Lucky No. 7? For Canada’s NHL teams, more seventh hell than seventh heaven
If the Winnipeg Jets are going to be the first Canadian NHL team in a quarter of a century to win a Stanley Cup, they’ll have to buck a recent trend of this country’s clubs losing the seventh game of a playoff series.
The lone Canadian team remaining in the 2018 playoffs, the Jets have to beat the Nashville Predators in Thursday’s Game 7 for the right to face the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference final.
Of Canada’s seven NHL teams, six have lost their most recent Game 7, and some have done it in dagger-to-the-heart, eye-rolling style.
The fun fact that a Canadian club hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993 isn’t so fun anymore.
A Canadian team hasn’t played in a Cup final since 2011 when the Vancouver Canucks lost in — wait for it — a seventh game to the Boston Bruins.
Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton have all lost Game 7 of a Cup final since the Habs hoisted the trophy 25 years ago.
Here’s a look at Canada’s NHL teams and their recent seventh-game history:
The Habs are the last Canadian team to win a Game 7, downing the Bruins 3-1 in the final contest of their second-round series in 2014.
Eliminating the regular season’s top team might have been a springboard to a title if Montreal didn’t lose goaltender Carey Price to a knee injury in the opener of the conference final against the New York Rangers.
Price didn’t play again after the first game of the series, which the Rangers won 4-2.
In the dagger-to-the-heart category, Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored in double overtime in Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference final to oust the Sens.
It was the closest the modern-day Senators had come to winning a title since losing the 2007 Cup final in five games to the Anaheim Ducks.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Fresher Game 7 pain is courtesy of the Leafs last month when Toronto was up 4-3 on Boston heading into the third period, only to lose 7-4 and depart the post-season in the first round.
Adding insult to injury, Bruins face-licker Brad Marchand scored into an empty net.
In the first round five years ago, Toronto led 4-1 midway through the third period of Game 7 against the Bruins — is there a trend here? — only to give up three goals and lose 5-4 in OT.
You’ve got to go all the way back to Jets 1.0 in 1992 when they were defeated 5-0 in a seventh game of a Smythe Division semifinal by the Canucks.
Winnipeg led that series 3-1, but was then outscored 21-5 over the final three games by Vancouver.
The current Jets franchise, which moved from Atlanta in 1999, will play a Game 7 for the first time Thursday.
A healthy scratch in Game 6, a 38-year-old Jeremy Roenick was a one-man wrecking crew for the San Jose Sharks in a first-round finale versus the Flames in 2008.
The Sharks scored four goals in the span of nine minutes in the second period. Roenick’s equalizer and go-ahead goal in that burst contributed to a 5-3 win and the end of Calgary’s season.
The Flames lost the 2004 Stanley Cup final in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Edmonton returned to the playoffs in 2017 after an 11-year absence. The Oilers were ousted 2-1 in the seventh game of a second-round series against Anaheim.
It was the Ducks shedding a Game 7 jinx on Nick Ritchie’s game winner at the Honda Center. Anaheim had been eliminated four straight years losing a Game 7 at home.
In another near miss for a Canadian team, the Oilers lost Game 7 of the 2006 Cup final to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Vancouver was beaten 4-0 by the Bruins in Game 7 of the 2011 Cup final. Each team won their first three games at home, but the Canucks couldn’t close it out at Rogers Arena.
Rioting in downtown Vancouver after the game resulted in multiple arrests and property damage.
The Canucks also lost the 1994 Cup final in seven games to the Rangers.