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Game 7 Provides A New Challenge for Golden Knights

Vegas can look to past champions for Game 7 inspiration

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights /

On Tuesday night at SAP Center, the Vegas Golden Knights will take the ice for Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks with a ticket to the second round on the table.

Vegas reached the Stanley Cup Final last season without playing a Game 7 and was 3-0 in games where they could eliminate their opponent. The Golden Knights only played one game with their backs against the wall and that came in Game 5 of the fourth round when Washington won the Stanley Cup.

Though Vegas has surrendered a 3-1 series lead to cause a Game 7 against San Jose, it can look at each of the last six Stanley Cup champions to see winning those close-out games in a series are all part of the journey.

Before reaching the Final, Washington knocked out the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games during the Eastern Conference Final. The Capitals became the sixth team in as many years to survive at least one Game 7 en route to the Stanley Cup.

In 2017, Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame Game 7's in the second and third rounds on their way to their second title in a row. In 2016, Pittsburgh notched a 2-1 victory against Tampa Bay in the final game of the Eastern Conference Final to reach the Cup Final.

During the 2015 Western Conference Final, the Chicago Blackhawks overcame a 3-2 series deficit to defeat the Anaheim Ducks in seven games on their way to the Stanley Cup.

In 2014, the Los Angeles Kings erased a 3-0 series deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks in seven games to begin their quest for their cup. They also knocked out the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks in seven games in each of the next two series, respectively.

When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013, they had to climb out of a 3-1 hole in the second round to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7.

Los Angeles won it all in 2012 without playing a Game 7 during the playoffs. One year earlier, when the Boston Bruins were crowned champions, they had to defeat Montreal, Tampa Bay and Vancouver all in seven-game series.

While the Golden Knights will play its first Game 7 as a franchise, 10 players have played in those series-deciding contests. In four such contests in his career, Paul Stastny has posted an impressive eight points (4G, 4A) including a three-point showing in the second-round last season as a member of the Winnipeg Jets against the Nashville Predators. He's the only Vegas skater with more than one Game 7 under his belt. Nick Holden, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone have each scored one goal in their respective contests. Fleury is 3-3 in Game 7's with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

The path to the Stanley Cup can only be marched by one team each season and the trail is rarely easily traversed. The Golden Knights will look to take a step toward the ultimate goal in Game 7 in San Jose on Tuesday night.

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