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Blackhawks, Kings each have good Game 7 history

by John Kreiser

The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks each have some history on their side as they prepare for Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, to be played Sunday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Not only will the Blackhawks have more than 21,000 fans rooting them on, they'll have the precedent of 91 wins by home teams in 155 Game 7s since the best-of-7 format was adopted in 1939. That includes Chicago's 2-1 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals, the Blackhawks' most-recent Game 7.

The Blackhawks are 6-5 in Game 7s, 5-2 at home. They've won their past four Game 7s in their building since losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the 1971 Stanley Cup Final at Chicago Stadium.

Los Angeles has won two Game 7s in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, each on the road and each in convincing fashion. The Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-1 to complete a comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in the Western Conference First Round, then knocked off the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 in the second round to advance to the conference final.

This is the seventh time this spring the Kings will be playing an elimination game; they've won each of the first six.

Home teams have won 59 percent of the 155 Game 7s in NHL history (91-64), but visiting teams have thrived in recent years. In these playoffs, road teams are 5-1 in Game 7s and are 17-11 since 2004.

Los Angeles is 6-4 in Game 7s and has won three in a row in the past two years. The Kings are 4-3 on the road, including 2-0 this year. They won the only Game 7 they've played in a conference final by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road in 1993.

Each team will be trying to make some history.

The Blackhawks are trying to become the second team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win a conference final. The 2000 New Jersey Devils are the only team to do so; they won the final three games against the Philadelphia Flyers, including a Game 7 victory at Philadelphia.

The Blackhawks are trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in consecutive years after rallying to eliminate the Red Wings last spring. That was the first time Chicago had come back to win a series after losing three of the first four games.

Los Angeles is the third team to open the Stanley Cup Playoffs by playing three consecutive seven-game series. A victory would make the Kings the first team to advance to the Final by winning three straight Game 7s; the 2002 Colorado Avalanche and 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs lost in the deciding game of their conference final series.

There's some individual history on the line.

Los Angeles forwards Marian Gaborik, Justin Williams and Mike Richards each come into the game against Chicago with a 6-0 record in Game 7s. Williams has six goals and 12 points in those games; he's one short of the NHL record for goals (Glenn Anderson) and points (Doug Gilmour) in Game 7s.

A victory by the Kings will make Darryl Sutter the winningest Game 7 coach in NHL history. He is 6-3 in deciding games, including 3-0 with the Kings. Sutter shares the record with Scotty Bowman and Pat Burns. Sutter will be taking part in his 10th Game 7, matching the mark held by Claude Julien and Mike Keenan.

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