There will be plenty of players with lots of big-game experience competing when the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings face off Tuesday in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinals (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN)
Each team features players who have enjoyed Stanley Cup victories and Olympic gold.
But no one in this game, likely no one in the NHL, can rival Sharks forward Scott Gomez, who will be participating in the 10th Game 7 of his career.
"It means I'm getting old, I guess," Gomez said after practice Monday. "Someone brought that up the other day and I started thinking about all of them. I couldn't remember most of them."
It's unlikely anyone can rival the big-game experience of the 33-year-old, who posts a 6-3 record in Game 7s played with the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. They include a victory in Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final against the Anaheim Ducks and a Game 7 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2001 Cup Final.
It all adds up to a variety of emotions for the Sharks veteran.
"I'll never forget the worst moment, losing a game 7 [in the Cup Final]," Gomez said. "[Devils president Lou] Lamoriello always said it best. 'When it comes to Game 7, if you can look yourself in the mirror after and know you gave it your all, that's what it's about.' I'll always remember him saying that."
Gomez's considerable experience in Game 7s could prove vitally important on a team featuring a number of players who've been fortunate enough to play in one Game 7, let alone nine. For those younger teammates who haven't played in too many winner-take-all contests, Gomez had some simple advice.
"Don't [stink]," Gomez said, jokingly. "What I was told was don't change your game. Do what got you here. Obviously every emotion is going to be running high. When the game comes we'll be ready. It's exciting for us."
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