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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.
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