Whatever happens in Tuesday night’s game 7 of the Western Conference semi-final, it is already a historic game. So far, the home team has won every game, which is a rarity in itself. Not only will the game decide who moves on to the Western Conference finals, but will also break another tie.
Since 1990(22+ seasons), up to and including the Rangers’ elimination at the hands of the Bruins on Saturday, there have been 340 best-of-7 playoff series. Of those, only 6 have gone to game 7 with the home team having won all 6 previous games. While the home team won the first 3, the visiting team has bucked the trend and come out on top in the last 3 occurrences.
1992- In what would be the Hartford Whalers’ last playoff appearance, they went home and home with the Montreal Canadiens, with the home team coming out on top in the first 6 games. Montreal continued on into the second round, winning game 7 on home ice.
2002 – Toronto and the Islanders wage battle with home ice being a true advantage right though from game 1 to 7. Toronto had home ice advantage and used it for a 4-2 win.
2003 – The first time the home ice advantage was truly that in the finals was 2003 when the Devils outlasted the then-Mighty Ducks by shutting them out at home 3-0 in the seventh and deciding game.
Then the season-long 2004-055 lockout happened….and so did the trend of visiting teams taking a turn.
2009 – The Red Wings had Pittsburgh right where they wanted them, up 3-2 in the series with two chances to win their second straight Stanley Cup. However, after taking game 6 at home, they went into Detroit and took game 7 2-1 to buck the home ice trend.
2011 – Two seasons later, the Bruins did the same thing to the Canucks, after each team had won 3 times on home ice the Bruins went into Vancouver and spanked the home side 4-0.
2013 – And finally, earlier this playoff year, the first round series between Washington and the New York Rangers went to a deciding game in Washington with in the driver’s seat. However, the Rangers became the first team in the series to win on the road, shutting down the Capitals 5-0.
So with the game 7 series tied 3-3 between the home and the away teams Tuesday’s game 7 will be very important to determine who goes on to the next round, but also solve the importance of home ice advantage for once and for all…until the next time.