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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Gagne, Boucher discuss this year's Game 7s

Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 1:42 PM

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Even NHL players and coaches can turn into fans during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lightning forward Simon Gagne and coach Guy Boucher had some free time in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, so they both watched the Sabres and Flyers and Canucks and Blackhawks battle it out in decisive Game 7s.

They talked about the excitement of watching those games and how these four Games 7s in the opening round are a sign that there isn't much difference between playoff teams in terms of who is better and who is worse.

"I think what we're seeing is what everyone's been talking about -- we've got parity in the League right now," Boucher said. "Anybody can beat you. If you finish first or eighth, it doesn't really make a difference. We can see now that teams can win in the other team's rink. It comes down to overtime. Every team you meet will beat you if you're a little off. You've got one more power play, that makes a difference. You have one injury, they don't. It's such a fine line, and that's what you see in the playoffs.

"I just think that with the parity now and team's battling since January like it's playoffs, you come to the playoffs and everybody's ready."

Gagne said he went to bed before Alex Burrows won it for the Canucks in overtime, but soaked in enough of the early game that saw his former team vanquish the Sabres in Philadelphia.

"It's great. It's fun to watch," Gagne said. "You're more of a fan than a player. But at the same time, you know you have to play a Game 7 the next day. It shows that hockey is getting better and better every year. There's better balance around the League. You never what can happen in those games."

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery