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Will a Canadian team win the Stanley Cup?

The Canadian people have long been without a championship in the sport they created. Sure, they have enjoyed some recent gold medals at the Olympic Games, with the best of the bunch coming in Vancouver. Still, the Stanley Cup has eluded the good people of Canada, with the last Canadian-based team winning the trophy in 1993.

That year, the Montreal Canadiens defeated Wayne Gretzky, Barry Melrose and the Los Angeles Kings in five quick games. It was nothing new for Montreal, giving it a 23rd Stanley Cup title. The Canadiens have not been back to the Finals since.

Since then, there have been some close calls. The Calgary Flames made a Cinderella run to the Finals in 2004, losing in seven heartbreaking games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Some Calgary fans will still argue the Cup should have been theirs after a controversial no-goal in the latter stages of Game 6.

Two years later, it was the Edmonton Oilers coming out of the Western Conference as the eighth seed. Edmonton pushed the favorite-Carolina Hurricanes to the limit, but also fell short in seven contests. The Ottawa Senators had the next crack at breaking the streak but were hammered by the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, before the Vancouver Canucks broke their country’s heart with a shocking seven-game loss to the Boston Bruins in 2011.

So will 2015 finally be the year when a Canadian team breaks the dry spell?

It certainly would seem Canada has reason to hope, although not of its seven teams are favorites. The Canadiens are the best of the bunch, sitting first in the Atlantic Division with 74 points. Montreal is the only Canadian team assured of making the postseason, although Vancouver and the Winnipeg Jets are also in playoff position at the moment.

Calgary is tied with Vancouver for third in the Pacific Division, a guaranteed playoff spot. Winnipeg is also trying to settle the roster down after major upheaval, having dealt star Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres. Kane, who is slated for season-ending shoulder surgery, brought back a haul of Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers and a first-round pick in 2015. Winnipeg also gave up young defenseman Zach Bogosian.

There are also some afterthoughts who are already all but home for the summer, including the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. For these three teams, getting anywhere near the Stanley Cup Finals is going to be a long, hard journey over the next few years.

Canada has been close over the past decade. Perhaps the Canadiens can make a big run and emerge from the East. Maybe Vancouver, Calgary or Winnipeg can write an incredible tale of do-you-believe-it and raise the Cup. One thing is clear; the rest of the season should be a blast.

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