BLACKHAWKS at DUCKS
TV: NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Best-of-7-series is tied 3-3
The Anaheim Ducks will try to avoid losing in a Game 7 for the third consecutive season and advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since it won the Cup in 2007 with a win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
The Ducks have lost Game 7s at home the past two seasons, to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Second Round last season and the Detroit Red Wings in the first round in 2013. Anaheim looked nervous and tentative in both of those games and in a 5-2 loss in Game 6 on Wednesday.
"We can learn from that," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "That’s the biggest thing. I always believed that you learn a lot from losing. That’s what we want to do, obviously, [Saturday] going into that game, is have that mindset to play our game."
Anaheim has used anger as a motivating tactic in the series, particularly in a 5-4 overtime win in Game 5. With so much on the line, though, the Ducks have talked about using those emotions properly in a frenzied atmosphere that they earned through clinching home-ice advantage during the regular season.
"Everybody’s going to be jumping right off the hop," Anaheim right wing Corey Perry said. "The crowd’s going to be into it. All those things you can use to your advantage. But you can’t go over on top of what you have to do. You still have to play hockey. You still have to keep your emotions in check."
Chicago, which won the Cup in 2010 and 2013, has the edge in Stanley Cup Playoff experience and success in Game 7s. Blackhawks players are a combined 29-35 in Game 7s and the Ducks are 7-29. Chicago center Brad Richards is 7-0 in his career.
"We’ve been talking about … experience, kind of re-living some big games that guys in the locker room have been a part of and in their past and in their careers," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "That’s definitely one of the things we can draw from and use as fuel in some way for [Saturday] night."
The Blackhawks, like the Ducks, are motivated by their past, having lost in Game 7 to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Final last season. Chicago wasn’t keen on talking about that loss so much as the second chance.
"One of the greatest things in sports is a Game 7 for an opportunity to go the Stanley Cup Final," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "We’re excited. I thought we had good energy [Friday] in practice. We’re looking forward to getting up there and playing. It’s going to be a lot of fun."
The team that has scored first has won every game of the series. In NHL history, teams that score first in Game 7 have won more than 70 percent of the time.
The winner will advance to play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Cup Final, which begins Wednesday. Tampa Bay defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 on Friday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.