Breaking Down the Top NHL Rivalries of All Time
By Penelope Trent - July 15, 2023

The National Hockey League (NHL) has seen its fair share of intense rivalries throughout its history. From on-ice battles to heated exchanges between players, rivalries add an extra level of excitement to the sport. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top NHL rivalries of all time and what made them so memorable.

One of the most iconic rivalries in NHL history was between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. These two Original Six teams have faced off against each other over 700 times and have built up a strong dislike for one another. In the 1970s, these two teams faced each other in several playoff series, with the Canadiens winning most of them. The rivalry was marked by physical play and aggressive behavior, with legendary players like Ken Dryden and Bobby Orr contributing to the intensity.

Getty Images/ National Hockey League/ Francois Lacasse

Another legendary rivalry in the NHL was between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames. These two teams, located just a few hours apart, faced each other in several memorable playoff series during the 1980s. The Battle of Alberta was characterized by rough play and players pushing the limits of what was allowed on the ice. Players like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Lanny McDonald only added to the intensity of this rivalry.

A more recent rivalry in the NHL is between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. This rivalry has its roots in the 1990s when the Penguins dominated the regular season but were unable to advance past the Capitals in the playoffs. In the early 2000s, the rivalry was rekindled as the two teams faced off against each other in several playoff series. With star players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin, these matchups have been highly anticipated by fans and have often resulted in heated exchanges and physical play on the ice.

In conclusion, the NHL has a rich history of intense rivalries that have added to the excitement of the sport. From the Original Six teams to more recent matchups, these rivalries have created memories that will be remembered for years to come.