Game 7: the sequel
With Wednesday’s win over the defending Cup champs in Pittsburgh, the Canadiens didn’t just make history and vault themselves into the Conference finals; they also joined a pretty exclusive club. Before the Habs knocked out Sidney Crosby & Co., since the NHL introduced the current Conference seeding format to the playoffs in 1994, 10 teams had been on the winning end of the Game 7 handshake twice in a Cup run. Six finished the year by sipping champagne from a 37-pound trophy.
While few pundits could have predicted that the Habs would be resting up for Round 3 when the playoffs began, it’s something the team’s veteran leaders have likely been planning for from the start. Resident shot-blocking, penalty-killing and dragon-slaying expert, Hal Gill, has already been down this road before, enjoying his ride with the 2009 Penguins that took down the Caps in seven games in the second round before heading to Detroit and clinching the Cup in Game 7 in Motor City.
The plot is just as familiar for Brian Gionta, who was trapping his way to Stanley Cup glory with the Devils in 2003. New Jersey vaulted over the Senators in seven games in the Conference finals before shutting out the Mighty Ducks 3-0 in Game 7 to clinch the Cup on home ice. Right by Gio’s side feathering perfect passes to his former – and current – wingman in 2003, Scott Gomez, had a pair of assists in the Habs’ 5-2 Game 7 win against the Penguins on Wednesday night.
Other teams that won two Game 7s and hoisted the Cup to close out the season were the Hurricanes in 2006, the Lightning in 2004, the Avalanche in 2001 and the New York Rangers in 1994.
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Seeing is believing
Another sweet seven