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The Stanley Cup has an essence immortalized through history. Regular seasons exhaust athletes chasing a dream, hoisting the Stanley Cup as a champion. A sport where cultures collide and compete, hockey is an international sport that has its postseason during the NBA Playoffs, another internationalized sport. As Game 7s are popularly known in hockey, the NBA has had a storied history as well. Living a sport that constantly involves sub-par temperatures can wear many athletes out throughout the season.
No matter the playoff format, the NHL started a new one this season after conference realignment, the Stanley Cup continuously holds recognizable history by its name alone. Game 7 has that “win or go home” intensity that can be felt by the home crowd.
Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Whether it is the 1939 Semifinal matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs or the 2014 Opening Round matchup between the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche, Game 7s in the National Hockey League have always brought intensity to the playoff atmosphere.
Notable Game 7 Statistics and Standings
|Detroit has played the most Game 7s (14-10, 0.583),|
|Montréal has the best win percentage of an Original Six team (13-9, 0.591),|
|Philadelphia has the best win percentage of a non-Original Six team (9-6, 0.600)|
|Minnesota has the best win percentage of all teams (2-0, 1.000)|
Stanley Cup Final
Only 4 teams have won a Game 7 on the road in the Stanley Cup Final (Toronto – 1945, Montréal – 1971, Pittsburgh – 2009, Boston – 2011), but the difference in level of competition may be slimmer than ever before.
The first instance of a Game 7 Stanley Cup Final was in 1942 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings; Detroit was up 3 games to 0 over Toronto but the Maple Leafs won 4 straight to defeat the Red Wings in Toronto 4 games to 3.
3 years later, Detroit saw themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals against Toronto once again, with Detroit holding home-ice. The Red Wings lost their first 3, won the next 3, and lost Game 7, making the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs the first team to win the Stanley Cup in a Game 7 on the road.
In 1950, Detroit defeated Toronto in Game 7 of the semifinals, and the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The 4-3 2 OT victory for Detroit was the longest game in Game 7 history. Other historical Game 7s have occurred over the years, and there will be more worth remembering as time goes on.
Game 7 Scenarios in 2014 NHL Playoffs
The Colorado Avalanche, the team going from worst in the league in 2012 to division winner (#2 in the Western Conference) in 2013, hosting the Minnesota Wild, a Wild Card team.
The Los Angeles Kings, after trailing 3 games to 0, force a Game 7 against their rival San Jose Sharks in a proud battle for California.
The Philadelphia Flyers are looking to extend their season against the New York Rangers by winning Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center; winner of this series will play the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The winner of the Wild vs Avalanche series will play the Chicago Blackhawks, and the winner of the Kings vs Sharks series will play the Anaheim Ducks.
The New York Rangers needed a Game 7 to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
The Los Angeles Kings were forced to a Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks but won in OT to win the Western Conference Finals.