In honor of tonight’s much anticipated Game 7, I decided to look back at some other Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7’s from the past. Unfortunately the world of YouTube failed me and I was unable to uncover some of the really early gems. Who wouldn’t want to see 1987’s classic Canadiens vs. Nordiques tilt or even the Whalers take on the Canadiens back in 85/86.
Going back to 1981/82, when the league adopted the current East/West divisional formats, teams that manage to survive the Conference Semifinal Game 7 historically have not fared well in the Conference Finals. Of the 11 series that have gone 7 games, only 3 teams have gone on to win the Conference Finals however it should be noted that in 2 of those 3 examples (1986/87 and 2000/01 both sets of Conference Semifinals went 7 games, so clearly one team had to win.) The teams that emerged lost in the Stanley Cup Finals (1986/87 – Flyers lost to the Oilers and 2000/01 – Devils lost to the Avalanche). The only exception appears to be the 1985/86 Montreal Canadiens which saw Patrick Roy lead them to the Stanley Cup Championship.
Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7’s
1981/82: # 3 Bruins vs. #7 Nordiques – Nordiques won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Islanders in 4)
1985/86: # 5 Canadiens vs. #7 Whalers – Canadiens won.
(Beat Rangers in 5 to win Conference Finals)
1986/87: #3 Canadiens vs. #8 Nordiques – Canadiens won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Philadelphia in 6)
1986/87: #1 Flyers vs. # 6 Islanders – Flyers won.
(Beat Canadiens in 6 to win Conference Finals)
1987/88: # 4 Capitals vs. #7 Devils – Devils won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Boston in 7)
1988/89: #4 Penguins vs. # 7 Flyers – Flyers won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Montreal in 6)
1990/91: #1 Bruins vs #2 Canadiens – Bruins won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Pittsburgh in 6)
1992/93: #1 Penguins vs. #3 Islanders – Islanders won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Montreal in 5)
2000/01: #1 Devils vs. # 7 Leafs – Devils won.
(Beat Penguins in 5 to win Conference Finals)
2000/01: #5 Sabres vs #6 Penguins – Penguins won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Devils in 5)
2001/02: #4 Leafs vs. #7 Senators – Leafs won.
(Lost Conference Finals to Carolina in 6)
So if your team is the Capitals/Penguins or Bruins/Hurricanes and you have played 7 long Semifinal games, are you worried that we could see a repeat of what happened to the 1986/87 Flyers or the 2000/01 Devils when one of these four teams makes the Cup finals?