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The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL)The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference. The Avalanche play their home games at Ball Arena, which they share with the NBA's Denver Nuggets and Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League. Founded in 1972 as the Quebec Nordiques, the team was one of the charter franchises of the World Hockey Association. The franchise joined the NHL in 1979 as a result of the NHL–WHA merger. Following the 1994–95 season, they were sold to the COMSAT Entertainment Group and relocated to Denver. During their first season in Denver, the Avalanche won the Pacific Division and went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche are the first major professional sports championship a Denver-based team brought to the city. In the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils in seven games to win their second championship. In the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games to win their third championship. As a result, they remain the only active NHL team that has won all of their appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche have won eleven division titles since relocating to Denver (and set the league record for most consecutive division titles at nine in a row from 1995 to 2003; one in Quebec, the rest in Colorado), and qualified for the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons after relocation; this streak ended in 2007.
The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL)The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They are one of three NHL teams located in the New York metropolitan area; the others being the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. Founded in 1926 by Tex Rickard, the Rangers are one of the Original Six teams that competed in the NHL before its 1967 expansion, along with the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. The team attained success early on under the guidance of Lester Patrick, who coached a team containing Frank Boucher, Murray Murdoch, and Bun and Bill Cook to Stanley Cup glory in 1928, making them the first NHL franchise in the United States to win the trophy. The team would then go onto win two additional Stanley Cups in 1933 and 1940. Following this initial grace period, the franchise struggled between the 1940s and 1960s, wherein playoff appearances and successes were infrequent. The team enjoyed a mini-renaissance in the 1970s, where they made the Stanley Cup finals twice, losing to the Bruins in 1972 and the Canadiens in 1979. The Rangers subsequently embraced a rebuild for much of the 1980s and early 1990s, which eventually paid dividends in 1994, where the team, led by Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, and Mike Richter, captured their fourth Stanley Cup. The team was unable to duplicate that success in the years that followed, and entered into another period of mediocrity. They endured a franchise-record seven-year postseason drought from 1998 to 2005 and languished for the majority of the 2000s before enjoying another period of prosperity after the 2004–05 NHL Lockout. After the arrival of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers thrived, missing the playoffs just once between 2006 and 2017. They reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014, falling to the Los Angeles Kings in five games. Several former members of the Rangers have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, four of whom—Buddy O'Connor, Chuck Rayner, Andy Bathgate, and Messier—have won the Hart Memorial Trophy while playing for the team.