The 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs of the National Hockey League (NHL) began on April 11, 2012, after the conclusion of the 2011–12 NHL regular season. These playoffs marked only the second time since the 1996 playoffs in which no Canadian teams advanced past the first round. These playoffs featured the return of the Florida Panthers to the postseason for the first time since the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, one of the longest non-playoff droughts in league history.
The 2012 Stanley Cup Finals started on May 30 and ended on June 11, with the Los Angeles Kings defeating the New Jersey Devils in six games to win their first Stanley Cup title. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, having recorded a 1.41 goals against average, was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. After clinching a postseason spot in their 81st game of the regular season, the Kings became the first eighth seeded team to win the Stanley Cup in NHL history (and the second eighth seed to reach the Cup Finals after the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers), also being the second team to eliminate the first, second and thirds seeds from the playoffs in the same postseason after the 2003–04 Calgary Flames (and the first team to do so in that order). In addition, the Kings became the first team to make the Final undefeated on the road (with their 8-0 record). As the sixth seed in their conference, the Devils were the lowest-seeded team to have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals, breaking a record they held when they won the Cup as a fourth seed in 2000.