If you have to play a Game 7, history says it's a lot better to play it at home -- unless the game goes into overtime.
Since the NHL adopted the best-of-7 format in 1939, there have been 123 that have gone to a seventh game. Of those, the home team has won 78 -- a .634 winning percentage.
Of those 123 series, 30 have been decided in overtime. In the last one, the Washington Capitals
lost 3-2 to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers
last April 22 on a power-play goal by Joffrey Lupul
at 6:06 to decide their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. In contrast to home teams' dominance in Game 7s, the 30 overtime games have been split 15-15, with road teams going 11-4 since 1990.
The only other time the Capitals overcame a 3-1 deficit in games and advanced to the next round was 1988, when Dale Hunter
's overtime goal gave Washington a 5-4 victory over Philadelphia in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Semifinal. A total of 20 clubs in NHL history have overcome 3-1 series deficits, most recently the Montreal Canadiens
against the Boston Bruins
in a 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.
Devils left wing Patrik Elias
and Rangers center Chris Drury
have scored two game-winning goals each in a Game 7, tied with San Jose Sharks
right wing Claude Lemieux
for the most among active players. Elias scored with 2:32 remaining in a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia in the 2000 Eastern Conference Final and in a 5-1 victory against Toronto in the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Drury's goals helped the Colorado Avalanche
eliminate the Los Angeles Kings
in 2001 and 2002.
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur
played his ninth career Game 7, second behind Patrick Roy
(13) on the all-time list. Curtis Joseph
, now with Toronto, also has nine career Game 7 appearances, but only seven were starts -- he made two relief appearances
Of the players who dressed for the two Game 7s on Thursday, Carolina forward Ray Whitney
is the only one to score in overtime of a Game 7. On May 19, 1995, Whitney's goal at 1:54 of the second extra period gave the San Jose Sharks
a 5-4 victory at Calgary in the Western Conference Quarterfinal.