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Game 7 history isn't on Penguins' side

Host Lightning on Thursday, but are 2-7 at home

by John Kreiser @jkreiser713 / Managing Editor

The good news for the Pittsburgh Penguins is they extended the Eastern Conference Final by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 in Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

It's possibly bad news that they'll be the home team for Game 7 at Consol Energy Center on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), with the winner going to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Penguins are 7-7 in their 14 Game 7s. Although home teams have won 58.2 percent of the 165 Game 7s in NHL history, the Penguins are 2-7 on their ice. That includes a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round in 2014, Pittsburgh's most recent Game 7.

Pittsburgh has lost its past three Game 7s, all at Consol Energy Center. One of those was a 1-0 loss to the Lightning in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals that ended a series Tampa Bay trailed 3-1. The Penguins haven't won a Game 7 at home since 1995, when they defeated the Washington Capitals 3-0 to win an Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

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Pittsburgh's most recent Game 7 win was historic: The Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 to decide the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, becoming the second team in NHL history to win Game 7 of the Cup Final on the road (Montreal Canadiens, 1971, at Chicago Blackhawks).

This is the second straight year the Lightning have to play Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final on the road after losing Game 6 at home. They couldn't close out the Rangers at Amalie Arena in 2015, but won Game 7 2-0 at Madison Square Garden to advance to the Cup Final for the second time.

That was the second Game 7 for the Lightning last season; they defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 at home to win an Eastern Conference First Round series.

Tampa Bay is 5-1 in Game 7s, including 2-1 on the road. This is the fourth time the Lightning have played a Game 7 in the conference final; they won two of the first three, losing to the Boston Bruins in 2011. Tampa Bay's only Stanley Cup came with a Game 7 win; the Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames 2-1 in 2004.

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