Kings-Sharks Game 7 Will Be Historic – Is Home Ice Really An Advantage?


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.

May 26, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (6) is defended by San Jose Sharks center James Sheppard (15) and center Tommy Wingels (57) during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion. The Sharks defeated the Kings 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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.