their arrival home that they'd been fired from their Yukon government jobs. Let's just believe that's true.

In 1997, the Ottawa Senators Alumni faced off against the Dawson City Nuggets Alumni in a re-enactment of the '05 Cup challenge. At the new, shiny Corel Centre, despite making the same trip with all the comforts of the late-20th century, the Sens alumni won 18-0. Of course.