ANAHEIM -- Patrick Eaves didn't know what his personal record in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was until a member of the media told him Sunday morning at Honda Center.
He did know that he played in several (four), and that experience is supplemented by the many he played out in his mind during his childhood in Fairbault, Minn. Eaves' Detroit Red Wings will face the Anaheim Ducks here Sunday night and the winner will advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.
Both teams have several young players who will be playing in a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs for the first time. Detroit coach Mike Babcock's message on that matter is clear, and alluded to what Eaves meant when he mentioned all those Game 7s as a kid.
"You've got to excited to play on this stage," Babcock said. "You grow up dreaming about it, scoring the winning goal in overtime. Anybody who's been involved in hockey knew who they were and who you tried to emulate at the time. You've done it a million times. Just play the game.
"You spend your whole life growing up -- like for me it was Leaf Rapids, Manitoba, road hockey games, I was always Bobby Orr. They were the team, and I loved Bobby Orr. You're always the guy scoring the winning goal in overtime. You've done it your whole life, so just go do it."