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Winner Take All: How has each franchise fared in Game 7s?

The first round of the post-season is set to feature three Game 7s, beginning with a clash between the Maple Leafs and Bruins on Tuesday night. How has each NHL club fared in winner-takes-all games in the past?

On Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins met to decide their first-round matchup, with the Vegas Golden Knights meeting the San Jose Sharks in a series-deciding contest later in the evening. On Wednesday, the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals will follow suit with a Game 7 clash of their own. And the three winner-take-all games in the first round will mark the first time we’ve seen three opening-round series go the distance since the 2011 campaign.

That season, each of the first-round Game 7s, save the Tampa Bay Lightning’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, were won by the home teams, and in NHL history, it’s been the team with last change who has the decidedly better record in Game 7s. Of the 179 times a series has gone the distance, 104 of those games – 58.1 percent – have been won by the home side. Thus, entering Tuesday and Wednesday’s game, the odds are going to be stacked against Toronto, Vegas and Carolina.

Regardless of which dressing room each franchise has been in, though, how have they fared in Game 7s throughout their individual histories? Here’s a team-by-team breakdown of Game 7 records:

Anaheim Ducks – 9GP – 3W, 6L
After winning two of the first three Game 7s in franchise history, the Ducks lost five consecutive series-deciders between 2009 and 2016 before finally getting back on track two years ago when they defeated the Oilers 2-1 in the second round of the 2017 post-season.

Arizona Coyotes – 5GP – 0W, 5L
The Coyotes have had no luck in Game 7s dating back to their days as the original Jets. All five Game 7s have resulted in the end of the franchise’s season, and the franchise has been outscored by a combined 19-2.

Boston Bruins – 27GP – 15W, 12L
The 2011 post-season run featured three Game 7s and the Bruins won each one en route to a Stanley Cup victory. Boston added another win to their total Tuesday with a 5-1 defeat of Toronto, the third consecutive time the Bruins have beat the Maple Leafs when the teams have met in Game 7.

Buffalo Sabres – 7GP – 1W, 6L
Game 7 has been a nightmare for the Sabres. Buffalo lost each of the first three Game 7s in franchise history – all one-goal defeats, too – before winning one, defeating the Senators in seven during the 1997 post-season. The Sabres have lost another three in a row since then.

Calgary Flames – 12GP – 5W, 7L
It’s been more than a decade since the Flames have played a Game 7, and they’ve lost each of their past three. Before that came a stretch of five consecutive overtime contests, with Calgary bookending the run with victories. In between came a few heartbreakers, including double-overtime losses in back-to-back years.

Carolina Hurricanes – 7GP – 4W, 3L
As they enter their Game 7 battle with the Capitals, the Hurricanes have won four consecutive seventh games. It has been a decade since the franchise’s last Game 7, though, and Carolina won both Game 7s during their 2009 post-season run.

Chicago Blackhawks – 14GP – 7W, 7L
The Blackhawks’ have played five Game 7s during this era, but their record isn’t what you'd expect. Chicago lost in 2011 to Vancouver, 2014 to Los Angeles and 2016 to St. Louis. The wins included the Game 7 overtime thriller against Detroit in 2013 and a defeat of Anaheim in 2015.

Colorado Avalanche – 13GP – 6W, 7L
The 2002 playoff run had three Game 7s, each of which featured a shutout. The Avalanche blanked the Kings in Round 1, the Sharks in Round 2 and then were stopped in their tracks when the Red Wings thrashed Colorado in the Western Conference final. The past two Game 7s for the Avalanche? Those came in 2003 and 2014. Both against the Wild. Both overtime losses.

Columbus Blue Jackets – 0GP
No Game 7s in five trips to the post-season. The closest call was a six-game series against the Capitals in 2018.

Dallas Stars – 13GP – 5W, 8L
Six times since the move to Dallas the Stars have found themselves in a Game 7. Their record? Two wins, four losses. Dallas’ most recent result was a loss to St. Louis this season. Before that? A loss to St. Louis in 2016.

Detroit Red Wings – 25GP – 14W, 11L
The Red Wings racked up the Game 7s during their post-season streak. In the post-lockout era, Detroit has three wins and four losses. They haven’t been able to win two Game 7s in one post-season during that stretch, however. The Red Wings won one, lost one during the 2009 playoff run and the same happened during the 2013 playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers – 10GP – 6W, 4L
The Oilers’ first Game 7 of the post-lockout era was a heartbreaker. Edmonton fell 3-1 to Carolina in the Stanley Cup-deciding contest in 2006, and the next time the Oilers faced a seventh game in 2017, Anaheim downed Edmonton 2-1.

Florida Panthers – 2GP – 1W, 1L
The Panthers’ incredible run to the 1996 Stanley Cup final was helped along by a 3-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. The only other Game 7 in franchise history saw the underdog Cats fall in double overtime to the Devils.

Los Angeles Kings – 11GP – 7W, 4L
The 2014 post-season saw the Kings go the distance in every series leading up to the Stanley Cup final. Los Angeles defeated San Jose in Round 1, then Anaheim in Round 2 and Chicago fell at the hands of the Kings in overtime of the Western Conference final. Los Angeles captured the Cup that season.

Minnesota Wild – 3GP – 3W, 0L
In the somewhat brief history of the franchise, Minnesota has played three Game 7s, all on the road, and they’ve come out on the winning side each time. That includes a pair of overtime victories over the Avalanche, as well as a second-round win over the Canucks during the 2003 post-season.

