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Best Stanley Cup Game 7s Ever

Rob Joyce
June 12, 2019 - 3:15 pm
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The hockey season ends on Wednesday. The Bruins used a phenomenal road performance over the weekend in a 5-1 victory in St. Louis, tying the series at three games apiece and forcing a decisive Game 7 at TD Garden for the right to the Stanley Cup. It would be Boston’s seventh Cup, and first since 2011, while the Blues have never won a championship in the team’s 50 years.

Overall it is the 17th Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final history, and the first since Boston beat Vancouver in 2011. Of the first 16, which ones were the best? Here are the five Game 7s that standout above the rest:

5) 2004 – Lightning vs. Flames:

A 1-0 Tampa Bay win in Game 4 tied the series at two, Calgary won in overtime in Game 5, then in Game 6 in overtime saw a puck maybe, possibly, perhaps cross the goal line? Flames fans say it was in and the Cup should have been won. Instead, it was ruled no-goal, the Lightning won in double OT and we were off to Game 7 in Tampa.

Ruslan Fedotenko scored in the first and second periods, giving the Lightning a 2-0 lead through two. Craig Conroy got Calgary on the board midway through the third and, despite doubling up Tampa in shots in the final frame, couldn’t add an equalizer, giving the Bolts their first (and to this point, only) Stanley Cup.

4) 1971 – Canadiens vs. Black Hawks:

After the home team won each of the first six games in the series, it looked like the trend would continue when Chicago scored the game’s first two goals at Chicago Stadium in Game 7. Instead, Montreal had a nine-minute span over two periods that ultimately won them the Cup. Jacques Lemaire made it a 2-1 game at the 14:18 mark of the second, Henri Richard tied it with 1:40 left in the period, then added what became the game-winner just 2:34 into the third, giving Montreal a 3-2 victory.

3) 1994 – Rangers vs. Canucks:

After Mark Messier’s guarantee in Game 6 of the conference final, followed by the famous “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!” overtime goal in Game 7, many thought the Rangers would ride the wave into a Finals victory over the Canucks with relative ease, especially considering Vancouver was the seven-seed out West. Jumping out to a 3-1 series lead, though, the Rangers saw the Canucks fight back, winning the next two contests 6-3 and 4-1 to force a decisive seventh game at Madison Square Garden.

A summation of the series as a whole, New York jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead through one period before the Canucks’ Trevor Linden scored a shorthanded goal to cut the deficit in half. Mark Messier’s power play goal made it a 3-1 game through 40 minutes, but again Linden lit the lamp early in the third, making all of New York hold its collective breath for the final 15 minutes. Nathan LaFayette hit the post at one point, the Rangers staved off three defensive zone faceoffs in the final 45 seconds, and the 54-year drought ended.

2) 1954 – Red Wings vs. Canadiens:

Down 3-1 in the series, Montreal twice staved off elimination, winning 1-0 in overtime in Game 5 and 4-1 in Game 6 to force a do-or-die situation in Montreal Forum. In Game 7, the Habs scored in the first period, the Wings tied it up early in the second, and that was it for regulation. In overtime tied at one, Tony Leswick and his six regular season goals won it at the 4:29 mark when his shot deflected off of goalie Doug Harvey’s glove and into the net for a 2-1 Wings victory.

1) 1950 – Red Wings vs. Rangers:

Even 70 years later, it is still the standard by which all Stanley Cup Game 7s are judged. Games 4 and 5 both went to overtime, both going the way of New York, while Detroit forced Game 7 with a 5-4 victory the night before in Game 6, even without Gordie Howe, who missed the entire series after suffering serious head and face injuries earlier in the postseason.

The Rangers scored a pair of power play goals in the first period, the Wings answered with two of their own in the second, before the two alternated goals later in the frame. It stayed a 3-3 game through regulation, making it the first Stanley Cup Final Game 7 to go to overtime. Though Detroit dominated, it stayed 3-3 as the teams played a second OT, where the Rangers’ Don Raleigh saw his breakaway opportunity ring off the post. Finally, at 8:31 of double overtime, Pete Babando (six goals all year) found the back corner of the net to lift Detroit to a 4-3 win and a Stanley Cup.