by Marc Ciampa
Jussi Markkanen and the Oilers can make history with a win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh Monday night.
After everything that has happened the past few months, it should surprise nobody that the Oilers season has come down to this.
For the 14th time in the 112-year history of the Stanley Cup there will be a seventh and deciding game. On the previous 13 occasions, the home team won 11 of them. Related: Oilers arrive in Raleigh Sunday afternoon
The last team to win the Stanley Cup in a Game 7 on the road was the 1971 Montreal Canadiens, who also overcame a 2-0 series deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks. The only other team to accomplish that feat was the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs have another distinction, being the only team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to ultimately win the Stanley Cup. In 1942, Toronto was trailing Detroit thee games to none but rallied to win the next four games. Their victory came in the first-ever seventh game in Stanley Cup Finals history.
But Edmonton is very familiar with having the odds stacked against them.
The Oilers were the first eighth seed to advance beyond the second round and naturally the third round as well. With one more win, they would become the first eighth seed to win the Stanley Cup.
This will be the first time ever that a seventh game has occurred in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals. In 2003, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 3-0 in the seventh game and in 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated Calgary 2-1 to capture the Cup.
If Mondays game goes into overtime, it would be only the third Game 7 overtime in Stanley Cup Finals history and first since the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in 1954.
Here is a summary of all the previous seventh games in Stanley Cup Final history:
April 18, 1942: Detroit Red Wings 1 at Toronto Maple Leafs 3 –
The first-ever Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 was certainly a memorable one. After Detroit mounted a 3-0 series lead, Toronto stormed back with four straight wins including this one in Game 7.
April 22, 1945: Toronto Maple Leafs 2 at Detroit Red Wings 1 –
Detroit defeated Toronto 1-0 14:16 into overtime in Game 6 to force the deciding match but it was the Leafs who prevailed in the seventh game just one day later.
April 23, 1950: NY Rangers 3 at Detroit Red Wings 4 (2OT) –
This was the first time that the Stanley Cup Finals had ever gone to an overtime in the seventh game. The final four games of this series were played in Detroit and with the Rangers down two games to one heading into Game 4, New York's backs were against the wall. The Rangers won games four and five in overtime but Detroit bounced back to take Game 6 by a score of 5-4. In game seven, the Red Wings' Pete Babando scored 8:31 into the second overtime for the win.
April 16, 1954: Montreal Canadiens 1 at Detroit Red Wings 2 (OT) –
The Red Wings let a 3-1 series lead slip away in this one but recovered for the Game 7 victory. In Game 5, Montreal won 1-0 5:45 into overtime at Detroit and the Habs won Game 6 back in Montreal convincingly by a score of 4-1. 4:29 into the first overtime period, Tony Leswick scored to crown the Red Wings champions in extra time yet again.
April 14, 1955: Montreal Canadiens 1 at Detroit Red Wings 3 –
For the fifth time, a seventh game in the Stanley Cup Finals involved the Detroit Red Wings. In a series where each game was won by the home team, the Wings were glad to have home ice advantage in Game 7. No game in this series was decided by less than two goals.
April 25, 1964: Detroit Red Wings 0 at Toronto Maple Leafs 4 –
After a nine-year hiatus, the Detroit Red Wings found themselves back in the Stanley Cup Finals in a Game 7 situation. The two teams split the first two games in Toronto and then split a pair in Detroit. The Red Wings won a close Game 5 by a score of 2-1 and had an opportunity to put the series away on home ice but Bobby Baun scored his now-legendary goal 1:43 into overtime to send it to a seventh game back in Toronto.
May 1, 1965: Chicago Blackhawks 0 at Montreal Canadiens 4 –
For the second time ever in the Stanley Cup Finals, the home team won every game in a best-of-seven series en route to the Stanley Cup. The series featured three shutouts by Gump Worsley, with the third being the most important.
May 18, 1971: Montreal Canadiens 3 at Chicago Blackhawks 2 –
With a goaltender by the name of Ken Dryden seemingly coming out of nowhere to lead the Canadiens to this improbable victory, this was the last time a road team won the Stanley Cup in a Game 7. Chicago took the first two games of this series but the Habs bounced back to win Game 3 and 4. Chicago won Game 5 by a score of 2-0 and had an opportunity to wrap it up in Game 6 in Montreal, where the Canadiens prevailed 4-3.
May 31, 1987: Philadelphia Flyers 1 at Edmonton Oilers 3 –
In a pattern similar but reversed to this seasons Stanley Cup Final, the Philadelphia Flyers came back from a 3-1 deficit to force the first Game 7 in 16 years. The Oilers were back on their heels after losing Game 5 at home and Game 6 in Philadelphia. However, they managed to bounce back and play a near-perfect game to dispose of the Flyers in Game 7.
June 14, 1994: Vancouver Canucks 2 at NY Rangers 3 –
After splitting the first two games in New York, the Canucks fell apart at home losing both and falling behind three games to one in the series. However, like they had done against the Calgary Flames several rounds earlier, the Canucks found something within themselves to force a Game 7. They won Game 5 in New York 6-3 and took Game 6 by a score of 4-1. In the seventh game they were a Nathan Lafayette cross-bar away from the Cup but it was the Rangers who prevailed, winning their first Cup in 54 years.
June 9, 2001: New Jersey Devils 1 at Colorado Avalanche 3 –
Very similar to the Oilers this season, the Avalanche were down three games to two in their series but managed to turn it all around with a 4-0 win in Game 6 at New Jersey. The one difference is that Ray Bourque and the Avs had Game 7 on home ice. Colorado made the most of their opportunity, taking a 3-1 victory to clinch their second Cup.
June 7, 2003: Anaheim Mighty Ducks 0 at New Jersey Devils 3 –
After New Jersey won the first two games handily at home, Anaheim squeaked out overtime wins on their home ice for Game 3 and 4. The Devils bounced back with a 6-3 win in Game 5 but the Mighty Ducks returned the favour with a 5-2 victory in Game 6. However, New Jersey learned the error of its ways two seasons prior and did not relinquish its opportunity to win in Game 7 this time around. It marked the third time and first since 1965 that the home team won every game in the Stanley Cup Final.
June 7, 2004: Calgary Flames 1 at Tampa Bay Lightning 2 –
Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored in double overtime in Game 6 to defeat the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome and force a seventh and deciding game. In that Game 7, Ruslan Fedotenko scored twice to pace the Lightning to a 2-1 win and their first-ever Stanley Cup.