Montreal Canadiens – 23GP – 14W, 9L
Six Game 7s in the past two decades, and the Canadiens have only lost one. That was during the 2011 post-season, when Montreal fell in overtime to Boston. The Habs exacted some Game 7 revenge three years later, downing the Bruins 3-1 in Game 7 of the second round in 2014.

Nashville Predators – 3GP – 1W, 2L
The franchise didn’t play in a single Game 7 through the first decade and a half of its existence, which included eight trips to the post-season. But the 2016 playoffs saw two series go the distance. The Predators won the first, defeating Anaheim 2-1, before getting blanked 5-0 in a series-deciding contest against San Jose in the second round.

New Jersey Devils – 14GP – 7W, 7L
The Devils have broken even in Game 7s throughout franchise history, and that includes Stanley Cup-deciding games. In the 2001 Stanley Cup final, New Jersey fell 3-1 to Colorado. The 2003 final against the Mighty Ducks was different, though, with the Devils picking up a 3-0 victory.

New York Islanders – 8GP – 3W, 5L
Eight times the Islanders have gone to Game 7, but there’s no contest that matters quite like the Easter Epic. The quadruple-overtime marathon against New York is one of the most memorable games in NHL history. Pat LaFontaine delivered the game winner.

New York Rangers – 15GP – 9W, 6L
No fanbase has known Game 7 anxiety quite like Rangers faithful. Since the 2012 post-season, New York has gone to the winner-takes-all game seven times, including multiple Game 7s in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The Rangers won five of those games 2-1. That’s enough to shave some years off of a fan’s life.

Ottawa Senators – 6GP – 0W, 6L
The Senators have had some excellent teams in the past, but Ottawa hasn’t been able to win a single Game 7 in franchise history. The most recent example was the double-overtime defeat in the Eastern Conference final, which came right before the tailspin that sent the franchise to the bottom of the league’s standings.

Philadelphia Flyers – 16GP – 9W, 7L
Arguably the most memorable Game 7 in franchise history is the victory over the Bruins in the second round of the 2010 playoffs. Trailing the series 3-0, the Flyers clawed all the way back and completed the so-called reverse sweep with a 4-3 Game 7 win.

Pittsburgh Penguins – 17GP – 10W, 6L
Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Stanley Cup victories wouldn’t have been possible without Game 7 heroics. Getting to the 2016 final required a Game 7 win over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference final, and the Penguins again came through in the conference final with a double-overtime win over the Senators in 2017.

San Jose Sharks – 11GP – 7W, 4L
An absolute thriller on Tuesday night lifted the Sharks into the second round. San Jose scored four times on a single power play that resulted from a Vegas major penalty, and after the Golden Knights tied it late, the Sharks' Barclay Goodrow potted the winner in the final minutes of the extra frame. What a game.

St. Louis Blues – 17GP – 9W, 8L
After the Game 7 victory over the Stars, the Blues are officially one game above .500 in Game 7s. The franchise started hot in winner-take-all games, too, winning not, but two Game 7s in their inaugural season. The consecutive series-clinching Game 7 wins in 1967 sent the Blues to the final, where they lost in four straight to the Canadiens.

Tampa Bay Lightning – 8GP – 5W, 3L
Getting swept by the Blue Jackets was a new kind of heartbreak, but Lightning fans are familiar with playoff pain in recent years. A chance to play for the Stanley Cup in 2016 was snuffed out by the Penguins in Game 7 of the 2016 Eastern Conference final, and Tampa Bay suffered a Game 7 defeat in the conference final at the hands of Washington last season.

Toronto Maple Leafs – 24GP – 12W, 12L
The Maple Leafs entered Tuesday's meeting with the Bruins one win above .500, but Toronto's record is an even 12-12 after another crushing Game 7 loss to Boston. The Maple Leafs have now dropped three consecutive Game 7s – and four of five all-time – against the Bruins.

Vancouver Canucks – 11GP – 6W, 5L
Here’s hoping the next time the Canucks get to the Stanley Cup final it doesn’t go to seven games. Why? Because two of the three times in franchise history that Vancouver has made the final, they have lost in seven. The first was a 3-2 loss to the Rangers in 1994, the second was the 2011 loss to the Bruins.

Vegas Golden Knights – 1GP – 0W, 1L
The Golden Knights' first Game 7 will go down as one of the most memorable post-season contests in NHL history. In Vegas, however, it will be for all the wrong reasons. A debatable major penalty led to an epic collapse that saw the Golden Knights' 3-0 third-period lead disappear before the Sharks scored an overtime winner to advance to the second round.

Washington Capitals – 16GP – 5W, 11L
The worst winning percentage in Game 7s of any team with a double-digit games played total, and it all started with the Capitals ending up on the losing side of the Easter Epic. However, Washington won a critical Game 7 just last season, defeating Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference final. The defending champions will have a chance to win consecutive Game 7s for the first time in franchise history Wednesday.

Winnipeg Jets – 1GP – 1W, 0L
Along with the Wild, the Jets are the only team with a perfect Game 7 record. Of course, it helps when you’ve only played the one series-deciding game. Winnipeg beat up on Nashville last season in Game 7 of the second round, defeating the Predators 5-1 in the lone Game 7 in Jets 2.0 history.

(Note: This story was updated Wednesday, April 24.)

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