-- The sports world will be focused on TD Garden in Boston Friday night as the Boston Bruins
and Philadelphia Flyers
face off in a winner-take-all Game 7 showdown to decide the Eastern Conference Semifinal series (7 p.m., ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).
The winner of Friday's game between the sixth-seeded Bruins and seventh-seeded Flyers will advance to the Eastern Conference Final and have home-ice advantage against the #8 seed Montreal Canadiens
The Flyers will attempt to complete the monumental comeback that has been achieved just twice in NHL history -- to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games. The Toronto Maple Leafs
overcame an 0-3 deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings
in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final and the New York Islanders
did the same against the Pittsburgh Penguins
in a 1975 quarter-final series.
Such a comeback is a rarity in the NHL -- the two successful clubs represent just 1.2% of the 161 clubs that have attempted it -- as well as in the other major professional sports leagues. Just one club in the history of Major League Baseball has done it, the Boston Red Sox in 2004 against the New York Yankees, and no club in the National Basketball Association has accomplished the feat.
The Bruins, meanwhile, are in quest of their first berth in the Conference Finals since 1992. They will take to the TD Garden ice exactly one year after hosting Carolina in Game 7 of their 2009 Conference Semifinal series, won by the Hurricanes on an overtime goal by Scott Walker
Bruins forward Mark Recchi
, 42, will be making his eighth career Game 7 appearance, the most among players on both clubs. Neither starting goaltender, rookie Tuukka Rask
for the Bruins and Michael Leighton
for the Flyers, has appeared in an NHL seventh game. The Norris Trophy-winning 'twin tower' defensemen in the series, Boston's 6-9, 255-lb. Zdeno Chara
and Philadelphia's 6-6, 220-lb. Chris Pronger
, are a combined 1-9 in Game 7s (Chara 0-4, Pronger 1-5).
The Bruins trailed less than 1% of the time in their victories (1:39 out of 193:52 in Games 1-3), while the Flyers trailed just under 2% of the time in their wins (3:29 out of 194:40 in Games 4-6).
Overall, 132 playoff series have gone to seven games since the NHL introduced the best-of-seven format in 1939. The home team has won 80 (.606), although road clubs are 3-0 in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 8-4 since 2008.