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The importance of Game 2

Thursday, 04.16.2009 / 4:18 PM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By John Dellapina - NHL.com Staff Writer

It has always been my personal opinion that Game 2 is the far more indicative of the opening pair in a best-of-seven series. Basically, if you follow up a Game 1 win with another, you've take a firm grip on a series. If you rebound from a Game 1 loss with a Game 2 win, you've rebooted the series and have momentum. And if you lose Game 2 after losing Game 1, you've dug yourself a deep hole.

Here are the stats:

In NHL best-of-seven series, the winner of Game 2 has gone 381-150 -- winning 71.8 percent of the series. Game 1 winners have gone 367-164 -- a 69.1 percent winning percentage.

Teams that have won both games to go up, 2-0, have gone 254-37 -- 87.2 percent.

Game 2 winners who lost Game 1 have gone 127-113 (52.9 percent). In contrast -- and fairly obviously -- teams that have won Game 1 but lost Game 2 have gone 113-127 (47.1 percent).

As if the stats weren't proof enough there's this anecdotal evidence: Whenever we'd go up to Kevin Lowe after the Rangers lost yet another series-opening playoff game (they lost 10 straight series openers from the '94 EC Final through the 2006 EC Quarter), he'd just laugh and say: "The series doesn't even begin until Game 2." As he won six Cups, I tended to believe him.

By the way, the Rangers won six of those 10 series.
Quote of the Day

He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.

— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft