As we saw in yesterday’s reflection on Semifinal Game 7‘s the winners of these long series tend not to fare very well in the next round.
To rehash; of the 11 Eastern Conference team’s that have advanced to the Conference Finals, only 3 made the Stanley Cup (2 of those 3 series though, were played against other Semifinal teams that had also played 7 game series) and just 1 (1985/86 Montreal Canadiens) had gone on to win the Stanley Cup (ironically, as we will see, against a team from the Western Conference that had also played a 7 game Conference Semifinal series).
We next look to the Western Conference to determine if the team’s have fared as poorly as the Eastern Conference squads, after playing in a 7 game series.
1983/84: #2 North Stars vs. #6 Blues – North Stars won
(Lost Conference Finals to Oilers in 4)
1983/84: #1 Oilers vs. #3 Flames – Oilers won
(Beat North Stars in 4 to win Conference Finals and went on to win Stanley Cup vs. Islanders in 5)
1985/86: #5 Blues vs. #8 Maple Leafs – Blues won
(Lost Conference Finals to Flames in 7)
1985/86: #1 Oilers vs. #3 Flames – Flames won (Steve Smith’s most famous goal)
(Beat Blues in 7 to win Conference Finals and went on to lose Stanley Cup vs. Canadiens in 5)
1986/87: #5 Red Wings vs. #7 Maple Leafs – Red Wings won
(Lost Conference Finals to Oilers in 5)
1989/90: # 2 Blackhawks vs. #5 Blues – Blackhawks won
(Lost Conference Finals to Oilers in 6)
1992/93: #3 Maple Leafs vs. #4 Blues – Maple Leafs won
(Lost Conference Finals to Kings in 7)
1993/94: #3 Maple Leafs vs. #8 Sharks – Maple Leafs won
(Lost Conference Finals to Canucks in 5)
1995/96: #1 Red Wings vs. #5 Blues – Red Wings won (Stevie Y with a 50 footer to win it in OT)
(Lost Conference Finals to Avalanche in 6)
2000/01: #1 Avalanche vs. #7 Kings – Avalanche won
(Beat Blues in 5 to win Conference Finals and went on to win Stanley Cup vs. Devils in 7)
2001/02: #2 Avalanche vs. #3 Sharks – Avalanche won
(Lost Conference Finals to Red Wings in 7)
2002/03: #4 Canucks vs. #6 Wild – Wild won
(Lost Conference Finals to Mighty Ducks in 4)
The Western Conference had 12 teams emerge from a Conference Semifinal Game 7. Of those 12 teams, 9 lost in the Conference Finals. Interestingly, the West had a similar situation as that which occurred in the East where in 2 of these series (83/84 – Minnesota North Stars versus Edmonton Oilers and 85/86 – Calgary Flames versus Detroit Red Wings) both teams that played in the Conference Finals had themselves emerged from 7 game Semifinal series). The Oilers went on to win as they knocked off the declining Islanders and the Flames lost to a team from the East who had, coincidentally, also emerged from a 7 game Semifinal series. The only other team to win after playing 7 in the Conference Semifinals, were the 2000/01 Colorado Avalanche who went on to defeat the Devils in a 7 game Stanley Cup Classic.
Therefore we can see that since 1982 when the league adopted this format (East/West) of the combined 23 teams to emerge from a 7 game series, 6 teams have gone on to win the Conference Finals and only 3 have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
So it would appear that if your team has managed to avoid the long 7 game series they stand a better chance to make the Stanley Cup Finals (and win) then those teams who have had to battle through 7 long, tough games at this point in the Playoffs. Guess this means, that with 3 Conference Semifinal Game 7’s, the Blackhawks who efficiently finished off Vancouver in 6, are looking like the team to pick. That is if you subscribe to the preeceding logic.
Courtesty of TSN Sportscenter here are the Top 10 Game 7 Goals
I also appear on the Illegal Curve Hockey Show every Saturday on TSN 1290 Winnipeg starting at 9 am.
And I occasionally jump in the play-by-play booth at Bell MTS Place to provide colour analysis during Manitoba Moose games.
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