There are certainly very exciting events and moments in every sport out there. There’s a lot of excitement that builds up for the Daytona 500, the final round of the Masters and even the Superbowl.
But with all due respect to those events, they’re guaranteed to happen each and every year.
What makes Game 7 so special? Although unlikely, there are no guarantees you will see one every year.
“In Game 7 you’ve been to each others’ buildings three times and you develop a hatred for the other team and it’s just something where both teams just empty the tank,” said Flyers’ defenseman Sean O’Donnell. “I’ve been on both sides of it and it’s a special feeling when you come in with the win when you know you battled another team for over twenty one periods and you come out on top.”
|The Flyers pushed the Lightning to the brink by forcing a Game 7 back in 2004. |
Although Flyers fans got to experience via big-screen last year’s historic Game 7 at Boston, they will be able to see live and in-person a Game 7 at home for the first time in over eight years.
As much of treat it is for all hockey fans out there, you shouldn’t be surprised that the Game 7 combatants think just as highly of playing in hockey’s ultimate rubber-match.
“Anytime something is harder to win it makes it that much more gratifying,” said Flyers defenseman Matt Carle
. “To know that you’ve battled for six games in the series and now it’s come down to one game – it makes it that much more special and this will be my third game. I don’t know how many other guys have played in but they’re games you don’t forget and there’s a reason for that.”
While you might certainly find players who have only played in one or two Game 7’s in their career, you’d be hard-pressed to find any hockey player who doesn’t want to play in a seventh and decisive game.
“I mean it’s one of the reasons why we play hockey,” said Claude Giroux
, who leads the Flyers in scoring in the series. “It’s so exciting and you just dream of scoring an overtime winner in Game 7 and I think guys are pretty pumped up.”
“It’s just that win or go home aspect of it,” said James van Riemsdyk
. “We play like that and obviously in the playoffs and it gets ramped up that much more. It’s an exciting game to play.”
Lucky enough to be a part of a Game 7 last year, van Riemsdyk, like almost every other professional hockey player has more than just playing memories of famous Game 7’s throughout history.”
“The ’94 Rangers when they won the Stanley Cup and I went to game seven Devils-Mighty Ducks in the Stanley Cup Final, so those are pretty cool games to watch and that’s hockey at its best.”
One man who has been on both ends of a seventh game is veteran D-man Sean O’Donnell.
“There’s no second chance. The stakes are elevated – the fans know it, the players know it, the organizations know it that it is win or go home.”
|Joffrey Lupul scored the game-winning-goal in OT vs. Washington back in 2008. |
O’Donnell has played in four Game 7’s, going 2-2, but one in particular has special meaning despite the outcome.
“I was fortunate enough to play in Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final. We didn’t win but I was in New Jersey when Colorado won and Bourque finally got his Cup and I was on the other end of it. Having a Game 7 of that magnitude was a huge thing and even though we didn’t win it was still a pretty special moment.”
There have certainly been special Game 7’s in Flyers’ history and while Danny Briere
recalls Ron Hextall’s famous play in Game 7 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Final with the Edmonton Oilers, another series stands out in his mind more than anything.
“The other Game 7 that I remember, that is always going to stay with me and the reason why he became one of my favorite all time players is the Washington–NY Islanders when it went to quadruple overtime.”
The game Briere is referring to is Game 7 of the 1987 Patrick Division Semifinals between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders on Apr. 18, 1987 when Pat LaFontaine scored the game-winning-goal in the fourth overtime to give the Islanders the win.
“When he scored late in the morning, I was still up in the morning watching that game. Those are memories that stay with you a long time. After that, you grow up and you always dream about being in those situations.”
Flyers fans aren’t hoping that Tuesday’s game doesn’t go four overtimes, they would much rather prefer something like a 6-1 route against the Toronto Maple Leafs just like their Game 7 back in 2003 - the last time a Game 7 was played in Philadelphia.
Regardless, Flyers fans should cherish what Tuesday brings. This game is something special, something that comes around every once in a while and something you definitely don’t want to miss.