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Game Seven: A History

It is a great night to be a hockey fan, as there are no fewer than three game sevens tonight.

The New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers, the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche host the Minnesota Wild to end the first round of the NHL playoffs.

Here's a couple of interesting statistics for you:

  • There have been 149 game 7s in NHL playoff history.
  • 105 of those have come since 1987 when all playoff series became best of 7 affairs.
  • That is 105 series out of 390. In other words, 27% of playoff series since 1987 have gone to game 7.
  • 25 times has a team trailing the series 3 games to 1 complete the comeback and win game 7.
  • Only 3 times has a team trailing the series 3 games to 0 comeback to win game 7.
  • Detroit and Boston have both played in 24 games 7s in their histories, the most of any teams. Detroit is 14-10 and Boston is 13-11.
  • The all time records of the teams playing game 7 tonight: NYR (6-5) vs PHI (9-6), SJ (5-3) vs LA (4-4) and COL (4-5) vs MIN (2-0)
  • Colorado's record improves to 6-6 when you include the 2-1 record from the Quebec Nordiques.
  • Carolina (4-0) joins Minnesota as the only undefeated teams in game 7 history, mind you the Hurricanes were 0-2 when they were known as the Hartford Whalers
  • The Winnipeg Jets (including their days as the Atlanta Thrashers), Columbus and Nashville have never played in game 7.
  • 16 times the Stanley Cup has been decided in game 7. Two of those games went to overtime. In 1950 Detroit beat the New York Rangers in double overtime. Detroit did the deed again in 1954, defeating the Montreal Canadiens in the first overtime.
I do not have an updated list of all time leaders strictly for game 7s. As of 2007 the all time leading game 7 goal scorers were:
  • Glenn Anderson (7)
  • Trevor Linden (6)
  • Wayne Gretzky (6)
  • Wendel Clark (6)
The all time leading point scorers strictly in game 7s were:
  • Doug Gimour (13)
  • Trevor Linden (12)
  • Jaromir Jagr (10)
Remember, this is as of 2007 and Jagr could have moved up this list.

The all time leaders in game 7s played in:
  • Patrick Roy (11)
  • Doug Gilmour (11)
  • Scott Stevens (11)

Here's a look at TSN's Top Ten game 7s in history:


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